The Ultimate Final Inspection and Energy Efficiency Guide
The weather is hot, and so is the housing market. With the excitement of finding your future dream home, it’s easy to overlook critical maintenance items that could cause headaches after you move in, especially if you’ve only toured the home via virtual showings. We’ve rounded up all the best tips to take you from your first inspection to your final walkthrough, and ultimately, your move-in day. If you’re not in the market for a new home yet, these tips are still applicable to your current home and will help you enjoy energy efficiency savings now, and help make your home (the place you have been spending a lot more time lately) a place you don’t want to leave. A little work up front will have a huge impact.
Planning your first inspection
Probably the best tip regarding your primary inspection is to hire a professional. Find a professional that has credible reviews. They will know what to check throughout the home’s entire interior and exterior. This inspection will pay for itself if it can help you avoid discovering costly issues after moving in. Remember, this home will be your problem and expense once you sign the documents. Make sure you can be present during the inspection, so you can see firsthand any issues or items that need repair. While your inspector is doing a full investigation, take advantage of doing some simple tests to ensure you know what condition your future home is in.
Supplies to take with you on inspection day
- measuring tape
- painters’ tape
- pencil and notepad
- camera or phone camera
- phone charger
Your Ultimate Inspection Checklist
- Is there damage to floors, walls, tiles, or sinks?
- Is there pet damage to walls or floors?
- Are there signs of pest infestations (dry rot, soft floors, or crumbling timbers)?
- Inspect the HVAC carefully.
- Check that the heat and air conditioning is working and maintains the same temperature throughout the home.
- Do all the windows open and lock properly, and is the weather stripping intact?
- Are the blinds or window coverings in good working order?
- Test all doors handles, door mobility, and weather stripping (including closet and exterior doors).
- Do all the light switches, dimmers, and the doorbell work?
- Test all outlets with your smartphone charger.
- Check that the kitchen and bathrooms have GFCI outlets next to the sinks or other water sources.
- Do all the fire and carbon dioxide alarms work?
- Take a picture of all light fixtures that you agree upon remain with the house.
- Do all the outdoor garage and porch lights work?
- Inspect the basement, attic, closets, and rooms for hazardous loose wiring.
- Are all the appliances working?
- Can the dishwasher run a full cycle?
- If there is a garbage disposal, does it function correctly?
- Do the stove, burners, and microwave work? And do you have access to the owner manuals or warranties associated with these appliances?
- Does the fan above the range work properly?
- Look for any signs of leaks or mold.
- Take a picture of all appliances to ensure that they are not removed or replaced with cheaper models before closing.
- Test the faucets in sinks and showers and look for leaks.
- Are there signs of mold or water damage? Look near windows, appliances, and ceilings.
- Do the exhaust fans work?
- Flush all toilets and check the levers and plugs for functionality.
- Ensure that the drains drain quickly without build-up.
- Does the garage door open and close correctly?
- Is the landscaping up to your standards?
- If there is a sprinkler or drip system, check that it works and learn how it is controlled and set up.
- Inspect the home’s siding, exterior walls, and shutters.
- Check the pavement and pavers surrounding the home.
- If there is a pool or hot tub, check the filters, pump, and controls.
Pro-Tips for the Final Walkthrough
Schedule the final walkthrough one to two days before your closing date. You can already see yourself in your new home, but don’t let that distract you from making sure everything is just how you expect it to be. A good rule of thumb is to spend one to two hours going room to room and checking all around the outside. Sometimes, you might be willing to let common repairs slide at the risk of losing the home if there are multiple offers. Taking your realtor with you adds an extra set of eyes, knowing they’ve handled walkthroughs before. If you are purchasing an older home or one that had a lengthy inspection report, you may consider bringing your Inspector along too. The price for a walkthrough or “re-inspect” is often minimal compared to something significant being overlooked.
Questions to ask during your final walkthrough
- Have all service repairs been made to your satisfaction?
- Have you received the associated warranties and receipts for these repairs?
- Are all the items you purchased with the house still there?
- Is there any visible damage to the floors or walls from the movers?
What if I find problems with my final walkthrough?
Remember, a home inspection is not a pass or fail. Often, if issues are found, the seller will choose to provide a concession to cover the repairs. But once you sign and take the keys, all repairs are your responsibility. Your realtor will help you negotiate the best possible outcome.
Pro-tips before move-in day
The house is yours, and you can’t wait to make it your home. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before you waltz right in.
Full Cleaning – It is much easier to clean all the baseboards and fixtures without boxes and bulky furniture in the way.
Service & Utility Calls – No one wants to move into a house without water or electricity. Take time to get your home accounts set up and functioning to have a pleasant first-day experience.
Locks, Security Codes, Mailing Address – Make sure to re-key all the locks and change any garage or security codes. Ensure that you’ve updated your new address for friends, health specialists, and insurance companies.
Pest Control – Set up your first treatment before you move in all those boxes. Especially if your home has sat vacant for a while.
Maximize Energy Efficiency- Add ceiling fans to keep rooms cool, install LED or CFL bulbs, and have old weather stripping repaired. Depending on how old your home is, you may consider having the air ducts cleaned and filters replaced. Has the HVAC been recently cleaned and serviced? If this seems overwhelming, consider a Home Energy Audit by a professional like Elevation. They can help pinpoint where your home is losing energy, seal leaks, and help you start living in a functional and efficient home. Elevation can also help install a programable thermostat, smart home monitor, or electric vehicle charging station.
Home Sweet Home
Purchasing a home can be one of the biggest investments you will make, often making it a stressful experience. Our pro-tips will help you through the final process and make it your favorite place to gather with family and friends. Now, meet the neighbors or find local Facebook groups to learn more about your new community. And, if you want to take things to the next level, let Elevation help you with our 5 Steps to an Elevated Home so you can start saving energy and money today.