Inspecting a House Before You Buy Inspecting a House Before You Buy

There is more to buying to a house than signing papers at the closing. While this is only a brief summary of some of the things to look for when purchasing a house, it provides basic guidance for this very important decision. Consider these tips before, during, after, or in lieu of working with a professional inspector.

What to Examine

When looking at a potential home there are many things to consider before even walking in the door. What kind of neighborhood is the house located in? You should find out if the house is in an industrial area, has heavy traffic, or crime.

Some of thing that must be examined are the yard, electrical system, foundation, basement, roof, kitchen, attic, and plumbing.

Exterior Inspection

Check the exterior of house first. Look at the front the landscape and trees. Check windows and doors. Replacing widows is expensive, so make sure they are in good condition.

Another important area that needs to be looked at is the roof. Examine the shingles. How many layers are there? What is the flexibility of the shingles? Are there patches on the roof? Also check the outer walls, looking at window connections and for dry rot.

There may be an exterior electrical box with circuit breakers. If you have any doubt about the electrical system and its ability to handle your needs, hire an electrician. Don't forget the foundation. Check the sill plate for any cracks.

Interior Inspection

Moving inside the house, some of your main concerns are major cracking in walls or ceilings, water damage, insufficient electrical outlets, and wall insulation. Starting in the basement, check for moisture. Inspect the wiring system and the insulated vent and ducts. Turn on the heat and air conditioning. Ask the owner about the climate control costs. Next, check the house's interior walls. Is there fuzz, water damage, or discoloration? Are there bulges or bubbles?

Moving to kitchen, some areas of concern are dust, dirt, undrinkable water, insects, rodents, appliance problems, floor problems, and future remodeling considerations. When in the kitchen, check the pump and tank. Open cupboard doors to see any signs of roaches or rats. How many appliances are there and are there enough hookups for your appliances? When walking on the floor, does it shake? How is the pitch? Is the floor level? These are all questions you need to answer before moving on.

Another important area is the plumbing system. Some of the concerns involved here are insufficient water pressure, drainage, corroded pipes and water damage. See how the water runs. Turn on the shower and flush the toilet. Hire a plumber to look things over if you have cause for concern.

Move to the attic. Look around, but be careful. Walk only on the joists. Look for ventilation, water damage and structure. Check for the amount of insulation, leaks and weak floor joists.

We hope this list of things to look for will aid you in your next home buying experience. Remember, it's not just a purchase, but a lifelong investment.

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