Checklist For Viewing A Home – 7 Key Things To Look For
Smart home buyers will look beyond the fresh coat of paint and dig deeper to spot the significant repairs that others may have missed.
Remember: finding an issue doesn’t mean you can’t buy the home.
Sure, you’ll often identify problems during an inspection – but it’s smart to look at things before making an offer.
If you’re the kind of person who turned up to a home viewing and isn’t really sure about what to look at – other than if the home ‘looks nice’ – then this list is for you.
We’ll outline all the items in detail – then at the end of this article you can download a copy of a free checklist with all the items in this article on it!
Home Viewing Check List
1. Foundation issues
Most homes might be settling into their positions, so hairline cracks will start to appear. But, others have significant gaps, which indicate faults with the foundation.
Before you make an offer on a home, check it’s foundation.
You do this by walking around the outside, looking for cracks in the walls and support – as well as any tilting.
Also, go into the basement and crawlspace. Look for cracks and other red flags. Check the report from your home inspector and evaluate any issues regarding the foundation.
2. Heating and cooling performance
Either with a home inspector or while you’re viewing the home, test out the air conditioning and furnace (or other heating and cooling system).
If it’s summer, the AC may already be on so you’ll get an idea – and the same for the furnace in the winter. However, it isn’t the worst idea to turn both of these on at some point when you’re in the home – after all a viewing is your opportunity to see if things are in good working order.
Once you’ve turned it on, go outside and listen to the air condition and heating system.
You can also do some research: ask the homeowner/Agent about the age of the A/C unit.
Inspect the system for any rust and dirt.
If a replacement is required, a local HVAC dealer can provide you with a quote on the equipment, installation and other costs. And the homeowner might reduce the home selling price by the amount it will cost to have the system replaced.
3. Signs of water damage
Poor drainage is a significant red flag.
For starters, check the leaking faucets. Are the shower heads leaking?
Lookout for any clues of leaks, for example, stains on the ceiling as you assess the home.
Also, check under the kitchen sink, and washrooms, too. Is there a musty odor?
You might also want to go down to the basement, crawl space, and garage to check for possible water damage. Are there signs of a sump pump? A sump pump is used in basements that have had previous water damage issues.
If yes, then consider raising these issues with your Realtor and discuss them with the homeowner.
All these issues indicate past and maybe future problems with water drainage. Even when it seems as though the water issues aren’t active, these problems could pop-up in the future.
That home might appear picturesque now, but wait to see when water comes cascading into your living room given the unpredictable weather in Canada.
4. The roof
There are two things to consider here: the age and damage.
If you know the age of your new home’s roof, you’ll be able to foresee future and potential maintenance costs. Roofs generally last around 20 years – depending on the type (you’ll need to find out and look this up).
Your Real Estate Agent should provide this information. Your Realtor should also tell you about the condition of the roof.
Also, walk around the home to try and find any issues or missing shingles, rust, dirt and any other thing that may worry you.
Remember: a lousy roof could significantly impact the interior and exterior of the property. Raise any concerns to your Realtor, and discuss them with the homeowner, as you negotiate an offer for the house.
5. The windows
Wonky windows are red flags. Take a second to look beyond the beauty reflected in the windows.
Ensure that they are operational in the event of an emergency – make sure and test how easy they are to open.
And while the windows are open, this is also your opportunity to assess what the outside noise levels are like – after all you’re going to have the windows open at some point.
Pull back the curtains, and inspect for any signs of a lopsided frame. Go ahead and tug at the window, to check if it slides easily. If they stick, this could mean that there is a problem with the foundation of the home. Discuss any concerns with the homeowner, and see if they can get these issues fixed.
6. Working appliances and electrical outlets
The freshly painted wall and the updated kitchen appliances could be hiding something. Look beyond all these cosmetics and check if all the machines are in good shape.
For a start, turn the stove on and off. Check if the dishwasher is running correctly, and take a peek into the refrigerator. Sometimes when you open and close the fridge door, it’ll reveal a noisy engine – indicating the fridge is struggling.
Also, take a look at the circuit breaker. Check if they are working correctly by flipping a few of the breakers.
If you decide to settle for this home, you might want to make sure that everything is in order. Also, check the home inspection report for any other issues concerning the kitchen appliances and electrical outlets.
7. Bug and pest problems
Critters may not come out during the day, but mouse and roach dropping might appear in the corners and cabinets. This problem can be easily fixed. Discuss the issue with the homeowner, and your realtor to get pest control treatment to the property as part of your contract.
Conclusion – Home Viewing Checklist
The bottom line: don’t walk through an open house like a museum.
Open things, turn things on and off and test things. This is one of the biggest purchases of your life remember!
Your home inspector will detect many problems upon evaluating the home but there is only so much they’ll do and you can pre-empt a lot of their work.
Understanding the primary issues and knowing what to look for will also make you more confident in your home buying experience.
You need to pay attention to these 7 red flags, to ensure you are not wasting your time on a home that’s not ready for you.
Download Your Free Home Viewing Checklist
You can download your own home viewing checklist – with all the above 7 items – and print it off to bring with you to viewings at the following link: