Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home inspection is a big part of setting a reasonable cost for a real estate transaction. Knowing the condition of a home allows you to determine that home’s worth, as well as the likely cost of repairs necessary to return the home to pristine condition. Usually a professional certified inspector completes the home inspection, but it’s possible to get a generalized idea about the state of a home by doing an inspection yourself. Results will vary according to the complexity of any problems noted during the inspection, but attention to detail and knowledge as to what you should be looking for can give you a good idea as to the condition of the home.
- Print out an inspection checklist containing all the areas you need to look at. As you perform your home inspection, check each item off your list. Leave space beneath each item for making notes as to the condition of the items checked off. A link to an example checklist is listed in the Resources section.
- Move closer to the home and check for wear and tear on the exterior. Look for any water-damaged areas indicated by discoloration, rotting wood or darkened paint in water collection areas like windowsills or doorjambs, or along the drainage line of the roof. Check that any siding on the home runs straight and level, without any bulges or looseness. Examine brick walls for missing or damaged bricks and any flaking mortar between the bricks in place. Examine the foundation as well, checking for cracks or sagging.
- Check the fittings of the windows and doors for any looseness. A loose opening not only brings in higher energy bills but also may indicate a costly replacement in the near future. Make sure windows and doors align correctly in their fittings and that they open and close smoothly.
- Check the plumbing in the home for any signs of corrosion or for dripping water. Check that the fixtures are operating correctly by turning them on and testing them. The water pressure should be consistent throughout the house. Any weak water pressure from a fixture indicates a problem with the plumbing that can require repair work.
- Test the wiring of the home. Turn on and off lights as you progress through the rooms, and check for visible damage to the outlets that can indicate electrical problems. Check the breaker box as well for any obvious damage such as scorching. Examine the heating and air-conditioning systems for age and damage.
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