Just because you aren’t buying a home doesn’t mean you can’t be on the lookout for issues and address them when necessary. Yes, hiring a home inspector is a good idea but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few inspections first before giving your money to someone else. Here are a few things you can check on your own first:
Water damage and leaks can come from something inside the house, but most likely it comes from a leaky roof. If you can, checking the roof would be worth your time to make sure that nothing is leaking, or extensive repairs don’t have to take place.
Along with leaky roofs, basements can experience a few water problems. Basement water damage can come from two sources: Indoor humidity condensing on cold surfaces, and water coming in from the outside. If it’s from the outside that means the drainage system may not be set up well for the house. If you are seeing water damage in the basement, you will want to make sure to check where it’s coming from.
Problems with the foundation can cause issues in other areas of the house. Floors as well as the overall framework of the house can be affected. Doors and windows that stick or don’t latch and drywall cracks could also be signs of foundation problems. Also look for bulges in foundation walls. This is more common in older homes.
Typically, people will check the electrical system by switching lights on and off since that seems to be the most reasonable way to check for any issues. But one thing you can particularly keep an eye out for is the electrical outlets and switches. If they look brand new, sometimes that could mean the room was recently wired. If that’s the case, you may want to check the outlets with a receptacle tester to make sure everything was wired correctly. If it wasn’t (like seeing problems such as reverse polarity), that could mean the homeowner tried to fix the wiring without having it inspected.
The first thing you can do is check the age of the furnace. The expected life span of a furnace is around 25 to 30 years. However, and a well-maintained furnace can last up to 35 or 40 years. Make sure to check the date of the furnace to see how long it’s been running. Also, maintain service records for your furnace.
Walls, Ceilings, Flooring
The most important thing to check for is water damage and mold. If you are seeing any water damage or even discolored spots in your walls, ceiling, or flooring, you should take that as a sign of caution. Any visible water damage could mean serious problems within the walls, and even with your insulation. If you see any damage, you should have the area tested for mold.
As you do this “self” home inspection, these DIY guidelines will help ensure that your house is safe. If you hire a home inspector after your inspection, make sure to walk through the inspection you have done with them. They may be able to uncover more than your initial inspection did. A professional home inspector may also uncover issues that you missed.