• Sheena Saydam

Home Inspections are an Important Part of the Home-Buying Process in DC

Home inspections are important. If you are in the market to buy a home, take the time to find an experienced and trusted home inspector, one who can find every possible problem with a home.

Use the following list for a thorough home inspection to reveal red flags that could cause serious concern with a home in the future. (Please note that the following list is ideal and certainly not extensive). As you move through the list, answer each item with “in good condition” or “needs attention.”


____ Proper grading drainage away from house

____ No evidence of standing water

____ No leaks from septic tank or leech field

____ Yard, landscaping, trees and walkways in good condition

____ No branches or bushes touching house or overhanging the roof

____ Exterior structures (fences, sheds, decks, retaining walls, detached garages) in good condition, no evidence of termite damage or rotted wood

____ Railings on stairs and decks are adequate and secure

____ Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landings in good condition, and pitched away from structure

____ Downspout drainage directed away from structure


____ Ridge and fascia board lines appear straight and level

____ Sides of house appear straight, not bowed or sagging

____ Window and door frames appear square (especially bowed windows)

____ Visible foundation in good condition - appears straight, plumb, with no significant cracks

Exterior Surfaces

____ Adequate clearance between ground and wood siding materials (6" minimum); no wood-to-earth contact

____ Siding: no cracking, curling, loose, rot or decay

____ Masonry veneers: no cracks in joints, no broken, spalling or flaking components

____ Stucco: no large cracks (discuss all stucco cracks with a professional inspector)

____ Vinyl or aluminum siding: no dents, damage, no bowing or loose siding

____ No vines on surface of structure

____ Exterior paint or stain: no flaking or blisters

____ No stains on exterior surfaces

Windows, Doors and Wood Trim

____ Wood frames and trim pieces are secure, no cracks, rot or decay

____ Joints around frames are caulked

____ No broken glass (window or storm panes) or damaged screens, no broken double-paned, insulated window seals.

____ Muntin and mullion glazing compound in good condition

____ Storm windows or thermal glass used

____ Drip caps installed over windows


____ Composition shingles: no curling, no cupping, no loss of granulation particulate, no broken, damaged or missing shingles, no more than two layers of roofing

____ Wood shingles or shakes: no mold, rot or decay, no cracked/broken/missing shingles, no curling

____ Flat roofs: no obvious patches, no cracks or splits, minimal blisters/"alligatoring" and wrinkles, no silt deposits (indicates improper drainage), sealed tar at flashings

____ Flashing around roof penetrations

____ No evidence of excess roofing cement/tar/caulk

____ Soffits and fascia: no decay, no stains

____ Exterior venting for eave areas: vents are clean and not painted over

____ Gutters: no decay or rust, joints sealed, attached securely to structure, no bending or sagging, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean, no mud deposits

____ Chimneys: straight, properly flashed, no evidence of damaged bricks or cracked joints, mortar/cement cap in good condition


____ No stains on underside of roofing, especially around roof penetrations

____ No evidence of decay or damage to structure

____ Sufficient insulation and properly installed insulation (moisture barrier installed closest to the heated area of the house)

____ Adequate ventilation, clear path into attic for air entering through soffit vents, adequately sized gable end louvers, all mechanical ventilation operational

____ No plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents terminating in attic

____ No open electrical splices

Interior Rooms

____ Floors, walls and ceilings appear straight and plumb and level

____ No stains on floors, walls or ceilings

____ Flooring materials in good condition

____ No significant cracks in walls or ceilings

____ Windows and exterior doors operate easily and latch properly, no broken glass, no sashes painted shut, no decay; windows and doors have weather-stripping, "weep holes" installed

____ Interior doors operate easily and latch properly, no damage or decay, no broken hardware

____ Paint, wall covering, and paneling in good condition

____ Wood trim installed well and in good condition

____ Lights and switches operate properly

____ Adequate number of three pronged electrical outlets in each room

____ Electrical outlets test properly (spot check)

____ Heating/cooling source in each habitable room

____ Evidence of adequate insulation in walls

____ Fireplace: no cracking or damaged masonry, no evidence of back-drafting (staining on fireplace façade), damper operates properly, flue has been cleaned, flue is lined


____ Working exhaust fan that is vented to the exterior of the building

____ Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter ("GFCI") protection for electrical outlets within 6 feet of the sink(s)

____ Dishwasher: drains properly, no leaks, baskets, door spring operates properly

____ No leaks in pipes under sinks

____ Floor in cabinet under sink solid, no stains or decay

____ Water flow in sink adequate

____ No excessive rust or deterioration on garbage disposal or waste pipes

____ Built-in appliances operate properly

____ Cabinets in good condition: doors and drawers operate properly


____ Working exhaust fan that doesn't terminate in the attic space

____ Adequate flow and pressure at all fixtures

____ Sink, tub and shower drain properly

____ Plumbing and cabinet floor under sink in good condition

____ If sink is metal, it shows no signs of rust, overflow drain doesn't leak

____ Toilet operates properly

____ Toilet stable, no rocking, no stains around base

____ Caulking in good condition inside and outside of the tub and shower area

____ Tub or shower tiles secure, wall surface solid

____ No stains or evidence of past leaking around base of bath or shower


____ Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where required by local ordinances

____ Stairway treads and risers solid

____ Stair handrails where needed and in good condition

____ Automatic garage door opener operates properly, stops properly for obstacles

Basement or Mechanical Room

____ No evidence of moisture

____ Exposed foundation; no stains no major cracks, no flaking, no efflorescence

____ Visible structural wood: no sagging, no damage, no decay, no stains, no damage from insects, sills attached to foundation with anchor bolts

____ Insulation at rim/band joists

Crawl Space

____ Adequately vented to exterior

____ Insulation on exposed water supply, waste and vent pipes

____ Insulation between crawl space and heated areas, installed with vapor barrier towards heated area

____ No evidence of insect damage

____ No evidence of moisture damage


____ Visible pipes: no damage, no evidence of leaks, no signs of stains on materials near pipes; drain pipes slope slightly down towards outlet to septic/sewage system

____ Water heater: no signs of rust, vented properly, sized to produce adequate quantities of hot water for the number of bedrooms in the house.

____ Water pump: does not short cycle

____ Galvanized pipes do not restrict water flow

____ Well water test is acceptable

____ Hot water temperature between 118 - 125 degrees Fahrenheit


____ Visible wiring: in good condition, no "knob-and-tube" wiring, no exposed splices, cables secured and protected

____ Service panel: adequate capacity, all cables attached to panel with cable connectors; fuses or breakers are not overheating

____ No aluminum cable for branch circuits

Heating/Cooling System

____ Appears to operate well throughout (good air flow on forced hot air systems)

____ Flues: no open seams, slopes up to chimney connection

____ No rust around cooling unit

____ No combustion gas odor

____ Air filter(s) clean

____ Ductwork in good condition

____ No asbestos on heating pipes, water pipes or air ducts

____ Separate flues for gas/oil/propane and wood/coal

If you are in the market to buy a home and want to find a home inspector who is experienced and who can be trusted to find any possible problems with a home, we can and want to assist you.

Contact Sheena Saydam of Saydam Properties at 202-243-7700 or email Sheena@SaydamProperties.com. We’d love to help you find the perfect home that is in good condition!