March 27, 2014
Home Inspection Checklist: What to Look for When Buying a Home
The purchase of a home is a big investment, and you will want to make sure you know the ins and outs of your new house before signing on the dotted line. Home inspections are an important part of the buying process; knowing what to look for when viewing a home will ensure you know exactly what you are buying. Here’s six points to keep on your home inspection checklist:
Inspect the plumbing
Turn on all the taps throughout the kitchen and the bathrooms to ensure it’s all in order. You’ll want to make sure the water pressure and drainage is up to your standards. Listen for running toilets, and even give each a little shake. Wobbly toilets can let out water and moisture, leading to problems down the road. And don’t forget to keep an eye out during your whole visit! Water stains on walls or ceilings could mean a leaky pipe.
Focus on the foundation
Don’t worry if there are little cracks in the foundation – it happens. But be weary of cracks that are both horizontal and vertical, for those you may need to call in a pro. You can also look for gaps along the doors and windows, that’s a sign of a shifting foundation.
Open and close everything
The windows, the doors, the cabinets – open and close everything to make sure they’re all in working order. Do the windows slide easily, or do they stick? Are there screens missing where there should be screens? You’ll also want to watch for cracking paint along the windows. If the wood feels soft when you press it, it could be rotten. You should also check to make sure all doors lock and unlock easily, from both the inside and the outside. And poke around the cabinets; take a look inside each for any red flags like moisture or discolouration.
Walk around the outside of your home and into the backyard to inspect the grounds. Are there trees that appear dead that might be a hazard? Is everything in good shape aesthetically, like the grass, walkways and decks? Take a second to notice the privacy level in the backyard, too, to make sure they meet your personal standards.
Weather conditions, like rain or snow, might limit or prevent how much outside inspection you can do. But take that opportunity to review other features, like leaks throughout the house on the walls, ceilings or through the roof.
Check the connections
Where are the electrical plugs and switches? Are there enough in each room, and are they all in opportune places? Note how old they appear, older electrical switches could be a sign of old wiring. Is there internet access wired already? Some older homes may not be set-up, which would lead to additional expenses. You may even want to check your mobile phone signal in different places throughout the house, some basements or corners might have little or no reception.
Consider general livability
Even if the whole house is in great shape, you still have to live there. Layout is very important – check for any oddly shaped rooms that may require new or custom furniture, for example. Consider where you prefer bathrooms and bedrooms – most buyers look for a bathroom on the main level, and one closer to the bedrooms (if the house is multiple stories.) Parents often prefer their children’s bedrooms on the same level as their own. Aesthetically, if there is wall paper or paint that needs to be replaced, would you be happy prioritizing the most problematic areas of the house, or do you think most rooms need an immediate refresh? While this is a smaller expense when weighted against some other renovations, the time and cost will add up.
As a general rule, you will want to visit your potential new home at least twice before signing; you never know what you’ll notice the second time around. You might even consider bringing a neutral third party with you to help with your inspection. If you think you have found your dream home, you may be glossing over some important features, and a friend – armed with this home inspection checklist – might be able to help point them out.