Congratulations- you’re buying your first house! That is a huge step in any adult’s life, and a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you don’t have any idea what to look for when buying your first home, or want to double-check the inspection results for yourself, read on.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist of everything a first-time homebuyer should be on the lookout for to prevent mishaps or insurance issues further down the line. You can have your home inspected by a professional who went to home inspection school to make sure that your home is completely inspected in and out. However, we’ve divided inspection-lists for you, so you can check off the list as you walk through the house yourself.
- Shingles – The shingles should be uniform and not curling up. If they look curled up, it could be a sign of damage and wear.
- Flashing/trim – Although the trim and flashing are mostly for aesthetic purposes, check for damage.
- When was it last replaced?– Roofs are supposed to be replaced every 20-25 years to protect the house. Knowing how long ago your roof was replaced will go a long way in mitigating unexpected costs down the road.
- Check for leaks or damage to the gutters.
- Wall coverings
- Look for cracks, damage or even aesthetic issues like chipping paint.
- Check the framing and the door itself.
- Look for damage and check the structural support.
- If it is safe, look at the crawl space.
- Check for cracks, sinking or other signs of structural damage.
- Simply look for damage, corrosion or sinking that could be dangerous. This only applies if your new home has concrete walkways.
- Lawn irrigation– Check if there is any lawn irrigation and if it works properly. Sometimes lawnmowers can cause damage to the heads, so mark out any damage with some flags.
- Grading and drainage– The grading or slope of the garden should direct drainage away from the house to prevent flooding.
- Landscaping–Look for wood-eating pests such as termites or louse, so take the time to check all the trees and bushes for fungi, insects and other evidence of decay.
- Check the walls, floors, windows and ceilings for cracks, mildew, mold, animal droppings, stains etc.
- Learn which walls are load-bearing and which are not, if you plan to do any renovation.
- Learn if there has ever been flooding or fire in the home.
- The best way to check this is with your nose. Are there any strange smells?
- Check that the heating and cooling systems work properly and make a note of when the HVAC was last replaced.
- Take your time to check every switch and outlet in the house.
- Look at the electrical panel.
- If possible, bring in an electrician to check the wiring and update it if necessary.
- Check the water pressure in all the taps, showers and toilets.
- Check the water heater.
- Check the drains and any pipes for corrosion or blockage.
- Inspect the appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and stove tops, so pay close attention to the appliances and their lifespan.
- Peel up the carpets.
- Move furniture, plants, etc.
Although you should plan to have a certified home inspector come join you on the day, we’ve highlighted several must-check areas so that you’re aware of what to look for. If necessary, bring in other professionals such as electricians and plumbers for a proper evaluation as well. Although it is a lot of work, it could save you thousands in the long run.