Before You Buy: Checklist for Assessing a House

Congratulations on your decision to buy a house!

But, before you buy that house you’ve been eyeing, make sure to check it thoroughly first. Don’t buy it immediately based on its curb appeal or the ‘emotional pull’ you’re feeling.

Instead, consider using this home checklist as you assess a house during your initial walk-through.

Before You Buy: Checklist for Assessing a House

Before You Buy: Checklist for Assessing a House

This is not a comprehensive home checklist, and you must not rely on it solely when you’re assessing a property. You’ll need a much more thorough inspection. Consider hiring a professional inspector – their training, experience, and expertise will prove vital to your home purchase.

  • Check accessibility to offices, schools, malls, hospitals, etc.
  • Check the safety of the neighborhood.
House Foundation
  • Inside: Check the walls, ceilings, and floors for any cracks or damage.
  • Outside: Check for any large trees or shrubbery close to the house; their roots may cause future issues.
  • Ask what the floors and underflooring are made of – and check their condition.
  • Survey inside and outside all the way around the house.
  • Ask about the age of the roof.
  • Ask about the roof material.
  • Ask when it was last inspected.
  • Check for curled edges or missing shingles.
  • Check the condition of the roof gutters, downspouts, flashing, and facia.
Doors and Windows
  • Check to see if you can easily open and close the windows.
  • Check to see if all the door locks are in working order.
  • Check if the doors and windows seal out the weather.
  • Check to see if the windows are the old-fashioned kind with the sash cord, counter-weight, and pulley. If they are, check if all the parts are in working order.
  • Check the age of the windows; old windows can be expensive to repair.
  • Check if automatic doors (if any) are working.
  • Check if the window shades and blinds (if any) are easy to open.
Plumbing and Appliances
  • Run faucets in the bathrooms and kitchens. Watch out for slow drains, discolored water, or weird noises as this could indicate issues.
  • Check the water pressure.
  • Check if the faucets are dripping.
  • Check if the drains are clogged.
  • Check if the toilet flushes properly.
  • Check how long it takes to get hot water to the shower.
  • Ask about the age of the appliances (if it comes with the house).
  • Check the floor near the refrigerator and dishwasher for leaks or stains, as this could indicate plumbing issues.
  • Check if the driveway is smooth and evenly paved.
  • Check to see if the transition between the driveway and surrounding areas (i.e. the yard) is smooth and even – free of rocks and other debris that could cause tripping.
  • Check if the slope of the driveway is low enough that it doesn’t cause any problems.

The Bottom Line

Every situation is different. These are only a few of the items that you should look at when assessing the quality of a house. This is not a comprehensive home checklist. You should make your purchase and other home buying decisions based on an inspection conducted by a licensed, professional inspector.

Note: Not all of these features are present in all homes.

Will Bell Mortgage Broker is a mortgage and finance broker based in Melbourne specializing in residential home loans.  Will is all about the average Australian understanding just enough of the broader economy to take action on your own personal economy.  He is the host of the My Personal Economy Podcast which you can check out here.

Additionally, you can follow him on Facebook

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter