When buying a house, a home inspection can help uncover a lot of problems or give you peace of mind that you're making a great investment. That's not done until after you've made an offer, so it's important to remember to check a few small but important items with every house you look at. You'll be able to get a better idea of exactly what you're getting into before you make an offer.
As you're looking at your potential new home, don't forget you're also buying into the neighborhood, and all the noise that may come with it. Go out in the back yard and stand quietly. Do you hear traffic? Trains? Noisy neighbors? Is the noise (if any) at a level you can live with day after day?
Sure, the stainless steel oven looks lovely – but what's lurking inside? Take a peek inside the appliances that are included with the house, such as the dishwasher and stove. Refrigerators are sometimes included, so check with your real estate agent to confirm. Once you buy the home, they're yours, so it's a good idea to see if they look clean and well-cared-for.
Don't forget to look up as you walk through your potential home. Cracks and water stains in the ceiling and walls can be indicators of water or structural damage. If the house has had a leak, keep in mind the potential for hidden mold. If you have any questions about a home's history of damage and the repairs made by the seller, your real estate agent can ask the seller's agent for more details.
A new furnace or air conditioner can set you back thousands of dollars, and a broken water heater is a huge inconvenience. Just because heating and cooling equipment is older doesn't mean it won't have many more years of life left, but it's a good idea to do a visual inspection and see if it all looks well-maintained.
Another possible big expense is replacing the roof, so take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage. Missing or loose shingles, hanging gutters and loose or missing flashing around chimneys and roof vents are all signs that the roof may need repair or replacement soon.
That master bedroom with wonderful windows is stunning, but what happens in the morning when the sun comes up? Will it be too bright? Considering where the sun will come into the home throughout the day will help you plan for sleeping, TV placements, window coverings and energy costs.
Of course, this list doesn't cover eveything, which is why it's a good idea to get a professional home inspection on the house you ultimately decide to buy.