What to Inspect When You’re Inspecting

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Erin O’Neill from the Better Business Bureau has some advice.

This is not meant to replace a professional home inspection. Once you make an offer on a house, you'll want a licensed home inspector to go over it with a magnifying glass.

Your initial inspection

Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Interior and exterior evaluation.

Lot:  Are the walkways in good condition? Does the yard seem to properly drain?

Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?

Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?

Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?

Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.

Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation?

Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?

Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped?

Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?

Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?

Exterior: Are the walls and sides of the house appear to be in good condition (no bowed or sagging), are the windows properly trimmed and caulked?

Odor: Is there an odor in the house? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.

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