Sometimes in the heat of the moment buyers forget to look beyond the aesthetics when viewing a house for sale. Once you have found the one you love you should go through this checklist designed to help buyers evaluate the condition of a property and identify potential issues:
Roof: Check for missing or damaged shingles, signs of leaks, and the overall condition of the roof.
Gutters and Downspouts: Ensure they are securely attached and free of debris.
Siding and Trim: Inspect for cracks, rot, or other damage.
Foundation: Look for cracks, settling, or signs of water damage.
Windows and Doors: Check for proper sealing, functionality, and signs of drafts.
Landscaping: Evaluate the condition of the yard, trees, and shrubs.
Driveway and Walkways: Assess its condition, including cracks and potholes.
Patios: Look for tripping hazards, cracked concrete, or loose pavers.
Fencing and Gates: Inspect for damage, missing parts, or need for repairs.
Exterior Lighting: Test outdoor lights to ensure they work properly.
Walls and Ceilings: Check for cracks, water stains, or signs of structural issues.
Floors: Inspect for squeaks, unevenness, or damage to flooring materials.
Windows and Doors: Open and close all windows and doors to ensure they work smoothly.
Plumbing: Look for leaks, water stains, or signs of plumbing issues.
Electrical: Test light switches, outlets, and circuit breakers for proper functionality.
HVAC System: Check the heating and cooling systems for age and maintenance history.
Appliances: Test the functionality of major appliances, such as the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator.
Insulation and Ventilation: Assess the insulation in the attic and ventilation in the bathrooms and kitchen.
Water Heater: Determine the age and condition of the water heater.
Safety Features: Ensure the presence of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Structural Elements: Inspect the condition of support beams, posts, and load-bearing walls.
Mold and Mildew: Look for signs of mold or mildew in damp areas like basements and bathrooms.
Moisture: Check for signs of water infiltration or dampness.
Foundation: Inspect for cracks, shifting, or other structural concerns.
Pests: Look for signs of pests, such as termite damage or rodent droppings.
Roof Structure: Examine the condition of the roof structure, insulation, and ventilation.
Ventilation: Ensure proper attic ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.
Structure: Inspect the condition of the garage door, walls, and ceiling.
Electrical: Test garage door openers and lighting.
Safety: Ensure the presence of safety sensors on garage doors.
Yard and Property:
Property Boundaries: Verify property lines and boundaries.
Drainage: Check for proper grading to prevent water pooling near the house.
Trees and Vegetation: Assess the condition of trees and potential risks.
Neighborhood and Location:
Community Amenities: Evaluate proximity to schools, parks, shopping, and transportation. Noise and Traffic: Consider local traffic patterns and noise levels.
Safety: Research crime rates and safety in the area.
Remember to take notes, photos, and ask questions during the inspection process. Additionally, it’s highly advisable to hire a professional home inspector who can provide a more thorough evaluation of the property and identify any potential issues. Hiring a professional inspector also helps down the road in the event there is some major defect as the absence of a professional inspection could really hurt you in a legal situation.