One of the biggest (and most important) steps in buying any home, whether it’s your first or fourth, is the home inspection. This step in the home buying process brings in a professional contractor/ house inspector and allows you to get a better understanding of the condition of the home. And while these professionals have years of experience and training looking for things the average home-buyer wouldn’t think to look for or even know what they’re looking at, there are still many things an untrained eye can spot. Continue reading below for a list of home issues you can detect without the need for a home inspector.
While reading, keep in mind that every house purchase should include a home inspection by a professional. While the things below are issues that are easily spotted, a professional will be able to assess the rest of the home and find things that the average person never would.
The second you arrive at a house you should not only be looking at its curb appeal but also its roof condition too. While a home inspector will be able to accurately assess the state of the roof by climbing up onto it, you can also spot problems with the roof from down below too. In particular, you’ll want to look for missing shingles, shingles that don’t lay flat and even any holes in the roof. These are the most apparent roof problems to spot and are easily detected from the ground without the need for a home inspector or roofing professional.
Moving inside the house, as you tour from room to room, you should pay close attention to what you see and even hear in rooms with plumbing (bathrooms and kitchen). This is because if you can hear water dripping, it may be a sign of problems with the plumbing. I also strongly encourage you to look under every sink for signs of dripping water or any other plumbing problems that might be easily spotted. It’s also important to inspect the floor or base of the vanity underneath sinks and toilets as they too can show signs of past plumbing problems. The water may not be dripping anymore, but if the proper steps weren’t followed when fixing the problem the first time, there could be issues lying beneath the floor or base that could cost you money.
And if you’re thinking to yourself “I don’t want to look silly”, toss that thought out the window. Buying a house is the biggest purchase someone can make in their life and is not the time to worry about your appearance. Focus on checking all the boxes of your mental checklist so that you can feel confident and comfortable purchasing the home.
If you’ve ever been in an older home, you may have noticed that some doors or windows don’t like to open or shut completely. This can sometimes be the result of the shifting of older homes, but it can also sometimes mean foundation problems. This is why it’s essential to test every door you see when touring a home. And if the house you’re looking at has a basement, I also recommend venturing down and taking a look. If it’s unfinished, you should be able to inspect the foundation walls for any signs of cracks or damage that could cause severe problems down the road.
As the home ages, water damage becomes more and more likely. It can often start in areas like the roof and under sinks and toilets as we mentioned above, but it can quickly spread to other areas as well. For instance, the water damage that comes in through the roof could show signs on interior walls with water streaks or bubbling on the ceiling or walls. In the bathroom and under the kitchen sink, water damage will typically cause the floor or base of the vanity to feel “soft” and if the vanity is made using a material like particleboard, it could cause it to expand and the edges to flair. Keep your eyes peeled as you move through each room in the house and pay close attention to the areas listed above for signs of water damage.
As you move back outdoors, if the house you’re viewing has wood siding or a deck, take a close look for wood rot. Everything from the structural part of decks and the deck boards themselves to the entire exterior of the house and even exterior doors. Wood rot will sometimes show itself in very apparent ways— like missing sections of boards, but it can also be somewhat hidden and only noticed by feeling the wood for “soft” spots.
Those are just five of the things you can look for when touring a potential new home. And while in a perfect world, your new home will be in excellent condition, it’s important not to dismiss a house based solely on these things. Doing work on a house before moving in is not unheard of, and it can sometimes be a way to move into the location that you want while saving a little money. Often, repair costs can be negotiated into the selling price of a home or the seller may be willing to complete the repairs before turning the house over to you. And as I mentioned above, only by having a professional home inspector walk through the house will you be able to understand the actual cost of work that needs to be done now and slightly into the future. What may look like water damage to you, may only be a bad paint job. A professional home inspector is hired by you, and so they are on your side when it comes to spotting potential damage. They are not invested in the home, nor do they care if it sells or not, and so I urge every potential buyer to complete a home inspection before purchasing their next home.
If you have any questions regarding anything above or would like a home inspector recommendation, I encourage you to reach out to me by phone, email or on social media. I would be more than happy to help you in your search for your next home.