Tips for New Home Buyers
Home Inspector Mike Page has developed a checklist of items you can use to help you shop for your new home.
If you find a house that seems like it has possibilities, do your own home inspection during your initial walkthrough. Your intention now is to be alert for obvious deficiencies–assuming that you’re not looking for a “fixer-upper.”
Note: This is not meant to replace a professional home inspection. Once you make an offer on a house, you’ll want a licensed home inspector to go over it with a magnifying glass.
Your initial inspection
Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious, large cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Not all cracks mean foundation problems. Do the same around the outside perimeter.
Lot: Does the drainage appear to direct water away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?
Roof: What is the overall condition? Ask the seller when it was last replaced. Are there any trees encroaching on it?
Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Are there any obvious signs that the stucco or siding is too close to the soil and wicking moisture up into the structure?
Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any obvious signs of leaks? Step back across the street and get another perspective. Are there any obvious signs of leaning or tilting?
Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room. Look for evidence of prior repairs. Ask the seller about the history of those repairs.
Sub Areas: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)
Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?
Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Low pressure? Discoloration? Has the sewer line been scoped ?
Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?
Heating/Cooling System: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? AC? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?
Odor: Is there an odor in the house? Can you detect what it might be? Musty odors could signal improper ventilation or moisture penetration.
With these tips you’ll become a much more educated buyer. If you’ve been out looking, you’ll now that homes don’t stay on the market very long. I hope this information will allow you to make more competitive and comprehensive decisions in the fast paced buyers market. Good luck! And I’ll see you in the field!
Mike’s Home Inspections