Home Inspection Checklist for First Time Buyers

Neighborhood Spotlight: Swansea
March 2, 2015
Neighborhood Spotlight: Villa Park
March 9, 2015

Home Inspection Checklist for First Time Buyers

Owning a home is big responsibility. It is a large investment and the homeowner is responsible for all the maintenance issues. So, when you are looking into purchasing a home, make sure to do a thorough inspection before purchasing it. If any major issues go unrecognized, you may end up spending a lot of money to repair them.

PERSONAL INSPECTION

A personal inspection will help you identity issues to mention to the professional inspector. Here are some important things to take notice of.

Foundation and Lot
Look for obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation and look to see if there are any trees encroaching on the foundation. When checking out the lot, look to see if the drainage goes away from the house. You can do a quick eye test by looking for any obvious soggy areas around the house.

Roof
The roof is responsible for over one third of all homeowner’s insurance claims. A leaky roof, can lead to all sorts of problems. For example, dampness and mold growth caused by a roof leak will threaten your home’s structural soundness, as well as your physical health.

Paint and Siding
Look for peeling paint and signs of rotted wood. Paint is meant to protect wood surfaces. It’s common to find rotted wood siding when the paint job is not kept up. Rotting wood on the outside of a home can be responsible for water intrusion. If moisture is allowed to creep into house, it can cause walls to rot and destroy the house’s basic structure.

Gutter Systems
Gutters divert water away from the the home. They need to be securely fastened, clean, and clog-free. Poor quality or poorly installed gutters will cause leaks and eventual water damage. It’s important that the gutters are in top condition.

Windows and Ceilings
Check for signs of leaking water inside the house around windows and ceilings. Leaking water into the home can cause mold and other structural issues.

Appliances
Look at the age and condition of the dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, etc.

Plumbing
Find out whether the waste goes to a municipal sewer or a specific septic tank. If your home is equipped with a septic tank, find out where it’s located and when it was last emptied and/or serviced. Leakage or odor surrounding the septic tank is evidence of a septic problem. Also, make sure that the kitchen and bathroom faucets, as well as toilet and shower, are in working condition and free of noticeable leaks.

Electrical
Any electrical issues can be a huge headache. Look for exposed wiring, outdated breakers, flickering lights, overheating switch plates or outlet covers and other signs of electrical problems.

Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems have evolved over the years. The more complicated or outdated the system, the more expensive it is to maintain and repair. For example, the cost of a new furnace, including duct work, can run between $5,000 and $7,000.

Basement
Look for signs of water damage, dampness, flooding or if there is adequate insulation in the home’s basement.

Odor
Is there an odor in the house? Musty odors could signal a wet basement, etc. and is a red flag for mold damage.

PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION

Once you’ve assessed the home, you can then hire a professional inspector to cover any areas that you may have missed. Ask the inspector how long they have been performing inspections, if you will receive a detailed written report, and what type of certifications they have. During the inspection, you should follow the inspector around the home to ask questions and take notes.

Additional Testing
The usual inspection does not include additional testing for things like radon gas, house mold, lead paint, pest infestations, etc. If you or the inspector feel like these issues may exist in the home, contact a specialist for testing.