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Home inspection checklist for first-time Cleveland, OH home buyers

Michelle McQuade | October 4, 2019

Home inspection is something you have to take seriously if you want to buy the right home. Opting out of this final step in the home-buying process could mean the difference between moving into a piece of property with minor issues to one that could cost you a lot more than you bargained for.

Home inspection form

If you’re looking for homes for sale in Cleveland, Ohio, or for any other area for that matter, it’s best to take note of the following:

Ask for proof that they’re qualified

Hiring a certified and experienced home inspector is key to a good home inspection. Choose an inspector who can correctly evaluate your home’s condition and is up-to-date with industry trends. You can use Google to find the best inspectors in your area but your Cleveland Realtor can also connect you with someone reliable.

Note that Ohio state law now requires all home inspectors to be certified and licensed. Before the state issues a license to a home inspector, they must have submitted the following:

  • Proof of successfully passing the national home inspector exam
  • Proof of experience in home inspections
  • Without proof of experience, the successful completion of 10 parallel inspections (a paid inspection accompanied by a licensed practitioner)

In addition to being a licensed home inspector in the state of Ohio, it is also highly recommended that your inspector be ASHI Certified. This means that the inspector is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). It also means that among other rigorous requirements, the inspector must show valid proof of their performance on at least 250 home inspections.

While these are solid credentials, you may also ask for references should you wish to call their previous clients for their personal feedback

  • How long have they been in the business?
  • What certifications or qualifications do they have?
  • How many inspections have they done?
  • What type of constructions do they specialize in?
  • Can they provide references?

Be around for the inspection

You can learn a lot about the home just by being present during the inspection. Take this opportunity to ask questions and take note of their answers. Just be sure not to get in the way of their work because this could affect the quality of the inspection. Make sure to free up some time as well because the job could take two to three hours.

Find out what comes with your home inspection

A standard home inspection covers the following areas, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors:

  • Heating
  • Central air conditioning
  • Interior plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Roof, attic, and visible insulation
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, doors, and windows
  • Foundation
  • Basement
  • Other structural elements

Look closer

If the inspector misses out on anything that’s supposed to be a part of a standard home inspection, make sure to ask them about it. Remember to thoroughly read the report and not just skim over it too.

In all likelihood, the inspector will look into following common concerns:

The lot and yard

  • Are the yard and driveway in good condition?
  • Are there soggy areas in the yard that might suggest a drainage problem?
  • Is the fence in good condition?

The foundation

  • Are there any cracks in the walls and ceilings?
  • Does the house tilt on its side?
  • Are there any trees growing too close to the house?

The roof

  • Does it show signs of leaking?
  • Are there damaged or missing shingles?
  • Is there flashing or weatherproofing installed?

Exterior surfaces

  • Do the walls need repainting?
  • Are there any cracks or dents?
  • Do the exterior materials contain asbestos?

Interior rooms

  • Is the flooring in good condition?
  • Do doors and windows open and close properly?
  • Are there cracks or stains anywhere?


  • Are the appliances functioning properly?
  • How old are the oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator?

The attic

  • Are there any stains or damages on the underside of the roof?
  • Is there sufficient insulation and ventilation?
  • Are there any signs of moisture?


  • Do all the switches and outlets work?
  • Is there any faulty wiring?
  • Are all the cables secured?


  • Is there damage or evidence of leaking on the water pipes?
  • Do you detect unusual sounds in the pipes?
  • Are there are stains on areas around pipes?

Heating and cooling systems

  • Do the heaters and air conditioners work?
  • Are the air filters clean?
  • Is there asbestos in the heating pipes?

Are you looking to move to Cleveland, Ohio? Before you start, be sure to read our Buyers’ Guide to Cleveland Real Estate.

You can find the right home by working with the best Realtor in Cleveland, Ohio. Call Cleveland Real Estate Expert Michelle McQuade at 440.823.2448 or send her an email at michellemcquade(at)howardhanna(dotted)com.

41 North Main St. Chagrin Falls, OH 44022