Building Inspection Checklist: 10 Things To Check Before Buying a House

Buying a house is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. There are many factors that go into this decision and it can be overwhelming to take all these things into account. One thing that may seem like a small detail, but can have a major impact on your quality of life, is ensuring you find no unpleasant surprises once the papers have been signed.

While we encourage you to find experienced building inspectors before your purchase a property, however, if you’d like to do it yourself we created this handy checklist for performing a proper building inspection before committing to a dotted line.

On The Outside

  1. Check the property boundaries – Are they clearly outlined and free of any encroachment?
  2. Examine the roof – Is it in good condition? Any missing or damaged tiles or shingles? Leaks? Check the guttering for rust, leaks and warping and that downpipes and drainage are in order. Check all external piping for any signs of rust, leaks or damage
  3. Check for foundation problems – Cracks in brickwork, floors or walls, drainage channels filled with water are all signs of more serious foundation issues that may not be visible from inside the house. Ask yourself if you have the ability to fix these things if they do exist.
  4. Look at siding and cladding- Check for any missing, damaged or rotten boards, holes where wire might be poking out, water pooling at the base of walls. These are all signs of more serious damage that can often lead to bigger problems in the future.
  5. Water features – Look at the garden and yard carefully. Make sure there are no puddles after rain, water features are functioning properly and there is no standing water anywhere that could lead to the growth of moss or mold.

On The Inside

  1. Check the ceilings and walls for any signs of water damage – Peeling paint, bubbling wallpaper, stains, mold, etc.
  2. Look in the closets and attic for any signs of pests – Check for droppings, nests, chewed wires, or other damage. If there are signs but you need confirmation, contact your local pest inspection company for professional help.
  3. Turn on all the taps and flush all the toilets – Listen for any strange noises and check for water pressure. Make sure all the fixtures are in good condition.
  4. Test the oven, stovetop and all other appliances – Make sure they’re in good working order and that all electrical components are properly attached.
  5. Look for any signs of water damage or flooding – Check behind appliances, under sinks, inside cabinets and closets, especially if the house is on a flood-prone property. If you do notice water staining make sure to get an expert opinion before making an offer.

Something Amiss? Better Be Safe Than Sorry

After you’ve checked off all the items on this list and know to the best of your ability that no problems exist, it’s time to seal the deal! If you still think there might be something you missed, ask a building inspector to help. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your home or investment property.

If you’re ever in doubt, ask a professional building inspector to assess the property and write a detailed report on its state of repair.

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