Oh, it’s a journey. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or made a hobby out of property investment, finding that perfect piece of land that checks all the boxes is laborious. The real estate market may be our oyster, but finding that one pearl is rare (1 in 10,000 if we’re talking real oyster pearls; scientific fact). Luckily for us, the real estate market reality is not that bleak. “Seek, and you shall find” – it’s all it takes. A little time and a keen eye for detail. Plus a checklist. Easy does it. Let’s walk through our home inspection checklist for buyers and get you closer to saying, “I do.”
Home inspection 101
You’re in the driveway, approaching what could be your forever home. The real estate broker awaits. The shade is just right, and the breeze swings the silver maple while the lawn is mowed sublimely. You haven’t gotten out of your car yet, but you’re in love. The broker is a natural-born charmer, and you’ve always wanted that mantelpiece. The hardwood floors are shiny and new; you smell the residue of fresh-painted walls, and so it happens, it’s the right tone. The layout is perfect, and you think to yourself: “I have found the one.” Well, here’s a counteract aphorism: “All that glitters is not gold.” Or, as Shakira would say: “Underneath your clothes, there’s an endless story.” Let’s tread carefully.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But unless you have an X-ray vision, beauty is all you will see. We all appreciate and look for a pleasing cosmetic appearance of the property’s exterior/interior. Still, as buyers, you’re there to shake hands with the good, the bad, and the ugly, assess, and make the final call. After a professional home inspection, there are only two scenarios: 1. This is the one. 2. Let me see other properties for sale.
What it all means
A home inspection conducted by a professional differs significantly from an appraisal. A home inspector is like a bloodhound with his checklist, knowing exactly where and what to look for to unveil any potential hidden damage. Safety and functionality are their priority. An appraiser’s job is to cover the property’s aesthetics and assess its market value. First-time buyers usually look for move-in-ready homes, not time-consuming project-riddled properties. The following checklist is all you’ll need before shaking hands and signing the papers.
Covering the grounds and structure
Foundation is the focal point of any property. And we want it straight. The home inspector will look for any signs of cracks. If there is any greenery near the foundation, they will pay close attention to the ground and whether it seems sunken. The home inspection checklist for buyers also includes:
- Drainage functionality – signs of standing water
- The sides of the property appear straight – not sagging or bowed
- Windows and door frames have preserved a square appearance
- Bricks appear to be in good shape – no joint cracks
- No flaking on the exterior painting
- Exterior structures (detached garages, sheds, decks, fences) show no sign of rotting wood or termite damage
- Chimneys are straight with no signs of damage
Your property’s roof health is equivalent to its foundation. The roof keeps the whole structure safe from harm. (and the people living under it) Roof repairs are notoriously costly; that’s why any professional home inspector will pay special attention to them.
- Tiles and shingles: not missing and no evidence of damage
- Wood: no signs of decay or any termite damage
- Metal: as sturdy as they are, there shouldn’t be any evidence of rust
There are many common mistakes first-time home buyers make when deciding on a property. To stay ahead of potential mishaps, we highly recommend getting a professional home inspection for your peace of mind. Knowing where to look and what to look for calls for a trained eye.
Attic and basement
Know that the basement’s right on top of your foundation, and the attic’s right under your roof – which is why these are the two most important features of any property. The attic is your roof’s underbelly, so the inspector will check its underside, look for any water damage, and ensure the insulation is properly installed. Ductwork, plumbing, and wiring will all be on the list, with special attention to electrical joints’ condition. The basement requirements are similar: no evidence of water leakage, no cracks in the foundation, and no signs of wear and tear regarding any wooden structure.
Plumbing and systems
Your home inspector will check all the pipes and taps, ensuring that there is no evidence of rust, leaks, or damaged parts, ensuring the hot water system functions properly. As for heating, electrical panels, heaters, and wiring will all be inspected. The electrical system will also be assessed. Your inspector will make sure the voltage requirements are up to standard. As for safety systems, the seller might be asked to test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
One of the biggest pros of hiring a professional for your home inspection is room for negotiating the property price if it unveils any concerning issues.
● Floors, walls, and ceiling – no signs of water damage or cracks
● Lights, outlets, and fan functionality will be checked in every room
● Windows and doors should show no signs of water damage or rot, opening, closing, and locking as expected, without sticking or rubbing the surfaces.
● All the appliances are checked for usability.
Kitchen and bathroom
The inspector will test the functionality of the drawers and cabinets and look for any potential damage to the woodwork, countertops, and tiles. The garbage disposal should be operational. They will check for adequate water flow (also, pressure for hot and cold water) and ensure the exhaust fans are working correctly. The inspector will also look for any leakage issues in and around the tub, shower, or toilet, with each drain fully examined. Toilet flushing and filling are also on the list.
It all comes down to
Knowing your property’s potential secrets. The home inspection checklist for buyers is in your hands now, and you get to decide whether to DIY or call an expert on the subject. Whatever you do, be well-informed before making the final call.