Once you’ve narrowed down your search online and are ready to view properties, keep this handy checklist in mind. It’s easy to fall in love with a house at first sight. But while you’re admiring the deck, the breakfast nook, and the glass shower, you’ll want to spot items that might cost a lot to fix later on.

  1. Walls Can Talk: Is there a section of a wall or room that looks like it was just fixed up? Ask questions about recent termite damage. Cracks in the wall? This typically means that the foundation has shifted or there has been water damage.
  2. Cover the Roof: Ask how old the roof is and if there were any structural upgrades when the roofing was replaced. Look at ceilings inside to check for roof leaks outside – and extend your search to the attic.
  3. Crossed Wires: Inspect electrical systems thoroughly. Look for exposed wiring. Make sure light switches and outlets work. Ask about occurrences of power outages and electrical shorts. Finding a clean, well-labeled electrical panel is a sign that the homeowner is more up-to-date on the home’s electrical system.
  4. Historical Context: Ask about the history of repairs to the home. Was the plumbing replaced anywhere? How new are items like the garbage disposal, HVAC system, and water heater? Knowing you might need to purchase a new big ticket item in your first year of ownership is important.