GUEST BLOG | Congratulations on your decision to buy a house! We know that reaching this milestone takes a lot of effort and determination, which is why you should be proud of yourself. We also know that for so many people, especially those who are new to real estate, the prospect of buying a house can be quite terrifying. Nobody wants to buy a money pit, which is why we’ve put together this ultimate checklist for evaluating a house.
Before we begin, we must mention that even though this list is quite comprehensive, you must not rely on it alone when you’re evaluating a house. You will need a much more thorough inspection, which is why we highly recommend you hire a house inspector. Their training, expertise, and experience will prove vital to your purchase.
Begin with Your Must Haves
Everyone has a list of must haves for their future home, so begin with that. Maybe you simply can’t live without a skylight? Or a yard for your beloved lab! Make a list of 5-10 must haves and use it as your main guide.
There are four types of environmental hazards: chemical, physical, biological, and psychological. Here is what you will need to take into account when evaluating a house.
- Arsenic – a poisonous element which can be found in wallpaper, paint, and various pesticides
- Asbestos – asbestos coating can be present in the water heating, and on pipes.
- Heavy metals
- Herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides – are there any on the property
- Lead – under federal law, all houses offered for sale should be free of lead-based paint, but unfortunately, it is very common in older buildings.
- Radon –a radioactive gas that naturally occurs in the environment and tends to accumulate in buildings. It is highly carcinogenic.
- Noise pollution
- Air ventilation – poor indoor air quality has been linked to a condition called sick building syndrome, which includes symptoms such as headache, eye and throat irritation, fatigue, and nausea.
- Mold and mildew
- Stress – heavy traffic and sound pollution among some of the things that can cause stress.
- Violence – is the house located in a violent neighborhood?
- Accessibility – work, entertainment, shopping, airport, etc.
Exterior of the House
- Automatic doors - do they work?
- Drain pipes and gutters – any leaks? Does the water go away from or towards the house?
- Driveway – check for cracks. Ask about age.
- Exterior siding
- Fence, patio – check their condition.
- Landscape – are there trees on the property? Are they healthy? Are they too close to the house?
- Lot lines – compare the actual lot lines with the ones in the house papers
- Roof – inspect thoroughly. Are the shingles curling up?
- Windows – single or double pane?
- Yard – check its condition. Are there ants? Weeds? Do you like the size of it?
Interior of the House
- Carpet/flooring – does it need refinishing or replacing?
- Electrical sockets – are they grounded? When where they last replaced? Are they enough?
- Lighting – is there enough natural light in the house? Is there good overhead lighting?
- Mystery switches – do you flip and switch and it does nothing? Ask about that.
- Paint – do the walls need a fresh coat of paint?
- Walls – check for water damage, cracks, tap on them.
- Windows – do they open easily? Are they insulated?
- Appliances – are the heating, water heater, AC, etc. in working condition?
- Beams - thoroughly check condition of visible beams
- Cracks – pay extra attention to the cracks in the basement, they are a sign of shifting foundation which can lead to a plethora of issues, from flooding to windows not fitting properly.
- Electrical system – fuses or circuit breakers?
- Light – is there any natural light?
- Water damage – check for signs of water damage on the walls and ceiling.
- General condition
- Insulation – ask about insulation materials.
- Mold and mildew – while mold can be hidden in the house, the attic is where it will really be noticeable.
- Storage – can the attic be used for storage?
- Vermin – check signs of vermin in the attic, as well as throughout the house.
- Water damage – has the roof had any leaks? Has it ever needed repairing?
- Bathtub – stained, chipped, new, old, big enough?
- Color palette – will you want to repaint?
- Drains – are they clogged?
- Mold and mildew
- Plumbing – are the pipes old? Do they make any creaky sounds? Does the water come out rusty in the beginning?
- Shower – separate from the bathtub, shower curtain or glass door.
- Toilet – check the way it flushes. Does flushing the toilet affect the temperature of the shower and sink water?
- Wall tiles – chipped, old-fashioned?
- Water – is it hard water?
- Water pressure – check it in the bathroom, as well as the kitchen.
- Appliances – Check the fridge, microwave, dishwasher, oven, blender, etc. Are they included in the price of the house? Are they enough for you? Are they old? Still working? Do they need to be replaced?
- Countertops – stained, chipped, moldy, cut, scratched?
- Faucets – any dripping?
- Gas pipes – how old are they? Does the kitchen have a pilot light or ignition starter?
- Sink – chipped, dented, stained?
- Storage – does the kitchen have enough storage for you?
Naturally, you are free to customize this checklist to your own liking! If there is anything you would like us to add to the list, feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below!