Looking at purchasing a home? Out in the market with you Realtor looking at potential homes to possibly buy? Even new homes may have hidden problems. A quick walk around the potential home you may purchase can save you a lot of time and potential money before putting a contract on a home.
Here are a few tips from American Residential Inspections:
- The Foundation: Take a walk around the outside of the home. Look for large stress cracks on the outside brick walls and/or slab. Stand at the corner of the home and pay close attention to the brick grout line running the span of the all. Do you notice a curve or bow on the brick line? Walk around the inside of the home and pay close attention to the floors. Notice any slopes on the floor? Also, look at the top of the door seams and window casings. Notice any uneven door seams or stress cracks above the doors or windows? If you answered yes to any of these questions the home you are looking at may have a foundation problem.
- Drainage: While walking around the home make sure you see a natural drop off away from the home. Notice any low lying areas that may have an accumulation of rainwater during heavy rains? If so.... can these areas be corrected with extra dirt applied or French drains installed. Poor drainage around a home is the leading cause of foundation movement in Texas.
- The roof: Take a step back away from the home concentrating on the roof shingles and top ridge lines. Notice any shingle blow offs or any areas around vents or roof jacks that may leak during heavy rains? Sometimes on older roofs you can see shiny ends on the shingles; this is typically an indication that the roof has some age. Dark discolored area on the roof is also an indication of granule wear.
- Heating and A/C: Take a look at the outside a/c condenser. Does the unit appear to be level? Does it look very old and there might be a possibility of service and/or replacement needed? You can walk in the home and pay attention to all the vents. Do you notice dark dust around the vents or return air filter screens? This is sometimes an indication that the unit was not properly maintained and may also need to be serviced.
- Plumbing: Open all the water basin cabinets in the home. If you observed damaged cabinet floors this is an indication that a leak may be present. Walk around all the tubs and showers to observe the wood trim and adjacent walls. If you observe moisture damaged wood or floors in these areas that may also be a leak. If available check the water pressure at ALL fixtures. Check the toilets and flush to assure proper operation.
- Electrical: Take another quick trip around the home to assure that all lights and ceiling fans turn on. Check to make sure that receptacles are present in convenient locations.
Taking note and applying these tips while you are looking at homes can save you a lot of time and grief. After you choose a home always hire a qualified home inspector to do a thorough inspection of the property. Sometimes hidden items can only be uncovered by a qualified professional.