If you are thinking of buying a home, you should make sure you take this decision seriously. It is a huge investment and may be the house you end up spending the rest of your life in. When you do inspect a home, there are many different things you need to take into consideration and look for. It is your responsibility to ensure that you inspect the home thoroughly, to look for flaws or structural issues with the home or other issues that may become bigger problems down the line.
When you inspect the home, there are a handful of typical problems that you need to especially look for. If you fail to notice these and subsequently purchase the house, then you are going to most likely be responsible for the repairs or necessary changes. There are other things that may be harder to find visually, and real estate agents sometimes go out of their way to conceal any faults or problems because they are desperate to sell the house. This is why it is paramount that you take as much time as you need when you are going through the house in order to make sure that you cover as much ground as you can. Our article covers some of the most common problems to look for, as well as ways that you can look for signs of these in your potential new home.
What Should I Look for Inside the House?
When you are inside the house, there are a handful of things you need to check in every room, as they may vary from place to place and can also be very inconvenient if they are not functional. This includes structural features like lights and the wiring of the house. Is anything exposed that should not be exposed? Do the lights actually work, if you switch them on and off? Ensure that you also check the taps in the rooms that have them and other types of plumbing. It is also a good idea to flush the toilets, for example.
Your eyes are not the only resource at your disposal when it comes to inspecting homes. There may be issues inside the house that you won’t be able to see, but you may actually be able to smell. Damp and mold are good examples of these. Even if you cannot see any signs of damp or mold, make sure you pay attention to any smells you might notice, especially if they are unusual or seem foul somehow. These can be clear signs of mold or damp, and both of these problems can be quite difficult to get rid of. Mold can actually be dangerous to your health if you inhale it in large quantities, which is why it is so important that you do not ignore these signs, if you notice them.
The structure of the home is of key importance, and there are other features you should look for, as these can indicate a serious problem with the structure of the house. For example, if there are big cracks in the ceiling or walls, especially if they stretch across the entirety of the surface, this can indicate some fundamental flaws with the building, which might potentially cause it to collapse in a worst-case scenario. If the cracks are big enough that you can fit a dime in them, then they may indicate a serious problem with the integrity of the house. You also need to make sure to have a good look at the flooring, as faults here can also be potentially dangerous or seriously troublesome if they need to be repaired.
You also need to look up from time to time. This is something that some people forget, but ceilings in homes can also have serious structural problems, and if they are left for too long, they can potentially lead to a collapse. The beams are a great indicator of the integrity of the roofing, so make sure to look at them and see if you can spot any places where there is sagging or unevenness. No roof or ceiling is likely to be perfectly straight, but if there is a sag or curvature in the ceiling, then this can definitely be a cause for concern. Dark spots on the ceiling may also be an indicator of leaking water, which can cause the beams to buckle over time and potentially also lead to a collapse.
Another thing to pay attention to is how your house and the neighbors’ houses are situated and how much privacy you can potentially have inside your home. Some houses are closely surrounded by neighboring buildings, and as such, you may often find that people are able to see into your home if you do not cover the windows. This can be quite inconvenient or uncomfortable, especially if it is something that bothers you. As such, you need to make sure that you consider this and have a look through the windows in each room, making note of how well you can see into neighboring buildings, if at all.
When you go into the bathroom, you should make sure that everything in there is functional. Something that people often forget to check for when they inspect a house is how long the hot water takes to come out of the shower and how the water pressure is. Make sure you inspect the shower thoroughly and also look for other features which are useful, like power sockets and where they are located in the room. Some people also especially want a bath, which not every house has, so if this is something that is important to you, then make sure you prioritize this.
Something that is very useful to have in a home is ample storage space, for keeping things that you need but do not necessarily have room or use for in the main part of the house. See if the house has a loft, basement, or some other area used primarily for storage. Inspect these areas and see if there is enough room for you to store the things that you might need to move into the house with you. Some of these spaces can be quite difficult to access depending on the structure of the house, so take this into consideration as well, especially if you anticipate that you are going to be going in and out of that part of the house very often.
What Should I Look for Outside the House?
Going outside the house gives you a better opportunity to look for structural features of the house, as well as inspecting the overall quality of the property itself. For example, the property may have a garden. This is something you should look at in order to see the health of the plants and how much maintenance it might end up requiring. It is also important to consider what direction the property faces, as this influences how much sun the plants in the garden end up getting. Some gardens may also require quite a lot of upkeep if they have plants that are especially tricky to take care of.
You should also have a good look at the roof while you are outside. While the roof may not be completely straight or symmetrical on a normal house, there are still some red flags that you should look out for. For example, if the chimney is not straight, then this is often a sign of a structural problem with the house. You should also have a look at the gutters and drains on the house and surrounding it. See if they are clear or if there seems to be any obstructions. This is especially useful if it is raining, as you can have a look to see if the water is flowing clearly or if there seems to be an issue with it.
What Questions Should I Ask?
It is not always possible to find everything out on your own when inspecting a house. You may therefore need to ask the agent or whomever is showing you the house a series of questions, in order to get the best possible understanding of the condition of the house before you purchase it. For example, something that is very important to know is how frequently the gas and/or boiler in the house has been inspected, as these features can be quite dangerous if they are not regularly maintained. You should also ask about any alarms the house may have installed, as these security features can be vitally important, depending on the area that the house is in.
There are also some other considerations that you should make while you are inspecting the house. Most people nowadays need some form of mobile phone coverage and internet access, but not all areas support this, and coverage may be patchy where the house you are looking at is located. As such, you should check your phone to see if you have coverage with your carrier where you are and see if there is some way that you can check for internet coverage in the area too. If you would like to have a TV set up in the home, then ask about what connections currently exist, if any.
Do Your Research Too!
It may not always be possible to get the full picture of what it can be like to live in a certain area just by visiting the home. You should also do some research into the area and most likely inspect it before you think about moving in. For example, if you are going to take public transport to work in the mornings, then you need to ensure that you get some idea of how easy or difficult this might be for you. You should also look into other features of the area, like local amenities and the crime rate. If you have children, then you may want to ensure that you move into an area with good access to parks or playgrounds or that is near their school. This way, you can make sure that you find something that is the best possible fit for your whole family.