If you’re in the market to purchase your first home, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything you have to consider. A big tip from many real estate agents is understanding the importance of knowing what to look for during the home inspection.
Though you’ll be hiring a professional to handle this for you, as the buyer you’ll want to know what you should be looking for, too. Here are seven facets of a residential structure to study with care during a home inspection.
1. Check the Windows
Many old houses still have single-pane windows. If you’re purchasing a home where the winters can get extremely cold, these can make your house difficult to heat. You may even get frost on the inside.
If this is the case, you should factor this into the final cost of the house by investigating how much it would cost to get residential replacement windows. You might persuade the seller to consider taking care of this renovation before selling.
2. Don’t Overlook the Foundation
All foundations need to meet certain requirements for them to meet code. During the home inspection, look for large cracks.
Small cracks usually aren’t a big issue for the moment, but they could lead to more expensive concerns down the road. Look for any soft or sunken ground near or around the foundation. If there are trees near the structure, those could be cause for concern over time.
3. Investigate the Entire Exterior
The exterior of the house will include such details as siding, gutters, downspouts, and even the paint. Is everything fairly up to date and working properly?
Broken gutters or lack of them could lead to water damage. If the paint hasn’t been updated in a while, the homeowners association might come after you about getting your home closer to neighborhood standards.
4. Look for Roof Damage
Repairing or replacing a roof can be one of the most expensive items on any homeowner’s list. Keep an eye open for any damaged or missing shingles.
If there are stains, dark spots, or even moss, you can almost guarantee there will be damage beneath it. Ask the seller when the roof was last replaced. When you’re negotiating on the house, see if you can include a pre-sale repair or replacement into the deal.
5. Heating and Cooling Systems
You’ll want to make sure you don’t skip all of the major electrical appliances, because they can be hazardous if not properly commissioned.
Verify that the systems are working properly. You can even ask for the serial number or manufacturing date of the system to find out how old it is. This will give you a better idea about how long it’s been since these items have been replaced, if ever.
6. Investigate the Plumbing
As you’re going through the home inspection checklist, turn on the water. Don’t assume everything is working properly. See how good the water pressure is and whether there’s any discoloration.
Be on the lookout for leaks under the sinks in the cabinets. Check every fixture to make sure they all work properly.
The most critical portion of the plumbing you’ll want to check is the water heater. Find out how old it is and whether it’s ever been replaced or undergone any repairs.
If there have been issues with it in the past, you can expect to see very expensive problems with it in the future.
7. Go Through Everything Electrical
Your electrical inspection includes everything from the light switches to the appliances. Every outlet should be checked to make sure it works and is safe.
Older homes usually have electrical panels with fuses, while newer models have circuit breakers. Occasionally you’ll come across a house that has a mixture of both. Old wiring could become a safety concern as well as incredibly frustrating to replace.
If there are electrical issues, that might be something to discuss with the current owners about fixing before you commit to purchasing the house.