Buying a home is both a joyous and stressful time. The excitement of looking at different homes and exploring different neighborhoods with your realtor can quickly give way to feelings of overwhelm or stress when you’re suddenly in escrow for your dream home.
This is a time when many people rely on their real estate agent to guide them through the process but you will also feel better knowing what major things to look for when purchasing a home.
For starters, I strongly suggest you bring in an independent inspector to give you a detailed report of the property. The inspector is going to look out for your priorities because you are the one he is contracted with. This means you can give them a list of items you want them to be extra thorough about during the process.
Once you have this in place, you want the inspector to look closely and spot any potential issues with the following high-ticket items: Roofing, Plumbing, Electrical, and the Foundation.
When inspecting your roof, make sure they make note of the condition of the roofing materials, eaves, areas around the chimney and dormers and areas around any skylights if there are any. In addition, you want to make sure the inspector peeks into the attic to look for any signs of water damage or moisture. This will provide clues about whether or not there are any problems with the roof. Depending on the type of roofing material used, you’ll want to make sure they look at the wear and tear of the roofing material. Ask about whether or not they spotted any missing or damaged shingles as this may be a sign that it is time for a roof replacement or that the roof has been damaged by a recent storm.
The next item your inspector should closely scrutinize are the electrical components of the house. Electrical wiring deteriorates over time. Not only this, but codes and standards are always developing as the technology improves. Hiring an inspector that can spot these issues can save you a lot of heartache in the future. You want the inspector to look for any outdated electrical components as well as any wiring that needs to be updated or replaced. You also want them to take a look at the electrical panel and every single outlet in the house.
Plumbing is also a major area you want your inspector to investigate. While most homes have updated plumbing, it is best to verify this. Even with updated plumbing other problems can exist, since many homeowners opt to “fix” plumbing problems on their own. This means, there may be patchwork plumbing on the fixtures in the home. Another major area to consider when it comes to plumbing is the main sewer line to the home. Ideally, you want someone that can run a camera through the line to see if there are any impending issues such as tree roots or clogs that may damage the line.
Lastly, you want to make sure that the foundation of your home is structurally sound. Some signs of problems with your foundation are sloping floors, cracks on the walls of the home, any joints or door jams that are uneven or separating as well as cracks to the exterior of the home. You want to get as much information about any of these problems because it may be a sign that there is a big problem with the foundation of the house.
With the right home inspector on your side, you can feel safe about buying a house that won’t have hidden issues.