When you start the process of looking for a home to purchase, there’s likely all kinds of things on your must-have list. These tend to be things like the location, the size, layout, and finishing in the home. However, did you know that there’s another list, a sometimes-forgotten list, that you should also have handy?

Before purchasing any home, whether new or old, it’s incredibly important to do an inspection. A home inspection is meant to identify key issues that either need fixing right now, or will need to be fixed in the near future. While you can certainly hire a professional to do the inspection for you, it doesn’t hurt to also be aware of what to look for as far as the basics goes. Let’s take a look.

Take a Look at the Roof

While you’re not actually going to get up on the roof during a tour of a home, you can certainly take a look at it from various angles outside. You want to be looking for signs of wear and tear because this can most certainly lead to water damage in the interior of the home. Additionally, fixing a roof or replacing it completely is quite expensive so it’s something you should be prepared for. If the roof does need immediate attention, you may be able to work it out with the seller that they cover the costs of the repairs.

Interior Water Damage

Water damage on the interior of the home is another big red flag to watch for. Typically, this is a result of ineffective drainage, or as mentioned above, a leaky roof. The problem with water damage is that, as it accumulates, it can start to create mold, rot the walls/ceiling/floors, and require a rather expensive repair job.

Watch for stains on walls and ceilings that can point to water damage. In the most severe cases the area will feel damp to the touch and may even bulge out.

Windows that Need Replacing

In order to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer it needs proper insulation, and up-to-date windows. Windows are an easy thing to inspect on your own. In fact, sometimes they’re in such poor shape you’ll actually feel a draft or breeze blowing right through the casing.

Common signs to watch for are any warping, cracks in the seal or window itself, damage to the frame, and whether they open or close easily. Again, this can be a very expensive item to replace, especially if you’re dealing with a full house of windows. So, you want to have all the facts in front of you.

Ancient Furnace and/or Air Conditioning Unit

This is another important factor in keeping the house at a comfortable temperature. Your furnace and air conditioning units both play a very important part in the comfort of your home. So, when you do a home tour, you’ll want to look at the condition of each. Be sure to ask the agent or home owner the age of each and what kind of maintenance has been done on them.

While this may not be a deal breaker, it’s certainly important to be aware of whether or not they will need replacing in the near future.

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Take a Look in the Attic

Home Maintenance

Granted, not every home has an attic but, if it does then you’ll want to take a look in there. Make sure it is properly insulated, there’s no water damage or fire damage, there doesn’t seem to be any rodent damage (rodents are quite common in attics), and that there’s no odor that should sound the alarm bells such as a heavy dampness.

Consider the Age of the Appliances

If the owner is selling the house with the appliances included, you will also want to take a good look at them. The first question to ask should be the age of the appliances. Next check them over by actually opening the doors and turning them on to see if they work.

Again, appliances don’t tend to be a deal breaker but, if any of them need replacing then it’s good to know this in advance. You may even be able to negotiate a price break on the appliances that are in poor condition.

Make Sure Your Investment is a Wise One

By performing a home inspection, you’re doing your due diligence when it comes to your investment. Ideally, you want to get a professional inspector to take care of it but, sometimes there isn’t time, or a house may be selling in “as is” condition. In these cases, it’s a good idea to be prepared and know what to look for.

Also read: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Home Maintenance