Viewing the property is among the most important steps in shopping around for a new home. As with trying on clothes to see their fit, or test-driving a car, home inspection is a means by which the buyer determines whether it is the right fit for himself, his lifestyle, and his budget.
A home has many elements and facets, and often, one will need to remind himself of the telling details to look for when walking through the home. Certified home inspectors exist to offer sound evaluations of the construction quality, but as a homebuyer, take note of the following when you're viewing the property.
Look for broken or missing windowpanes and shingles. Look closely at the gutters to see whether they seem secure. Check the walls, door, and trimmings for cracks and other damage.
Check for cracks and shifts at the base of the walls and on the ceiling in every room.
Check the ceiling for discolorations. These patches, often mottled brown or gray in color, indicate leaks in the roof. Check for puddles on the floor, as well, especially under sinks and in the bathroom.
Take note of what you smell, and not just what you can see. Does the home smell musty, dank, grimy, or unclean in any way? See to these issues, and whether eliminating the smell is a matter of cleaning up the property, or whether the smells are a symptom of an infrastructural problem.
Check whether the switches and their corresponding lights work. Take note of the electrical outlets and whether they look updated.
Check the water as well. Open faucets and showers; flush the toilet. Take note of water pressure and cleanliness. Be wary of any strange noises that the plumbing may make.
In a furnished or semi-furnished home, check the condition of the appliances. Take note of any rust. Ask the owner how old the appliances are and whether there have been any functional issues with them in the past.
Heating and/or cooling.
Check the home's heating or cooling system. Does it work, is it efficient, and does it suffice for the size and type of the property? Ask after how old the furnace or the air-conditioner is.
Attic, basement, garage.
Don’t forget to inspect these spaces, as well. Check the basement for any dampness; the attic for leaks. Make sure the garage provides the space that you need.