Whether it’s for the first time or not, buying a house is a risky business. If the house for sale is over ten years old, there might be some hidden skeletons in its closet. The home inspection checklist below might serve as a first guide.
1. Visit at daylight
Ideally, you arrange to visit the house for sale at bright daylight, so you can see if there is enough light coming in in every part of the house and you may better notice potential weaknesses or damages.
2. Check the orientation of the house
Mind the direction in which the house is built, so you can predict where the light comes in at every part of the day. You might enjoy a sunny morning in the kitchen, and a bright afternoon in the living room. If the house has a garden, do check whether it is directed to the south (west), so you can enjoy a sunny day in the garden till late in the afternoon.
3. Bring a torchlight
Always take a torchlight with you when you visit a house for sale, so you can have a look at dark corners like the cellar or the attic. Also have a good look behind sofas, beds, furniture, curtains and carpets.
4. Knock on wood
Check wooden beams for woodworms. The best way to do that is to bring a sharp object, like a key or screwdriver, to inspect the holes. You can also knock on the wood with your hands. If the wood is soft or the sound is dull, that probably means bad news.
5. Check the walls
Check the walls from the inside and outside for cracks. A house adjusts to its underground after a period of time. This might result in a few cracks here and there, that are not dangerous for the construction of the house. If, however, you notice long cracks in the walls that don’t follow the lines of the bricks, they might indicate that there is a serious problem with the house’s construction.
6. Check the roof
The quality of the roof is an important factor in the quality of the overall house for sale, as it protects the rest of the construction from moisture. If the house has a flat roof, check whether the water drains well. Moss on the roof is a bad sign. Make sure you also check to what extend the house is insulated.
7. Ask for help
Once you found the house of your dreams and you consider buying it, you might hire a building expert for a complete check-up of the house, or you might ask a friend with you who knows about buildings. It is also a good idea to ask an architect to come along if you have big renovation plans.