A home is one of the most important investments you will make in your life. Shopping for a new home is a stressful process. When you are doing a walk through of the house you are considering purchasing, serious damage is not always evident. Checking over these inspection points will help you decide if you want to move forward with the buying process.
1. Condition of the Roof
Taking a look at the roof can be revealing. It is not always possible to spot a roof that is in poor condition, but there are clues that can point to a roof that needs replacing. Loose shingles, bowing, bulging, dark patches and missing flashing are all signs that the roof of the house is in bad repair.
2. HVAC System
If you are house hunting in nice weather, you may not think about the heating and cooling systems for the house. It is important to inspect these to be sure they are in good shape. Look at the units outside the house. If they are older than ten years, chances are you will need to replace them soon. Other signs of HVAC problems are moldy smells, uncomfortable temperatures in the house and unusual noises from the unit.
3. Check Plumbing
Most plumbing repairs need to be diagnosed by an expert, but there are a few quick checks you can do during your tour of the house. Turn on the faucets, and pay attention to the water pressure. Low pressure can indicate a problem in the pipes. Check for pooling water under sinks and around toilets. Standing water means that the house has leaky pipes or fixtures.
4. Check Foundation Integrity
An unsound foundation is a serious problem in a home and a deal breaker for most people. To check for a bad foundation, look for telltale signs. Cracked walls and ceilings inside the home could mean the foundation has shifted more than normal. Look for sagging floors, actual cracks in the foundation, uneven support posts in the basement and windows that are difficult to open.
5. Lead Paint
In homes that were built before the late 1970s, the presence of lead paint is a very real possibility. Lead paint is extremely dangerous for children and pets. The process of removing lead paint is expensive and time consuming. You can buy DIY testing kits at a home improvement store to check for the presence of lead in the home’s paint.
6. Functioning Electrical System
When it comes to the wiring in a home, you don’t want to take chances. Faulty wiring can start fires or cause unexpected shocks. When you are touring a home, you can check for signs of electrical problems. Turn on every switch to be sure it works, and test each outlet. Take a look at the panel where the circuit breakers are located. A quick internet search can tell you if it is a good model or one that has been recalled.
Generally when a home is sold, the appliances are part of the sale. Getting stuck with subpar appliances can be costly after repairs or replacement. Carefully inspect the refrigerator, stove, washing machine, dryer and hot water heater for signs of wear and tear. Older appliances or ones that look as if they have not been maintained will probably need to be replaced soon.
8. Presence of Mold
Mold in a home is a symptom of a larger, and more costly, problem. If you see mold anywhere, you know the home most likely has leaky pipes, a leaky roof or bad ventilation. All of these issues will generally run into the thousands of dollar range for repair.
A home’s landscaping can hold clues to future problems that may crop up, so it is always good to look outside with a critical eye. Those trees may shade the home, but limbs growing over the roof will cause damage if they fall. A landscape that is not properly graded could cause the home to flood in the future.
Before you close on a house, it will be inspected by a professional who can diagnose unseen problems. Doing a little detective work before you make an offer, can give you leverage to bring the price down or save time if you do not want to bother with a problematic home.