Buying a home can be both exciting and frustrating. Before starting your home search, you need to develop a checklist of amenities that are a must, and nice to have. Part of your checklist should include a visual inspection of important areas within the house prior to making an offer. Following are areas within a house that need an inspection:
· Foundation: Inspect for major cracks in the foundation and outside walls of the house. Cracks can be caused by certain types of soil which the home is built on, trees either too close to the structure or wrong type of tree near the home, and lack of water near the foundation. Also inspect for open gaps between foundation and ground. This is an indication there has not been sufficient watering near the foundation of the house. With gaps, this opens up the possibility of house movement. When you see cracks in the foundation inspect the interior of house for cracks in ceiling and/or walls, doors and windows not working or sealed properly. Finally, all cracks within a home, does not mean there is foundation problems. All homes will have some minor cracks, and that is normal.
· Electrical: Most of the electrical lights and outlets will need to be inspected an inspector. As a home buyer you may be able verify GFCI Circuit Breakers exist in the following areas: kitchen and bathroom sink areas and garage. Also verify if electrical switches and lights are working correctly. Sometimes these switches are switch around, or have a strange type of switch.
· Roof: During your tour of the property do a visual inspection from the ground looking for damage on the roof. Also, look for damage in the chimney area, and gutters. Try to determine if there is proper drainage away from the house. While looking at the roof view the trees surrounding the house, and try to determine if tree limbs are too close to the roof. As homeowner, you want shade, but at the same time, you do not want tree limbs that damage the roof, and creates too much shade that kills out the grass in the lawn.
· Air conditioner and furnace: Visually check air filters, furnace, and outside A/C unit to determine if the units are receiving clean air. The outside A/C unit should not be surrounded by anything; this includes, trees, and scrubs, etc. Verify the temperature is comfortable on the inside of the home, no matter what season of the year.
· Termites: Look at the foundation to see if there is any dirk paths that lead from the ground to interior of the home. This is an excellent sign that termites may exist within the house. Other sign are conductive conditions for wood eating insects, such as: shrubbery within 3 inches of house, and wood fence is within 1 inch of the structure.
· Water leaks: Check all kitchen, bathroom cabinets, showers, doors, ceilings for evidence of prior water damage.
· Neighborhood: Recommend driving the neighborhood at least 3 different times of the day to determine if you like the neighborhood. In addition, talk to people living in the immediate area to get their opinions of the neighborhood.
After performing all of the tasks, you should be a position to make a decision to purchase or not to purchase the property. If you make an offer, and it is accepted, then you need to hire a professional inspector to get a third party opinion of the property.