The Home Inspection Check List,
The Home Inspector Check List!

Rehabbers develop their own home inspection check list and more...
We have to know what we can do and what we should hire out!

Solutions to questions you'll find here...

  • The Home Inspection Check List
  • Several Types of Inspections
  • Real estate Investing and Rehabbing is Big Business!
  • Additional Details and Examples...
  • A Check List of Inspectors

The Question Was Asked:

I need access to a home inspection checklist to determine repairs on a distressed property. Any ideas appreciated. Thanks

The topics I'm having the most problems with as a Real Estate Investor / Rehabber: 

- Getting Qualified?
- Finding the Money? 
- Finding Properties?
- Your Team of Professionals?
- Accounting / The Paperwork?
- Business Structure?
- Staying Focused?

Answer from Joe-the-Rehabber:

These are Complex Questions!

There is so much more than just getting a home inspection check list.

I don't use a home inspection check list because of my experience. The best recommendation I can give for a new investor is to hire a Home Inspector and use the home inspection check list they use as a guide line.

You will want to add to the Inspectors home inspection check list with more other Inspector's check lists.

The following is long and detailed. There is no simple answer for this type of question and Raises Critical Concern for beginner investors to evaluate their motives and desired outcome!

It is NOT as simple as getting access to a home inspection check list, I see Danger Signs!

Depending on Your Skill Level...

The best way to learn about doing an inspection is to hire a Home Inspector and pay them for their service. You'll have to interview and choose the one that's right for you. Do a Google search for your area and find an Inspector that is Certified with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

What they'll do for you is go over the entire property, inside and out, check every wall, circuit, fixture, pipe, appliance, window, roof shingle, floor, ceiling, and basement joists. They are very thorough; you will get a complete report and some inspectors will provide you with estimates.

Over the years I've acquired several type of inspection check lists.

Personally I use a note pad. I use one page per room; I look at every wall, ceiling, and floor, inside and out and know what work I need to do. It takes me about 20 minutes to inspect a 1000 square foot home. That's because I'm a skilled tradesman with decades of experience in Rehabbing and have a budget for major upgrades.

But that's just me. I no longer need that basic home inspection check list.

The key is if you know what you're looking for, a checklist is something you can make. 

If you don't know what your looking for or this is your first time, hire a Home Inspector and follow them closely on their with their home inspection check list - that is hands on training, and their completed inspection is your new home inspection check list for future use.

There are a lot more details on home inspections and the different type of inspectors further down...

The other questions asked...

  • Getting Qualified?,
  • Finding the Money?,
  • Finding Properties?,
  • Your Team of Professionals?,
  • Accounting / The Paperwork?,
  • Business Structure?,
  • Staying Focused?

Wow! That's a lot of questions...

The place to start; what are your real and personal goals?
What is Your Desired Outcome?
That is always the biggest obstacle to overcome with students! You should have a business plan before you start your business and, Rehabbing and Investing Is A Business!

Checking on all those "toughest questions" describes having little or no experience in this business, yet I know the passion to get into it. I was drawn to it, stayed with it, and developed my skills over 32 years.

Do you have your first home that you live in? 
Selling your first home and buying your next home is a progressive sequence that introduces you to each step of the process. Also, did you get an Inspector's home inspection check list when you bought your first home? It may be in your closing packet.

If you're attracted by the money or get rich quick; real estate is big business, with many laws, rules, and risks to learn about.

If you're attracted by enjoying the work, I can help!

I break it down in to simple steps and solve each problem, or take each step, one at a time.

- Anyone with Desire and Persistence usually does quite well.
- Having a mentor, a coach, or working in the business is the best way to learn the ins and outs of any business.
- Working for a contractor or in a real estate office gives you hands on, On-The-Job-Training.

I don't sell real estate guru programs or home inspection check list forms although, I do own a lot of them. Most of them are "crap in a box".

If a real estate Guru could do what they're selling, why would they waste their time selling a program that doesn't work? 

Why: to make money selling information products from the physiological selling technique of dream building... Wouldn't it be nice to get rich from real estate without doing any work... they advertise.

People will buy the dream of getting rich from buying a program, never read it, put it on the shelf, and it makes them happy that they have a so-called instruction manual in case they want to do it later! (Buying information does not give us experience!)

Just like getting a Home Inspection check list does not make you an Inspector! I know that's a bit strong but there are 10's of 1,000's of dollars at risk... That's why the extra long explanation with examples and recommendations are provided here.

By the way, there is No 1-Single Real Estate Program that Teaches Everything for Investors or Rehabbers. Last time I checked I counted over 300 programs from just one company that focuses on selling all those get rich quick programs. I would venture to guess just about all of them include a home inspection check list and I doubt any of them are the same.

Real estate investors and Rehabbers know that investing in real estate is not a one-time deal or a one month or one year program.

It's a Professional Career that develops over a life time. This business encompasses a multitude of skilled trades and professional service professions (including Inspector's with a home inspection check list).

Now here's something to consider...

I've helped more people avoid real estate investing and rehabbing because they have no passion for it! They simply were attracted by the Wealth Promises.

Important things to know are:

  • You will reap what you sew!
  • For every action you take there is an equal amount of return you will enjoy.
  • Lots of work will yield lots of bounty.
  • Little work will yield little results.
  • If you don't like the work, it will show in the results.

If you really want to learn Rehabbing, follow along with the Ask-The-Rehabber™ site and sign up for the newsletter at Rehabber News
There is no cost and lots of information to learn about over time.

This website is growing constantly. I will be publishing everything I know and every experience I've had plus, my future projects and adjusting strategies. I'm building the site according to the questions I receive.

I want to encourage you!

Real estate is a real business, one of the biggest!
It's way more than just a home inspection check list! It's working with people and solving problems.

Any business can be successful when the owner is dedicated, willing to learn, and is on top of their game.

If you are seriously in desire of winning the game of a successful business, are willing to earn the wealth you work for...
I can help you pin point a plan for you to achieve it.

The Biggest Problem Is...

I often get a blast of questions on How to Do It All, All At Once!
Wealth doesn't work that way and neither does Rehabbing.

The hardest part for individuals are to

  • "Choose that most important Objective"
  • "What is the real Goal?"
  • "What is the real Passion?"
  • "How much do you really need or want - to be Happy?"

Answer those questions and you'll be well on your way to prepare a business plan that works. Those are the real Toughest Questions!

If you can Not answer those questions, well, you'll be looking all around them for a long time or maybe a lifetime.

Are you beginning to see why a Home Inspection Check List is not the real answer to this question?

As for answering the real questions of Goals, Passion, Desired Outcome, and what really makes you Happy...

  • 5% will define their Goals,
  • A majority will do nothing,
  • Many give up,

But if you feel your in the top 5% and a go-getter,
You will enjoy a Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy Lifestyle!

When your plan is set, your budget will include the cost of a Home Inspection and the inspector will explain every detail item on your home inspection check list.

Now, the following is more helpful explanations and a list of other Inspectors and Professional Service Providers to consider...


Additional Information, Details, and Examples...

More about

  • The Home Inspection Check List
  • The Home Inspector Check List
  • Other Professional Service Provider's Check Lists
  • The Ins and Outs of an Inspections

There is NOT a 1-single, do-all, inspection check list!

Different professional service providers have their own inspection checklists.

For Example:

A home inspector will inspect your roof, 
check for leaks, wear, 
and approximate age of the roof.

If you have a major roofing company inspect your roof, 
the pre-sales person that inspected my roof had a 42 point inspection including the inside of the attic's wood and insulation, 
ventilation for the attic, 
chimney flashing, etc... 
They were very thorough.

What about soil testing? 
Was there ever any toxic dumping on the property?

Was there fill dirt, top soil, or sand that was brought in from the previous home owner?

That soil may have toxic or garbage residue like broken glass, road debris, waste petroleum products, or any type of contamination you can think of.
These type of concerns are not on a typical home inspection check list!

A home inspector usually checks surfaces and rarely checks behind, below, or above the surfaces!

A few more Examples:

Exterior vinyl siding looks good. What's behind that siding?

There could be:

  • Asbestos shingles,
  • Rotted wood,
  • Missing wood,
  • Insect infestation,
  • Mold,

and a host of other structural defects!

But the siding looks good. That certainly doesn’t mean the wall structure is good. I haven't seen a home inspection check list for that yet...

What's between the exterior wall sheathing and the interior dry wall?

What's inside the wall cavities?

It should be nicely sealed insulation right?

What type of insulation? Back in the 1950's the insulation was very thin mulched paper with a tar paper vapor barrier that is very inefficient and tends to crumble leaving un-insulated gaps.

Prior to the 1950’s and sometime after the 1950's insulation was not used either to save money, the lack of code requirements, or the owner did not understand the need for it.

Insulation is something that is Not inspected unless you hire an insulation company that can completely test, inspect, or examine the wall cavities for the presents of insulation. 

Once again, Not on the typical Home Inspection Check List.

And that's not all, What About...

In March of 1982 the U.S. consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Bans Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) based upon unreasonable risks to consumers health.

That type of insulation is on the Disclosure Statement provided by the seller if they know that it exists.

Bank Owned properties, Investors and Owners who have not lived in the property for the prior year before a sale are not required to fill out the Disclosure Statement or simply check the box stating they have no knowledge if that type of insulation exits.

It's not on the home inspection check list and it's up to the Buyer to Beware!

There are many more items that should be part of the inspection list:

  • Insulation type
  • Mold
  • Insect infestation (pest inspection)
  • Radon
  • Carbon Monoxide and natural gas leaks
  • Electrical wiring safety and grounding
  • Plumbing inspections: Supply, drain, waste, and vents
  • Structural
  • Foundations
  • Septic tank inspections
  • Excessive Noise from trains, planes, and automobiles
  • Storm zones like tornado belts and hurricane exposure
  • Geological fault zones
  • Flood zones
  • Overhead tree dangers
  • Overhead or nearby power lines

And What about...

  • High traffic areas or trucking routes
  • Nearby airports
  • Nearby shooting ranges or hunting areas
  • Nearby landfills
  • Nearby gas station (leaky fuel tanks)
  • Nearby factories
  • High crime areas
  • High jobless rate areas
  • School system requirements
  • Freeway accessibly requirements
  • City services, water and sewer
  • Main waste lines from the building to the main sewer line

I don't want to be an alarmist! But the home inspection check list does not cover everything especially if a beginner investor is doing the inspection.

Another example is the furnace. It's on the Inspector's home inspection check list to see if it starts up and shuts off. But unless they're a licensed heating contractor, they're not going to check to see if the heat exchanger is leaking carbon monoxide in to the living area.

There are precautions I take when I buy investment properties and or a home to live in. It becomes easier with knowledge, experience, and by hiring professional service providers.

Huge Financial Losses can be Expected from do-it yourself-ers trying to follow a poor quality real estate investor program that tries to teach people how to be a:

  • Realtor without a License
  • Lawyer without a Degree and License
  • Inspector without Credentials
  • Skilled Trades person with out a License
  • a CPA without a Degree or License

I know from personal experience! I've made those mistakes, that's how I can tell it like it really is!

Since then, I've gained the knowledge and experience and I do take everything into consideration when I'm buying and selling. Do what I love to do and have expertise with, and hire out the rest!

I have spent a lot of time, money, and effort in my training and qualifications to be a successful Rehabber!

- I hold 6 qualifications on my Mechanical Contractors HAVC License, 
- A Builders License, 
- A Real Estate License, 
- A Degree in Energy Technology in heating, cooling, and ventilation with maintenance, repair, and installation training.

I have worked on my own: 

- single family homes, 
- multi-family investment properties, 
- and commercial buildings.
- I'm a long time Landlord,

I have worked on 

- Other peoples homes, 
- Corporate commercial buildings, 
- Factories, 
and have sold homes and investment properties to homeowners and investors.

I've been working in the skilled trades since 1976, bought my first home in 1977, my second home in 1978, a restaurant in 1980, and on to more homes, businesses, and investment properties since then. That's my lifetime career.

I'm not telling you this to brag!

I hope you can tell that I'm explaining my experiences to the questions I get from real estate Investors and Rehabbers. That I've enjoyed my lifetime of work and have been fortunate (for which I'm grateful for) to be successful in this business and look forward to many more years of the same.

I hope you can see my concern for not simply providing a home inspection check list. There is more to it than that...

Maybe you can learn from my mistakes, save time and money, and make more money from the suggestions I offer and from those who contribute to this site with their experiences and wealth building strategies...

It's kind of a Pay It Forward type of thing... Anyway,

I didn't just jump into real estate investing, I became a real estate investor from circumstances at the very young age of 18.

Being a Rehabber or the term Rehabbing was unknown at the time.

I simply repaired, maintained, and remodeled my own properties and restaurant due to the lack of funds to hire skilled labor to do the work for me.

I had more time than money back then.

Where do You fit in?

Many of my visitors and students are beginners and medium level investors.

  • Some are only working on their own homes to save money by doing the work themselves.
  • There is no age group.
  • Locations are from all across the United States and several Countries.
  • Both men and women are equally attracted to Rehabbing properties and or investing in real estate.
  • Even the children are attracted to helping their parents do the work because it's just plain fun and exciting.

I realize I'm getting a bit off track here.

I'm including several real case scenarios, examples, and to let you know that You Are Not Alone!

Simply giving you a a so-called "Home Inspection Check List" is not the answer to this question!

Actually, there were no inspection check list for me to follow back in the 1970's.

I didn't get into real estate investing to get rich! Nor did I start into real estate investing because I had access to a home inspection check list.

I got into real estate first for a home to live in. After one year the Factory shut down, I moved, and bought my next home, then I bought a restaurant to make a living from. They all needed maintenance and repairs.

As time went on, I took jobs in the maintenance and construction fields.

It turned out I enjoy the work. I found that I loved the work when I was working on my own properties more than working for a boss or a customer.

As I became more experienced and proficient, I was able to make substantial profits on investment properties Not from Luck, a home inspection check list, or a real estate guru program...

I learned from first hand experience, College, night classes, and most importantly, Desire and Pleasure.


A 10 point check list for the Inspection...

We started with a home inspection check list question. Plus 7 other areas of help needed from the questionnaire form.

It became complicated because Money and sometimes our Life Savings may be at Risk!

1) Hire a home inspector at the very least if your not a skilled trades person.

2) Look at the City's Building Department files on the property.

3) Use a full time Realtor® with at least 10 years experience in your area.

4) Get estimates on repairs from licensed contractors before you buy.

5) Talk to several neighbors adjoining the property you’re buying.

6) Ask for or pay for a City Inspection.

7) Drive the neighborhood - every street in the subdivision.

8) You could talk to the Postman, Cable Guy, telephone service Workers.

9) Be reluctant when talking to the seller.

10 Take a lot of pictures, take notes, and organize them in a 3-ring binder.

Here are some Tips I use so I don't have to be so technical with all the inspections or getting analysis paralysis from being overly cautious.

If you’re buying in a developed residential subdivision and there are Not a lot of For Sale Signs in the neighborhood, that may indicate people are happy living there.

Take in some visual observations:

- Of how the landscape is growing in the subdivision, 
- Look for any and all construction projects in the area, 
- Look up and around for aerial sites of wires, towers, and smoke stacks, 
- Take notice and smell the air and listen to the sounds. 

I check this both day and night, and through the seasons.

The obvious and most overlooked is to invest in the areas we live in. If you live in the neighborhood or nearby neighborhood; if you like it, there's a great chance your buyer or renter will enjoy it as much as you do.

Neighborhoods grow from family, friends, and nearby jobs.

Neighborhoods decline from lack of work, high crime rates, and weather changes or natural disaster zones, to name a few.

Back to the Check Lists...

I rarely take soil samples; if the trees and grass are growing, and there's no complaints from the neighbors, that's a fairly good sign.

Take a close look at the Disclosure Form from the seller. Is it complete? Check out each listed item yourself for accuracy.

The home inspection check list can be excessive!

Fix what's broken and remodel what you want to restore to increase value.

Aside from Code Violation Repairs, cutting the grass, and paint and carpet are sometimes all that is necessary to flip a house for profit when you buy a property at a wholesale price.

Windows, roofing, cement work, siding, furnace, and air conditioning upgrades are the big ticket expenses. Kitchen and bathrooms remodels are next for consideration.

None of the above are mandatory to flip for a profit or buy to rent out if everything passes the City Inspection.

Key Points to making a Profit...

A complete home inspection check list For What?

Going through a house and completely remodeling it into a new home is rarely profitable. It would be cheaper to build a new home in many cases.

Seriously, do you want a critical detail home inspection check list? Or a check list that makes you money?

To list everything that has to be checked would become a book of pages of each and every item in each and every room, space, fixture, or building material, inside and outside of the building, plus the landscaping, outbuildings, or garage inspection check list.

This can cause some serious Analysis Paralysis! and prevent you from ever committing to a deal.

Here's how I do the home inspection check list...

I take notes on a legal pad with a page for every room, 
a page for the attic, 
a page for the basement or crawl space, 
a page for the exterior of the house,
a page for the landscape,
and a page for the garage.
Plus I take a picture of anything that doesn't look appealing.
At the bottom of each page I write in a budget amount.

When inspecting, I'm looking for aesthetics and eye appeal. I can notice anything that is out of place or is not in new like condition, most home owners can too.

If it catches your eye, take several pictures of it and make a quick note of the deficiency.

I look at...

All the molding, 
check drywall for cracks,
switches and plugs and their cover plates,
check each plug for ground, and the type of electrical service.

I look at the floors under the carpet, 
light fixtures, doors, door hardware, 
windows and window sills, 
above and below windows for structure defects and leaks.

In the wet rooms I check all the cabinets and their hardware, 
the plumbing supply, 
drains, faucets, and all the appliances.

I check gas pipes with a leak detector, 
the floors to be level, 
the top of doors to see if they've been cut do to sagging walls, 
the floor joists and the ceiling rafters, 
for insulation, foundations, 
if the basement leaks and the walls are straight.

On the outside I check for water drainage away from the house, 
gutters, trim around doors and windows, 
roof ventilation, soffit ventilation, 
the roof deck and the shingles.

I check for correct installation of the siding, 
trip hazards in the cement, proper steps, 
porches, patios, and decks, 
the landscaping, the fence, gates, and latches.

WOW! Isn't that just way too much?

Everything depends on your skill level!

The Big Frustration is...

Trying to mimic that Television Show about fixing up homes like "Flip This House". You have to know that is Television Entertainment and not a true real estate Investor or Rehabber's working experience.

It's a 30 minute TV Show! followed by a book or a investor program. They are Infomercials and marketing programs to sell stuff!


The First Investment Home I Flipped

I bought a house on land contract,
spent $2000 to fix up the code violation from the City Inspections,
and sold it on land contract in about a 4 month period of time.

I didn't paint anything or replace any carpet. I didn't remodel the kitchen or the bath room. I fixed what the City Inspector said needed to be brought up to code and that was it.

My simple strategy back then was that a new home owner is going to paint, replace the carpet, and what ever else they wanted to do to improve their home.

That simple strategy works even better today than it did 20 years ago!

With Home Depot and Lowe's in almost every City, fixing up your own home is all the rage! Leave something for the homeowner to fix up themselves, it's fun, and they’ll probably re-do some of a Rehabber's work anyway – that's what I’ve experienced.

So why go overboard with an elaborate home inspection check list when the City Inspection Report will suffice in many cases! It would still be smart to hire a home inspector today (there were No Home Inspectors back in the 1970's) to reveal any major or hidden defects the City Inspector may have missed.

The Pest Inspection and the Furnace Inspection are important! These 2 inspections aren't part of a home inspection check list and are not part of the Home Inspector check list - they are separate inspections.

The Pest and Furnace inspections are only about $100 each. Both inspections provide critical and vital information that insects or rodents aren't eating away at the building structure and the Furnace is not leaking deadly gases into the living areas.

Unless you are skilled in these areas, hire those inspection out, and use those inspections as proof to your buyer that these areas are free from defects...
You’ll have proof from an authority. A great selling feature!

All this is to try to convince you to hire Professional Inspectors instead of trying to become an inspector. Plus, if they have errors and omissions insurance, and if they miss something critical, they may end up having to pay you for their oversight to correct the deficiency. (I wouldn't count on that, they’re very thorough.) Consider that cheap insurance and peace of mind!

Note: A real estate investor is a decision Maker! 
Making decisions from the various Inspector Reports and other Professional Service Provider's prepared documents is utilizing other peoples' professional experience.

As skilled as I am, I hire a home inspector...

The catch is, I hire that home inspector with their detailed home inspection check list to inspect the properties I just completed rehabbing for 2 reasons.

1) To double check to see if I missed anything.

2) To show my buyer everything I did is up to snuff for a quick sale.

If a buyer is interested in the house at all, a Home Inspector's home inspection check list clinches the deal every time because the worry if anything that might go wrong was checked, fixed or replaced, and rechecked. It's move in ready!

If you plan for all the costs properly, including the inspections, the profit is still there.

So does that mean you have to get 2 home inspections?

Well if you read this far, you'll probably agree if you’re not a skilled trades person or have an extensive budget to cover what ever you missed on your own do-it-yourself home inspection check list, it's a good idea to get before and after inspections.

I would bet that you would get a reduced rate if you use the same inspector for both inspections; the inspection before you buy, and the inspection you provide for your buyer. That's a smart investor strategy!

This started out as a simple question for access to a home inspection check list.

My answer turned out to be a Check list of Inspectors

A check list of inspectors:

  • Home Inspector
  • City Inspectors
  • Pest Inspector
  • Licensed HVAC Technician
  • Licensed Electrical Technician
  • Licensed Plumber
  • Licensed Builder
  • Civil Engineer
  • Soil Testing Analyst
  • Demographics Statistical Expert
  • Appraiser

And don't forget your Realtor® for comparable evaluations which is an inspection of the like kind properties that sold in the neighborhood.

I apologize for not just giving you a home inspection check list, but I don't feel that would be very helpful to a beginner investor that should hire an Inspector.

Personally, I don't use a home inspection checklist. I can not give away the check lists I purchased years ago so I do not infringe upon other people's Copyright protected materials. Besides, they're not very thorough.

I do plan to create and provide forms in the future.

Note: Many forms will be available as this site develops. Forms and contracts provided will not be recommended as a substitute of hiring professional service providers that will provide warranty, expertise, and legal protection for the services they provide.

Keep in mind,

You don't have to become a real estate Investor or Rehabber if you don't love the work it entails! As you can see this topic covered only the inspections and didn't discuss the many other parts of the start to finish investment deal.

There are other options in case I just talked you out of real estate investing.

You can become quite financially independent by seeking out Your Passions and Hobbies faster than learning the entire real estate investing business.

Thanks for the Question,

Joe the Rehabber
P.S. If you haven't seen my Lifestyle of a Rehabber and why I love what I do, click on Rehabber Lifestyle

Their Reply to my Response

I guess you can tell I'm a newbie. That was more information than I expected, all I wanted was a home inspection check list. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything. I had no idea or even thought of flipping houses as a "risky business".

Actually, I never was very comfortable with the idea. Your right, my husband and I like the remodeling TV shows and it looks so simple. I really like your suggestion about Your Passions and Hobbies as something I can do in a few months rather than spending the next 10 years learning how to invest in real estate.

We do like working on our home, will you be having more how-to remodeling ideas?


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