When you go to inspect a home as a potential buyer, you need to know how things will function and affect your day-to-day life as well as your bank account.
Complete these five preliminary tests as you inspect a home you’re looking to buy, and you will have a better idea if the home is right for you and in good condition.
1. Faucets and Toilets
Plumbing is something that is typically covered by a home inspection, but the individual condition of each fixture might not turn up. In each bathroom and in the kitchen, turn on all faucets and flush all toilets.
You can do the following:
- watch water pressure
- feel how easy it is to turn on and turn off
- test hot and cold temperatures
- time how long a complete flush takes
Look under sinks and behind toilets to see any evidence of leaks, rust or mold. These problems can be solved, but they may be expensive and time-consuming job – and not everyone is fully committed to purchasing a fixer upper as their next home.
2. Windows and Doors
As you move through the home, you should look for a sense of good natural lighting in most rooms. You’ll need to test the windows, as well. Each room requires windows and doors that are easy to open and close, with locking functions.
The last thing you want is a door that either will not stay closed or gets stuck when closed. Confirm that all exterior, interior, and closet doors are all in working order. Look for evidence of gaps around exterior door frames as well, because air leaks can compromise your HVAC efficiency and indoor air quality.
It is fairly common for a home seller to replace flooring not long before selling. This means you get some new flooring, but you need to make sure you are getting a worthwhile investment. For hardwood floors, ask how long ago the flooring was installed. If it was less than a couple of years, ask how long the hardwood was allowed to acclimatize before it was installed. Hardwood that is poorly acclimatized may warp over time.
New carpets are great, but may hide trouble underneath the surface in some cases. Some sellers do not replace the carpet pad when they replace carpet, which can bring old stains to a new surface, so you may want to ask when the carpet pad was replaced.
4. Heating and Cooling
Another thing you won’t want to discover after buying a home is that the HVAC equipment does not work very well in the dead of winter or in the heat of summer. Ask to see the thermostat and test how the system works.
Central air systems are generally fairly easy to switch between heat and cold, and you should inquire about doing just that. Feel vents in each room for signs that the heated or cooled air is coming through appropriately. Ask how old the furnace and air conditioner are, and for evidence of regular maintenance.
5. Property Grade
When you look at the exterior property, you may focus a lot on the condition of landscaping and exterior buildings. However, there is one more task you must complete, and that is to inspect the grade of the lot. Most lots have a fairly minor grade, but it should, in almost all cases, lead away from the home.
Lots that are improperly graded put the home at risk for flooding, particularly if there is a basement. If there is a significant grade up or down on one side of the lot, confirm that the existing landscaping serves as an adequate retaining wall.
Inspect a Home Yourself, then get a Proper Home Inspection
A home inspection is designed to bring up the larger concerns in a home. Before you get to that stage, you can investigate homes in questionable condition with this simple checklist. Afterwards, you can decide if you would rather move on to the next house, or find a way to negotiate with the seller.