Before you hire a professional home inspector, there are certain things that you can look for while you tour a home.
Not only is this going to give you a better idea of what needs to be fixed in the house, but it also gives you the opportunity to ask a professional home inspector what you'd like them to pay special attention to.
- The Foundation
When looking at the foundation, you shouldn't only be looking at the outside of the home but the interior also. Look at the base of all the walls in every room as well as the ceilings. You will be looking for obvious cracks and shifts in the foundation. Also, note whether there are any trees around the close vicinity of the property.
- The Roof
You will also want to ask questions about the roof. What is it made out of? When was it last installed? How long has it been since it was maintained and repaired? What is the condition of the roof overall?
- Exterior Inspection
While on the outside of the house, take a look at the paint or the siding on the house. Does it look like it needs to be painted or replaced? Are there missing pieces of siding, brick, stone, or wood? Take a look at the windows too. Do these look newer or older? Are they energy efficient or not? Take a look at things like the gutters and downspouts on the home. Anything that is going to need to be repaired or replaced will add extra cost.
Not all homes have attics, and not all homes have basements. If the home has one or the other:
Basements: The basement should not have any dampness to it, there should be adequate ventilation and insulation in the space.
Attics: Make sure you always enter the attic in a new home. Look for any structural damage on the inside; holes in the walls, missing roof areas, or even things like wet spots should be noted — this usually means the roof does leak and that, eventually, you could have a major issue down the line.
- Electrical Inspection
There are things you can do, such as making sure all the switches work, asking about when the last inspection was done on the wiring inside the home, and if the outlets are grounded.
- Plumbing Inspection
Make sure that you take a look at every sink, faucet, and plumbing fixture in the home. Make sure none of them are dripping water. Next, you want to listen for any odd sounds you might hear when turning on the tap or flushing the toilet. Lastly, you need to ask about the sewer, and the last time it was scoped.
- HVAC Unit
An HVAC unit can be one of the most expensive parts of a home. Because of this, you should make sure that it's in working condition before you move in. Ask how old the furnace is and/or if it was maintained and repaired by a professional HVAC company — if so, make sure you get their name and number. Also, ask if the unit has been converted or if the old tanks are still in place.
- Odd Odors
Not only should you be visually inspecting the home, but you also need to pay attention to the smells inside a new home. If you smell mold, this could be coming from the basement. On the other hand, if you smell sulfur, this could have something to do with the sewer line.
When inspecting a house from a buyer's standpoint, it's always okay to ask questions! Just make sure that when you are done doing a personal inspection, you a pro to do another secondary look for you before you put any money down or sign on the dotted line.