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Home Maintenance Checklist

Your home is your biggest and most important investment. So, why wouldn’t you take proper care of it? Just like a car needs regular oil changes, keeping up with home maintenance tasks is a must. It is much easier to do your chores every now and then instead of having to pay for big repairs.

All these tasks can seem quite intimidating, especially if you are a new homeowner. Let’s face it; nobody wants to spend their day off pulling leaves out of a gutter. Or, even worse, nobody wants to spend the entire day figuring out how to drain a boiler. Good news is that you can do all the tasks on your own, even if you have absolutely no experience. If you get stuck, you can always use Google or call a friend.

In order to get all the tasks done and also maximize your efficiency, it is smart to create a home maintenance checklist. Start by writing down some regular tasks that you can do every weekend. To help you out, we’ve created a checklist that includes tasks that should be done monthly, quarterly, biannually. We also included some activities that can be done seasonally. Keep in mind that our you don’t have to strictly adhere to our checklist. You can take care of your home whenever you want and as often as you want. And, as long as you don’t forget to accomplish all of these tasks, your home will be in a good shape for years to come.

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

There are some tasks that should be done on a monthly basis. You can pick one weekend every month and turn home maintenance into a family activity by involving your children in some of the tasks as well.

  • HVAC filters – some experts say that HVAC filters should be changed every month. This is not absolutely necessary unless you have pets or someone in your family has allergies. In general, it is acceptable to change the HVAC filter every 2-3 months. However, what you should do is inspect the filter on a monthly basis. If the filter is dirty, change it. If it’s not, then leave it and don’t forget to check it out next month.
  • Kitchen sink disposal – even though this might terrify you, kitchen sink disposal should be cleaned every month. There are so many ways to do this, but the most painless one seems to be using vinegar ice cubes. All you have to do is put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze. Then, simply run the ice cubes through the disposal. Not only will this freshen it up, but also sharpen the blades. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
  • Fire extinguisher – let’s assume you have a fire extinguisher like every household should. Inspecting it doesn’t take much time. Make sure that it is easily accessible (and not block by boxes or something else), that the gauge shows proper pressure, and that the extinguisher is not damaged.
  • Range hood filters – if you’ve never done this before, then you’re in for a real “treat.” The best way to clean a range hood filter is by using a degreaser that can be bought from an auto parts store. Mix it with water, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off.
  • Inspect all the drains for debris and unclog them if necessary.
  • Furnace filter – don’t forget to clean the furnace filter regularly. This will make it easier to regulate the temperature in your home and can even decrease utility bills.
  • Vents – make sure that no indoor and outdoor air vents are blocked. Also, check out the vacuum heat registers and heat vents.

Quarterly Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Common appliances – some appliances such as a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide detector should be checked out on a regular basis. This is a fairly simple task since the majority of detectors have a “test” button. All you have to do is press it and wait for the alarm to sound. If it doesn’t, replace the batteries as soon as possible. If you get stuck, have a look at out our guidelines for checking your carbon monoxide detector.
  • Garage door – every now and then you should check your garage door, or, to be more precise, its auto-reverse feature. Start off by testing the photo-electric sensors. Place any object in front of them and see whether the door will go back up immediately. Then, place a 2×4 on the ground where the door should close. The door should reverse as soon as it hits the wood.
    • Water softener – you should check out the water softener on a regular basis and replenish salt when necessary.
  • Guest bathrooms – don’t forget to flush toilets and run water in guest bathrooms and other spaces that are not used regularly. The idea behind this is to prevent any form of buildup.

Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Water heater – you should test the pressure relief valve on your water heater at least twice a year. Doing so will prevent any buildup and safeguard the unit against leaks. In addition, it will make your heater more efficient. If you’re not sure how to properly test your water heater, check out our hot water heater guidelines.
  • Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors – even though we mentioned that you should check on your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors regularly, we didn’t mention how often the batteries should be replaced. Majority of people assumes that the batteries should be changed out when the device starts giving you the low battery beeping sound. However, you shouldn’t wait for the sound. Instead, replace the batteries every six months.
  • Deep clean your home – you should pick one day every six months and deep clean your entire house with your family. This includes cleaning and dusting absolutely every nook and cranny, even in the basement. In order to keep your house in top shape, you shouldn’t allow the dirt and dust to build up. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our house cleaning checklist.
  • Refrigerator coils – this is a trick refrigerator repairmen might teach you. Your fridge can use up to 15% of the total power in your home. When the coils get dirty, your fridge requires even more power. So, in order to make your fridge as efficient as possible vacuum your refrigerator coils at least twice a year. This can help you save up to $100 a year.

Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring Cleaning

Once the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, your home is ready for the spring clean and maintenance. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your home for the rest of the year.

  • Inspect the exterior of your home – check if there are any cracks in the foundation or holes in the bricks or see if there is any paint chipping. In general, take a close look at your house and see if there are any repairs that need to be done.
  • Roof – don’t forget to check if there are any damaged or missing shingles and leaks once the winter is over.
  • Drainage – sometimes springtime means lots of rain. And, you want to make sure that the rain water will flow away from your house. If you notice any puddles standing around your home for more than 24 hours, inspect your drainage. Start off with your gutters. Sometimes, they just may need cleaning.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Inspect your chimney.
  • Door and window screens – the spring is the perfect time for cleaning door and window screens. If you notice any damage, make sure to repair or replace them. You don’t want any bugs crawling in.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter and, if necessary, get your air conditioning system serviced.
  • Drain/flush your water heater.
  • Fertilize your lawn and clear any dead plants or shrubs. Believe it or not, dead plants can cause damage if they find their way into cracks and holes. If you have decorative vines, make sure to inspect them carefully.
  • Check sprinkler heads and remove insulation from outdoor faucets.

 

Summer

Summer is great for focusing on the exterior of your home, including your lawn and garden.

  • Garage – maintaining your garage should be your summer ritual. Start by oiling garage-door opener, chain, and all door hinges. Then clean all the dust thoroughly and throw away all the items you don’t anymore. Keeping your garage clean will definitely extend its life.
  • Deck/Patio – summer is a great time to take care of your deck or patio. Usually, it needs just a thorough wash. But, if you notice any loose boards make sure to repair them. Also, consider whether your deck needs re-staining.
  • Insects – bugs love summer. If you have an insect problem, you won’t have to look too hard to find it. Common insects such as ants, spiders, and moths are easy to take care of. Make sure to clean all the cobwebs, buy ant poison if necessary, and make sure that all your doors are shut tightly.
  • Window wells – do you have a basement? If so, then you should clean out window wells. All sorts of debris can get stuck there including leaves, trash, and even animals.
  • Plumbing – inspect your plumbing for leaks, including all faucets and toilets. If you notice that your water pressure is low, it is very likely that the aerator is the culprit. Luckily, it is very easy to fix it.
  • Vents – check all the exhaust vents on the outside of your home, including your clean dryer vent.  While the dryer is running, see if the exhaust is coming out. It should smell like fresh laundry. If you don’t notice much exhaust check for blockages or call a professional.

Check grout in bathrooms, kitchen, etc.; repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better.

 

Fall

Fall is the season during which you should finish all the tasks you didn’t have the time for so you could get your home ready for winter. Rain, snow, and cold weather can cause significant damage so make sure you are prepared.

  • HVAC system – one of the first things you should do is get your HVAC system ready for winter. Get it inspected by a professional and service your furnace if necessary. Make sure that none of the heating vents are blocked by furniture. Also, don’t forget to inspect fireplaces if you have any.
  • Chimney – Some people clean their chimney in fall, some in the spring. Choose whichever season you prefer, just don’t forget to do it once a year.
  • Hot water heater – flush hot water heater to make it more efficient and prolong its life.
  • Hoses and outdoor water faucets – flush your outdoor water faucets and hoses. If you have a sprinkler system, don’t forget to winterize it.
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes.
  • Driveway/pavement – check if there are any cracks in your driveway or pavement and make sure to re-seal them before winter. Sometimes, water can freeze and expand in the cracks, causing damage.
  • Air conditioning systems – make sure to winterize your AC systems by storing the window units or, if you have central air, by covering the outside unit.
  • Buy winter gear – you never know when the first snow will come so make sure that you have good shovels and sidewalk salt ready.
  • Rake leaves from the lawn and remove debris from gutters.
  • Seal cracks in window and doors, if there are any.
  • Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles.
  • Clean the carpets, window and door screens.
  • Check for frayed wires.

 

Winter

There’s not much you can do outside during winter. Instead, focus on the interior of your home and check out all those little things you may have overlook or postponed for some time later. Also, if you have any interior DIY projects, winter is a great time to do them.

  • Check for icicles – even though kids love icicles, don’t let them grow when the cold weather comes. They are a danger to people but can also cause damage to your home since they are very heavy. Also, once they melt, they can even cause water damage. Keep in mind that you should also de-ice any cables that are at the front of the roof work well.
  • Tighten loose screws – and this includes absolutely every loose screw you come across, including those on handles, racks, knobs, etc.
  • Clean your basement – many people use their basement as a storage area and tend to forget about it. Winter is the right time to inspect your basement and deep clean it. Check the area for mold, dust everything up, and clean windows and furniture if there are any.
  • Test your electricity – working with electricity in wet weather is not a good idea. However, there are some simple tests you can do on your own, of course, while staying inside. For example, check if all the outlets in your home work. If not, then you can re-wire them on your own.
  • Clean drains in tubs, showers, sinks, and dishwashers.
  • Remove showerheads and clean sediment.
  • Inspect caulking around bathtubs and showers.
  • Replace any deadbolts or locks on doors and window that don’t work.

First Apartment Checklist – 140+ necessities and essentials for your new apartment

The time has finally come – you are officially an adult and about to live in your own apartment for the first time ever. While you’re probably thinking about all the beautiful decorations you’re going to buy, there is something else you need to do first. You will have to buy some basic goods you never had to buy before. Let’s face it – have you ever had to buy your own towels, dishes, or silverware? We thought so.

Moving into a new apartment can turn out to be a daunting task. There are some items that you’ll obviously need such as furniture and appliances. But, it is very likely that you may have overlooked some other necessities. Have you bought a bath mat, cutting board, corkscrew or shower caddies? You may not need all of these items, but some of them sure can come in handy.

Take a look at our checklist before you finally move in your new apartment and see if you have everything you need.

Things you need for your first apartment before you move in

Consider this section as an extra short version of all must-haves. Make sure you bought all these items before moving at all. Then, keep them close by when you move. You’ll probably want to unpack these first before anything else. You definitely don’t want to find yourself be searching for a shower curtain instead of getting ready for work or class.

Mattress, Pillows, and Bedding

A mattress should definitely be one of the first few items you buy for your new place. Picking out the right mattress can turn out into a very time-consuming task. You probably will be fine sleeping on the floor for one night or even a week. But, life gets crazy busy when you’re moving and you might find yourself sleeping on the floor for a month because you didn’t buy a mattress on time.

We recommend ordering your mattress online from one of the many startups that have popped up in the last few years. It’s easy to have the mattress shipped directly to your new place, they come quickly, and they’re cheaper than your standard mattress. Plus they’re comfortable! We like Nectar mattresses, our readers get $125 off by clicking through this link.

Besides the mattress, don’t forget to buy new pillows, bedding, and even a mattress topper if you need one. MyPillow.com has some great options for pillows and mattress toppers. 

Basic Tools

When you walk inside your new apartment, you’ll probably want to decorate it somehow. And, it is also very likely that you’ll need to put something together, for example, a bookshelf. When that time comes, you don’t want to be unprepared. There is nothing more frustrating than being in an unpacking groove only to realize you lack the basic tools. Make sure you have a hammer, a screwdriver, wall hooks, and some nails. Amazon Basics has a great home maintenance toolkit to get you started. 

 

A Step Stool

What are the chances for remembering to bring a step stool with you in your new apartment? Make sure you put it on the top of your checklist. A step stool can be extremely valuable during unpacking, especially if you’re short or if your apartment as high ceilings. It is recommended to buy a step stool that is light, easily portable, and easy to store.  

First Aid Kit

Accidents are quite common when moving. Usually, people tend to cut a finger, sprain an ankle, or trip and fall down. If you do get injured, you’ll want to have a first-aid kit nearby. Make sure to include the following:

  • Band-Aids and bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pain relief and cold medicine
  • Cold pack and ointment for muscle pain

Extension Cords, Batteries, and Power Strips

It would be a bummer to unpack all the things in your new home only to realize that you don’t have anywhere to plug them in. Make sure to purchase batteries, extension cords, and power strips before moving so you could finish unpacking as quickly as possible.

Cleaning Supplies

This one is a no-brainer. You might make some mess while moving in or find spots that the previous tenants forgot to clean. Make sure that your cleaning supplies are easily accessible so you can clean everything before you start unpacking. Here are some items you might need:

  • A mop, cleaning cloths, and sponges
  • A toilet scrubber and cleaning solution for toilet bowls
  • Multi-surface cleaning spray and cleaning wipes
  • Paper towels and trash bags
  • Air freshener
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Stain remover

Check out our house cleaning checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases!

Shower Curtain

Talking of bathroom essentials, here is another one you shouldn’t forget. After a long day of unpacking, you’ll probably be dying for a hot shower. And, using a shower without a shower curtain is a great way to ruin the floors in your brand-new apartment. To prevent this from happening, make sure to pack all the toiletry items you might need, including a shower curtain.

Kitchen Essentials

Unpacking and moving in is hard work. When you take a break, you’ll probably want to grab something to eat and drink. You could use paper plates and cups for the first few days, but why don’t you make things easier and immediately buy a full dish set? Here are some items you might need:

  • Plates and bowls
  • Glasses and mugs
  • Frying pan and pots
  • Microwave, blender, or a toaster
  • Sandwich bags and food storage containers
  • Cooking utensils

We absolutely love a well-outfitted kitchen, check out our list of kitchen essentials to see our recommendations on everything from flatware to pots and pans.

 

Things to Do Before You Move In To Your New Apartment

Here are a few things you should do before you move in:

  • Replace the locks
  • Clean and disinfect the fridge thoroughly
  • Take measurements of each room so you can plan the placement of your belongings
  • Exterminate the apartment if necessary
  • Attach multi-plugs to power outlets before you put your stuff in the apartment
  • Set up utilities in advance
  • Change your address at the USPS website

For more tips, check out our moving checklist to make sure you’re all prepped for your big day.

New Apartment Checklist

Entrance Area

When people start coming to your new place, you’ll want them to fall in love with it as soon as they come in. Here are some items you can place in your entrance area or corridor:

  • A welcome mat
  • A small rug – a small rug is a great way to decorate the entrance area. It is also quite useful since people can use it to wipe their shoes.
  • Wall hooks for jackets
  • Small bench or table for shoes
  • A lamp – if your entrance area is too dark consider buying a table lamp or decorative wall lamps.

Bathroom

Decorating your bathroom can be quite fun. And now that you can buy all the bubble baths and hair products you want, you might get a bit carried away. If you get too excited about choosing the right soap that you forget to purchase a toilet scrubber, this checklist will save the day.

  • Shower curtain and shower caddy
  • Bath mats
  • Small rug – a great way to add some color to your bathroom.
  • Hand and bath towels – now that you have your own apartment, you can finally upgrade your old towels to more luxurious ones. You can even have them match the color scheme in your bathroom.
  • Washcloths
  • Toilet paper and toilet paper holder – yes, we already mentioned toilet paper. But, this time we want to remind you to get a toilet paper holder as well.
  • Trash can – don’t forget to get a trash can for your bathroom. Trash cans with a lid are very useful and they can also make your bathroom look sleek.
  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet brush and toilet plunger – you should make sure to keep your toilet clean all the time. If you have more than one bathroom, get a toilet brush and plunger for each one.
  • Cleaning supplies and air freshener
  • Over-the-door towel hook
  • Toothbrush and toothbrush holder
  • Scale
  • Toiletries (e.g. hand soap, bath soap, lotion, etc.)
  • Storage for toiletries
  • Other items – if you want to impress your guests and turn your bathroom into an oasis, consider buying the following items: candles, potpourri, small vanity mirror, additional lighting, flowers, countertop storage.

Kitchen

It is impossible to think of all the items you will need in your kitchen all by yourself. This checklist will help you get all the items you need to cook like a boss, keep your leftovers properly, and, most importantly, host awesome parties.

  • Kitchen furniture – this depends on your apartment and your preferences. You can get a kitchen table and chairs or only bar stools.
  • Pots and pans
  • Spices – you can have the pots and pans, but you still won’t be able to do any cooking without spices. Don’t forget to buy salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and garlic and onion powder. If you’re really into cooking then also buy some cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, and cloves.
  • Spice rack
  • Plates, bowls, and dishes
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Glasses, cups, and mugs
  • Pot holders or oven mitts
  • Cutlery and cutlery tray
  • Serving and cooking utensils
  • A filtered water pitcher – a water pitcher will make your tap water even safer to drink and it will also taste just like bottled water.
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Cutting board
  • Sponges and dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Dish drying rack
  • Food storage containers
  • Tupperware
  • Chip clips and zip-top bags
  • A knife set
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wraps
  • Paper towels and paper towel holder
  • Napkins
  • Trash can and garbage bags
  • Ice trays
  • Microwave
  • An instant pot or slow cooker
  • Toaster/toaster oven
  • Coffeemaker
  • Blender
  • Broom, duster, and dustpan
  • Countertop storage container

Living Room

Here is the room that you’ll probably spend the most time in. Here are some items that will turn your living room into the perfect place for relaxation and hosting friends and family.

  • Comfortable couch – let’s face it, the centerpiece of every living room is a couch. Make sure that your couch is comfortable (so you can host parties or movie nights) but also that it matches your style.
  • Coffee table – a living room would look empty without a coffee table. This simple piece of furniture is very useful but it can also help you express your personality. Don’t forget to buy coasters to keep your coffee table looking petty!
  • Chairs
  • Cushions, beanbags, and other sitting alternatives
  • TV and TV stand – getting a TV is always a great investment. It is definitely not an essential item for your living room, but it can be great for throwing movie nights or enjoying your favorite TV shows.
  • Rug
  • Throw blankets and throw pillows
  • Bookshelf
  • Lamps and extra lighting – neither you nor your friends would enjoy spending time in a dark living room. Add some style and functionality to this room by picking out cool lamps.
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Desk and a chair
  • Storage – every room needs some sort of a storage solution including your living room. You can buy shelves or a TV cabinet and store your belongings there.
  • Decorations – these items are not essential but they can make your living room look and feel homey. Consider buying houseplants, vases, candles, wall art, decorative pillows, and even side tables.

Bedroom

The only thing you need in a bedroom is a bed, right? Well, not really. Here are all the other items you’ll need to make your bedroom a cozy place.

  • Bed frame and box springs – we’ve mentioned that one of the first things you should buy for your new place is a mattress. But, you’ll also need something to place the mattress on. There are so many bed frames available. Make sure to pick the one that fits your needs and the size of your apartment.
  • Mattress and mattress pad
  • Several sets of beddings and sheets
  • Pillows and pillow covers
  • Nightstand and night light
  • Alarm clock
  • Under-bed storage containers
  • Dresser
  • Closet storage solutions (e.g. a hanging closet organizer, shoe rack, etc.),
  • Hangers
  • Over-the-door storage unit
  • Jewelry box or organizer
  • Full-length mirror
  • Curtains
  • Desk and a chair

Laundry

  • Laundry hamper or laundry bags
  • Lingerie bags
  • Drying rack
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Garment bag

Miscellaneous

  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Light bulbs
  • Candles
  • Extension cords
  • Pen and paper
  • Document folder – you will want to bring all your important documents to your new apartment. Make sure you have a proper place to keep them.
  • Drawer organizers
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • A broom and dustpan
  • Swiffer sweeper
  • Trash cans and trash bags
  • Basic tools (screwdrivers, hammer, duct tape, box-cutter, pliers, wrench, masking tape)
  • Cleaning supplies – sponges, microfiber cloths, anti-bacterial wipes, bucket, mop, multi-purpose spray, wood cleaner, bathroom cleaning spray, baking soda and white vinegar, rubber gloves, hand soap, dish soap.
  • Clorox wipes and Lysol spray
  • Laundry detergent and fabric softener
  • Stain remover
  • Fans
  • Carbon monoxide alarm
  • Fire alarm

Things to Do Upon Moving In

So, you made your first apartment checklist, prepared the apartment, and now you’re finally ready to move in. Here are a few things you should do upon moving in:

  • Put the boxes away in designated rooms
  • Document the condition of the apartment and save copies
  • Assemble your bed as soon as it arrives
  • Take a walk and get to know your neighborhood
  • Introduce yourself to neighbors if you come across them

Don’t worry if you don’t get all the items at once. Moving in generally requires lots of trips to the store. However, to make things easier for you, you can plan those trips in advance. For example, you can start by buying the things that are a must. Then, you can do the shopping for each room separately. Don’t spare any money on essential items. They should be high-quality items since you will have them for years and, hopefully, you won’t have to buy them the next time you move.

 

Home Inspection Checklist – 80+ things to check

You’ve finally found the home of your dreams and now you’re ready to sign the contract. But, there is one key step before making the purchase final – getting a home inspection. The freshly painted walls, hardwood floors, and granite countertops are simply superficial touches. What you don’t see is the dangerous wiring, ancient plumbing or foundation cracks. All these defects can be revealed if you hire a home inspector.

 

What is a Home Inspection

A home inspection is, basically, your chance to investigate a property thoroughly and reveal any serious flaws. People usually hire an expert that walks through the house and makes a report that lists the major components of the home, the condition they are in, and whether something requires maintenance once you move in.

If you sign a purchase agreement that has an inspection contingency, then you can walk away from the deal without any penalties if the home inspection reveals some serious flaws. You can also ask the seller to make all the necessary repairs, saving you money and hassle.

Even though you might hire a home inspector, it is wise to have your own home inspection checklist which can help you get the most out of the inspection report.

 

How to Find a Home Inspector

Finding a good home inspector might take some time. If you have a real estate agent, then it is very likely that he will recommend several inspectors. You should also do research on your own and ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues, or family members. Keep in mind that licensing requirements for home inspectors vary from one state to another. For example, in some states, a home inspector must complete training, pass an exam, and demonstrate experience in order to get licensed. However, in other states, home inspectors are not required to be licensed at all. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) provides an interactive map which lists home inspection license requirements in all states.

Once you find a home inspector, make sure to ask for a sample report before you hire him. Some reports might be 100 pages long while others only contain checkboxes. A longer report doesn’t necessarily have to be better. Make sure to check with the inspector what is included in the inspection. If there are certain concerns you want to have addressed, ensure that the inspector adds them to the list.

 

What a Home Inspection Does and Does Not Include

professional home inspection checklist for buyers

The scope of a home inspection depends on the inspector. However, there is one thing that is consistent – all inspectors focus on the physical components of a home. This certainly covers many things but doesn’t include absolutely everything.

A home inspector can only report what he can see, not what is inside the walls or underneath the furniture. However, if there are accessible crawl spaces in the home, the inspector will enter and check the foundation. In addition, the home should be vacant so that the inspector can inspect as much as possible.

A home inspection typically does not include:

  • Wood-destroying pests,
  • Rodents such as mice and rats,
  • Trees and landscaping
  • Lawn sprinklers and swimming pool equipment
  • Drainage
  • Sewer line
  • Chimney and fireplace
  • Floors covered by carpeting or spots where there is furniture
  • Roof covered by snow

 

What to Look for in Your Home Inspection Report?

There are some red flags you should look out for in every home inspection report. For example, a water leak can cause a lot of trouble to homeowners. However, locating the source of the leak can be a bit tricky. Make sure that this is included in the report and that the inspector checks the plumbing properly. The water should be turned on during the inspections and the faucets should run for a period of time so that leaks can appear.

Make sure that the home inspector pays attention to any structural issues. Even though a small crack seems innocent, it can cause larger problems. Inspectors should look for cracks between doors and windows, bulging walls, and sloping floors.

Even if your home has a concrete foundation, it doesn’t mean that it is immune to termites and other wood-destroying insects. They can crawl through small spaces and damage wooden structural supports and even porches and windows. It is recommended that your home inspector searches for these pests since they can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Keep in mind that the home inspector typically only searches for problems and won’t estimate repair costs for you. If you have any questions, make sure to discuss them with your inspector and ensure that you are making a good investment.

 

Home Inspection checklist

Below we cover our 80+ point home inspection checklist. While we always recommend purchasing a home inspection prior to buying a home, you can use this list as a way to do your own DIY inspection while you’re house hunting and before making an offer.

 

Exterior Home Inspection Checklist

Before checking the interior of your new home, don’t forget to check what the exterior is like.

  • Driveway and walkway – do they need any repairs? Are there any large cracks?
  • Grounds – there should be no evidence of standing water or any leaks from the septic tank. House should have proper drainage. There shouldn’t be any branches or bushes touching the house.
  • Porch, deck, and railings – make sure that the boards are solid and that the supports are sufficient. Also, see if repainting will be necessary.
  • House exterior – the paint should be in good condition. There should be no crumbly stucco or flaking of bricks. The siding boards should not be cracked. It is desirable to have gutter extensions that take water away from the house.
  • Fences – are the fences in good condition or they started rotting?
  • Foundation – are there any significant cracks? Can insects reach the wood?
  • Roof – will shingles need replacing any time soon? Is there any sagging in the roof? Are there any gaps? Are shingles curling or splitting?
  • Doors and windows – you want them to be in good shape. This means that there are no cracks, decay, or rot. There should be no broken glass or damaged screens. Drip caps should be installed over windows. All locks should be working properly.
  • Sheds – the shed door should be working properly and the shed floor should be solid. There should be a source of light as well.
  • Propane tank – if there is a propane tank, it should be securely mounted. If it is near the driveway there should be some safety barrier.

Garage

  • Garage door – garage door and other doors should be in good working condition.
  • Firewall – there should be a firewall between the house and the garage.
  • Floors and walls – are they in good condition?

 

Roof

  • Flat roofs – are there any patches, cracks, or wrinkles?
  • Composition shingles – are there any missing or damaged shingles? Are there more than two layers of roofing? There should be no cupping or curling.
  • Wood shingles – watch out for mold, rot, decay, as well as cracked or broken shingles.
  • Chimney – should be straight. There should be no signs of damaged bricks or cracked joints.
  • Exterior venting – all vents should be clean.
  • Gutters – should be attached securely to the roof. All the joints should be sealed. There should be no decay or rust.

 

Attic

  • Insulation – is it properly installed and in good condition?
  • Ventilation – are there any vents? Are they properly installed?
  • Wires – is the wiring updated?
  • Roof – there should be no light coming in through the roof. Inspect for any black spots or patches that could be mold.
  • Pests – is there any sign of pests such as droppings or chewed wood?
  • Damage – the structure should be checked for any decay or damage.
  • Other – there should be no plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents.

 

Basement

  • Moisture – no evidence of moisture, water stains, or standing water.
  • Floor and walls – no cracks, discoloration, or bulging that indicate damage or evidence of water.
  • Foundation – no cracks or flaking.
  • Structural wood – no damage, decay, or sagging should be present.
  • Faucets, sinks, drains – should be in working condition.
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide detector – is there a smoke or carbon monoxide detector installed? Does it function properly?

Crawl Space

  • Size – is the crawl space big enough to crawl in?
  • Venting – is the crawl space adequately vented to the exterior?
  • Insulation – is there insulation on vent pipes, waste, and exposed water supply? Also, is there insulation between crawl space and heated areas?
  • Damage – there should be no evidence of moisture and insect damage.

 

Electricity

  • Mast – is the mast (electrical connection) attached to the house?
  • Outside wires – are there any wires rubbing against the house? Are the lines more than 10 feet above the ground?
  • Breaker box – are there breakers instead of fuses? Are the breakers labeled? Is the breaker box covered?
  • Wiring – wiring should look normal. Exposed splices should be in junction boxes. Is there exposed wiring? Are there any wires with evidence of burning?
  • Outlets – outdoor outlets should have weather protection. All outlets should have undamaged covers.

 

Plumbing

  • Water pump – should be working properly and shouldn’t short cycle.
  • Pipes – there should be no damage, no sign of staining on materials near pipes, no evidence of leaks.
  • Water heater – should be vented properly and capable of producing an adequate amount of hot water.
  • Water temperature – should be between 118 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Interior Home Inspection Checklist

  • Floors, walls, ceilings – there should be no stains. All should appear straight.
  • Walls – there should be no significant cracks nor damage.
  • Flooring materials – are they in good condition? Will they need replacing any time soon?
  • Windows and doors – do they operate easily and latch properly? There should be no broken glass or hardware nor any decay.
  • Paint and paneling – are they in good condition?
  • Lights and switches – do they operate properly? Should they be replaced soon?
  • Insulation – there should be evidence of adequate insulation in walls.
  • HVAC – every habitable room should have a heating/cooling source.
  • Fireplace – there should be no cracking, damaged masonry, or evidence of back-drafting.

Heating/Cooling System

  • Flues – there should be no open seams. Separate flues for propane/gas/oil and wood/coal should exist.
  • Air filters – they should be clean and working properly.
  • Ductwork – is it in good condition?
  • Cooling unit – is there rust around the cooling unit?
  • Pipes – there should be no asbestos on heating pipes and water pipes.

Fireplace

  • Structure – are there any cracks or gaps?
  • Damper – does the damper open and close easily?
  • Chimney – is the chimney in good condition? Is it pulling away from the house? Are there any bricks coming apart? Is there a chimney cap?

Living Room, Dining Room, and Bedrooms

  • Walls – are there any cracks or bulges? Is the paint or wallpaper peeling? Look out for water stains as well.
  • Ceiling – it should not be sagging. Check out for peeling paint as well.
  • Floor – look out for any stains or damaged areas. See if the floor is even. the carpeting should not be pulling anywhere.
  • Lights – make sure that all lights and light switches work.
  • Outlets – all outlets should be anchored firmly to the wall and working properly. Outlets should be covered. Make sure to test all outlets with an outlet tester.
  • Doors and windows – they should be opened and closed easily. If there are any blinds or curtains, make sure that they are functioning properly.

 

Kitchen

  • Appliances – make sure that appliances are working, if there are any included in the sale.
  • Cabinets – all cabinets should be in good condition; doors and drawers operate properly.
  • Exhaust fan – does the exhaust fan work? Is it vented to the exterior of the building?
  • Garbage disposal – there should be no excessive rust or deterioration.
  • Pipes – they work properly and there are no leaks in pipes under sinks.
  • Faucets, sinks, and drains – see if all faucets are working and watch the color of the water. How long does it take for hot water to get there? Does the sink drain easily? Is there any moisture under the sink caused by leaky drains?
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – should be within 6 feet from the sink.
  • Smoke detector – is there a smoke detector? Does it work properly

Bathroom

  • Sink, tub, and shower – do they work properly? Do the sink and tub/shower drain easily? Are there mineral stains in the tub/shower? Are the walls around the tub/shower damaged? The sink should show no sign of rust.
  • Toilet – flush the toilet to see if it operates properly. Is there any dripping? Is the toilet stable? There should be no stains around the base.
  • Tub/shower tiles – are they secure? Is the wall surface solid?
  • Flow and pressure – are the flow and pressure adequate at all fixtures?

 

Miscellaneous

  • Entrance – is the entrance well lit? Is there any noticeable damage to the walls or the floor?
  • Stairways – are the stairs safe for walking on? Are there any loose steps or broken edges? Do all stairways have handrails?
  • Furnace – Is the furnace working properly? Is the flame blue or orange? Does the fan sound smooth? Is there any smell of leaking gas?
  • Water heater – is it in good condition? Is the water hot enough? Are there any stains that might indicate leakage?
  • Air conditioning – does it work? Does the condenser unit run quietly? Are the cooling fins of the condenser unit in a good condition?

 

Wrapping it up

Getting a home inspection is only one part of the home buying process. If you’re interested in learning more about buying a home we recommend reading our article about what to look for when buying a home. And if you’ve made your purchase, we definitely recommend downloading our new house checklist to make sure your home is move-in ready on day one!

House cleaning checklist

Nothing feels quite as good as a squeaky clean house. Our house cleaning checklist has 144 tasks and we promise, if you or your housekeeper complete all of them, your home will feel brand new. This checklist goes room by room to help you clean your home, and we even included a bonus spring cleaning checklist at the end for those times when you want a deep cleaning.

House cleaning kit & required supplies

Before we dive into the list, it’s worth calling out some of the supplies we think you’ll need to complete the job. We try to keep toxic chemicals out of our home, so we prefer natural & eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

Kitchen cleaning checklist

  • Clean dirty dishes
  • Put away clean dishes
  • Scrub kitchen sink
    • Disinfect sink strainer
  • Dust blinds
  • Wipe clean kitchen appliances
    • Refrigerator
    • Oven
    • Stove
    • Microwave
  • Disinfect & wipe clean kitchen counters and backsplash
    • Be sure to remove & replace all items
  • Wipe clean cabinet faces & hardware
  • Wipe clean tabletop and chairs
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors & rugs
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)

Bedroom cleaning checklist

  • Change bed linens
  • Make the bed
  • Put away clean laundry
  • Put dirty laundry in hamper
  • Dust the room, including:
    • Lamp & lampshade
    • Picture frames
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean furniture, including:
    • Top of dresser
    • Desk
    • Bedside table
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Clean mirrors
  • Throw away any trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors & rugs
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)
  • General straightening

Bathroom cleaning checklist

  • Dust the room, including:
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
  • Scrub, disinfect & rinse tub and shower
    • Wipe clean tile grout
  • Disinfect toilet inside and out
  • Scrub, disinfect & rinse bathroom sinks
  • Clean sink faucets & handles
  • Disinfect & wipe clean countertops
    • Remove & replace all items
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean any furniture
  • Wipe clean cabinet faces & hardware
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Clean mirrors
  • Throw dirty towels into the laundry hamper
  • Fold & hang clean towels
  • Throw away trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors, rugs, and bath mats.
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)

Living room & other common areas

Includes hallways, stairs, etc.

  • General dusting
    • Ceiling fans
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
    • Furniture on top, front, and underneath
    • Picture frames
    • Lamps & lampshades
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Clean windows
  • Clean mirrors
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Throw away trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture
  • Fluff & straighten cushions, pillows, throw blankets
  • Vacuum floors
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)
  • General straightening

Spring cleaning checklist

Every so often you’ll want to go above and beyond your normal cleaning routine. We think this is the perfect spring cleaning checklist. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until April! In some cases we’ll go through these tasks every 3-6 months.

Kitchen

  • Clean refrigerator and freezer interior
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items
  • Dust top of refrigerator
  • Clean oven interior
  • Clean microwave interior
  • Clean pantry interior
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items

Bedroom

  • Move bed & vacuum underneath
  • Launder blankets and heavy linens
  • Turn mattresses
  • Vacuum mattresses and box springs
  • Wipe clean bed frames
  • Machine wash or dry-clean comforters

Bathroom

  • Clean out cabinets
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items

General

  • Clean shades & curtains
    • Remove, launder, and replace all items
  • Machine wash or dry-clean all area rugs
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Wash and wax wood floors
  • Clean book shelves
    • Remove & replace all items
  • Clean upholstered furniture
    • Machine wash or dry-clean any slip covers
    • Vacuum
  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Replace batteries if necessary
  • Wash windows
  • Remove & spray clean window screens
  • Clean or replace air filters
    • Furnace
    • Air conditioning
  • Clean out closets
    • Donate any clothing items that you no longer wear
    • Rotate seasonal wardrobe

What to look for when buying a house

You are ready to find the right home: You have a budget. You know your affordability amount. You’re pre-approved for a loan. You’re working with a realtor, or you are comfortable working on your own. You know your timeline. You’re now a highly-qualified buyer, the only thing standing in your way is finding that perfect house. The great home search has begun!

Finding the right neighborhood

Exploring different neighborhoods might be the best part of the home buying experience. There’s nothing like cruising the streets in an area, looking at the houses, discovering parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and talking to your potential new neighbors. Read More

Moving Checklist – 12 Things to Remember

Moving into a new home or apartment? With the whirlwind of things to do, it’s easy for some of the smaller items to fall off to the wayside. That’s why we created this moving checklist. There are a few basic things you can do early on in the process to make moving day a breeze. Below we’ve listed 12 important things to do when moving.

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Kitchen Essentials – How to Set Up Your Dream Kitchen

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or you’re moving to a new house, the kitchen will be an important part of your new home. Our checklist of kitchen essentials has all of the tools, utensils, cookware, and gadgets you’ll need to whip up some delicious meals. Below we’ll cover the necessities you should have for your first kitchen as well as some nice-to-haves that will help expand your cooking repertoire.

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