Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Whether looking to buy a home, planning on selling your home, or just a current #homeowner, taking an occasional look around the home to know the current condition can save you a lot of money before issues are let go and cause more damage to the home and more damage to your wallets with extra repairs. Although a home inspection is always highly recommended to know the condition of a home, here are a couple things to look for when checking at a house:
Any possible water damage around flooring, ceilings, and walls
Any cracks around exterior of the home or visible foundation
Any cracks above/under corners of doors or windows
Age of appliances - replacement of appliances are considered expensive repairs
Turn light fixtures off and on to check if power is available around home and possible wiring issues
Flush toilets and turn on water fixtures to look for proper operation and proper drainage
Test/operate available appliances
Issues with vacant homes
Looking for water damage
Here was a home inspection finding from a condominium inspection. You can see water damage that was from a leak near the sprinkler head located in a bedroom closet. Was likely a loose or corroded pipe connection. An area that could have easily gone unnoticed, and if this was not caught and let go, it could have caused even more water damage and more money for repairs. It pays off to look at the small details of a home whether buying, selling, or looking around your own home.
Cracks around the exterior
The picture above was from a home inspection that was located on a hill. when homes are located on hill and without proper drainage, it opens up situations for settlement issues. Areas to look at are corners of homes and around corners of doors and windows looking for any cracks. You can see in the photo above that there are angle cracks that indicate possible settlement and soil upheaving. Settlement issues can be costly and inexpensive when repairing a home and are important issues to look for when looking for your potential future home.
Turning on light fixtures
Its common to find ceiling fans that are improperly installed and hear a rattling noise when operating. Also when checking out a home - when turning on lights/fixtures - if lights do not come on, more than likely a bulb has blown out, but also raises the question if it is properly wired. Recently came across during a #homeinspection that a sconce light outside was improperly wired and the light would turn off and on if you wiggled the light fixture which was likely a loose wire connection/wire nut. Wiring and electrical issues are nothing to mess around with, as if wires do not have proper connection, they can cause arcing and potential fire hazards. Most people do not look into the attic when looking to buy a home and this is where a lot of issues are discovered during a home inspection. There can be a lot of "handyman" work done and wiring improperly done and should be done properly. Open wire splices are a common finding that pose a possible fire hazard and should always be installed in an electrical rated junction box. Naturally wires can overheat and connections become loose and with loose connections can cause arcing and overheating and if not properly contained in electrical junction boxes, can potentially cause a house fire hazard.
Running water fixtures and sinks
Everyone wants to avoid any possible water damage and leaks. You always to want run all sinks and water fixtures to make sure you have proper water pressure, efficient drainage, and be free of any leaks. A great way to test for any possible leaks is to plug the drain, let the sink fill up with water and release the drain. Even new construction homes should be closely looked at and inspected, as piping can be improperly installed and have loose connections that can allow water to leak.
Issues with vacant homes and #diy do it yourself handyman work
Pest and animal infestation
DIY electrical and plumbing work improperly installed
Age of appliances
Appliances are not cheap to replace once they fail or are reaching the end of there life. The last thing you want is a water heater to fail and cause damage due to any leaking or your HVAC systems fail during the hot summers or bitter cold months. A website I love to use is www.building-center.org to determine the age of appliances. Not all labels on appliances provide the date of manufacture so the next place to check is the serial number. This website provides all different serial number styles, of all different brands of appliances so anyone can determine the age of their appliance.
Typical life expectancy of major appliances:
A/C unit or condenser unit - around 15 years
Air handler/furnace - 20+ years
Water heater - 10-12 years
Tankless water heater - around 20 years
Of course all of these life expectancies depend on proper maintenance for efficient operation and proper life span.