When you’re ready to buy a house, you probably have a number of features you would prefer the house to have. There are several other things to look for as you view a home. It’s a good idea to take a checklist or a notepad – after looking at several homes, it may be difficult to remember the characteristics of any one. Here is a list of the basics:
Plumbing – Check the water in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Turn on the taps to assess the pressure. Make sure the water is clean. Look at the hot water tank. Is it big enough to supply all the water your family needs? Check the tank for leaks, rust and any signs of age or wear.
Foundation – Check for cracks in walls. Open and shut all doors – a sticking door may indicate subsidence. Take along a flashlight and be wary of rooms that are poorly lit as they may be hiding something. Stand away from the house and look at the structure for any bowed walls or sagging roof areas.
Water Damage – On the lowest floor of the house, feel the inside walls for dampness. Look for peeling, bubbling paint, watermarks and mold. Visit the house during or just after rain. Does the ground slope away from the base of the house? Are the gutters, downspouts and pipes in good condition?
Windows – Open and shut all windows to make sure they slide easily. Look at the frames to make sure there is no wood rot. Do all windows have screens that are in good shape? Is the hardware in good condition? Make sure bedroom windows are large enough in case you would need to use them to escape a fire.
Here are some amenities you should note that will help you compare before you buy a house:
Storage – Note all closets, crawl spaces and outdoor storage such as sheds.
Electrical – Are there enough electrical outlets in each room? Does each room have an overhead light?
Tile and grout – Check the bathroom, kitchen floors, and walls for loose tiles and crumbling grout.
Kitchen space – If appliances will not be left behind, make sure yours will fit. Take along a tape measure. If you want to add something like a dishwasher, is there room?
Insulation – Attics should have a minimum of R-19 insulation in a moderate climate and up to R-38 in colder ones. To check for the type and thickness of insulations, remove an electric outlet cover on a perimeter wall.
Fireplace – Check to make sure the flue works, opening and closing easily. Is there a fireplace screen or grate? Is the fireplace lined with terra cotta or firebrick? Has it been maintained?
Outside – Inspect decks, sheds, and unattached garages for structural integrity. Pay special attention to foundations and crawl spaces underneath. Check for cracks in any cement work, steps and walkways. Cracks in the driveway may indicate a drainage problem.