Most Useful Checklist for a Do-It-Yourself Home Inspection

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home inspection is critical in determining a home’s worth as well as the likely cost of the repairs necessary. You might ask yourself if you can do your own home inspection, actually, you can. But it is not a good idea to conduct an inspection on your own. Although there are various books that can give you information on how you can save money and do your home inspection, there are plenty of things that you should get and follow.

They will suggest that you buy some basic tools at a hardware store and follow their step-by-step instructions for the evaluation of your potential home purchase. These books can educate you and help you find some problems that require repair in the house you are examining.

However, you have to bear in mind that these books can’t help you find every possible issue with a house, and most often, these are the critical defects that can make or break your home purchase. The biggest defects won’t show up directly right there in your face because some of them appear merely as a clue. In other words, they may be a subtle problem at first but they need to be examined or probed further.

It is best that you hire a professional home inspector since they have the expertise that a home buyer doesn’t have. Home inspectors have done thousands of home inspections and they already have a deeper experience and knowledge of home construction in which they can process every complete visual data of a house faster and more efficiently than a layperson. They have a full grasp for what to look for and have a mental catalog of the repeatedly issues common for each neighborhood.

It is not so obvious that a home inspector is not buying the house. You can be sure that the inspector is not as excited as you are when looking for a home and looking forward to moving in. They are not emotionally attached when examining a house. They keep everything objectively and they are just doing their job, which is a big advantage. So, doing a home inspection on your own is not really a good idea and we recommend hiring a professional home inspector.

But don’t be negative about it because, in this article, we are going to reveal a checklist that can help you look for in your first walk-through of a house if you are really eager to conduct one.

Pre-inspection checklist:

#1 Place yourself in front of the sight of the long side of the house along the highest point of the roof. Get something that has a convenient straight-edge such as a notebook or a flashlight up to it. If you find the ridge to be straight, then you are good. Worry if you find that there is a sagging in the middle or at the ends of the roof structures.

#2 Just roam around the home and inspect how the way the land slopes around it. You want the ground to slope away from the house, possibly slightly on all sides. Now, if you see that the lot slopes in only one direction, front to back, then make your way to examine for any gullies or washed-out areas under the foundation that can signal a possible undesirable water movement around the house when a heavy rain strikes.

#3 Examine the windows. You want a window that has a high insulating ability. Older insulated windows lose their inert gas between the panes which weaken their insulating ability. So, if you see any cracked or missing panes, you will know that the windows are ready for replacement.

#4 Inspect the visible surfaces of the roof from the ground. This might be one the hardest thing to examine unless you can get a closer view to the roof. If you see any deteriorated roof shingles it means that the roof is ready to be replaced. When an asphalt shingle roof ages, you would notice that the edges of the shingles begin to curl, first at the corners, then towards the middle. The edges can become brittle and break off. If you find more than one or two missing or damaged shingles, it indicates that the roof is old and needs repair or replacement.

#5 Make sure that the gutters are still working fine. If the house you are inspecting has rainwater gutters, that’s great. Having a gutter deflects water away from the foundation of the home, which reduces the erosion and rainwater splash-back onto the base of the walls. Take a look if they’re in good condition.

#6 Feel the condition of the exterior paint, how does it look like? If you notice that it looks powdery then go and wipe your hand across it. If there is paint powder in your hand then it’s a sign that the paint is old.

#7 Observe the walls and see if there are veins of dirt running up the interior or exterior walls and foundation piers, it indicates the presence of subterranean termite mud tubes—mini-tunnels they use to gain access to the wood in a house. Also, check for stains in the ceilings or around windows, this means that there can be water intrusion.

#8 Search for every door in the house because they determine the house with settlement problems. Make sure that the doors sit squarely in their frames. When you close the door, do you see the relationship between the top edge of the door and the bottom edge of the door frame above it? There should be a consistency in the gap. Plus, homes with multiple interior doors that are missing can be a red flag.

#9 Of course, electricity is important. Search for the electric panel for the house. Try to see if it contains circuit breakers (switches) or screw-in fuses (glass rounds)? If there are fuses, it means that the electric system is more than 50 years old and will likely need an immediate replacement for you to get a homeowner’s insurance.

#10 This is the easiest part. Determine if the water flow is sufficient in the bathrooms. Turn on the faucets at the sink all the way, flush the toilet, then turn on the bathtub. If you notice any inadequacy in the water flow, then it’s a problem.

These are just some of the main valuable home inspection strategies that you can follow but I still recommend that you get help from professional home inspectors to make sure that the house you want is worth buying for.

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