I have been in Real Estate since the late 1990's, and toured many houses, apartments, commercial, residential, industrial, office, and multifamily properties. When I inspect a property with a client I'm representing (both buyers and sellers), here are some of the things I'm looking for:
Is the pitched ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, warping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes (slits) becoming wider that normal?
If a flat roof, is it a torch on membrane or is it a tar and gravel roof?
Does the roof have any low spots that show signs of standing water (areas where the water isn't draining into the roof drain?)
Any loose flashing's, at the chimney, gaps in the roof-to-wall connection?
Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminate under the last row of shingles?
Are there any roof vents visible?
Is the masonry cap cracked or broken?
Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing?
Is the chimney leaning?
SOFFITS AND FASCIA
Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic.
Any loose or missing sections?
If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
Ensure gutters slope down toward downspouts and don't hold standing water. Note if the gutters are filled with leaves, dirt, bird faces, etc.
Any rust or peeling paint?
Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?
Are the downspouts extended away from the foundations at least 4 feet?
Look for missing mortar.
Are the bricks flaking or cracking?
Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint.
Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall?
Is there a minimum 12 inch gap between the siding and the soil that is sloped up towards the building?
Are any of the exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning?
WINDOWS AND DOORS
Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components.
Are the windows newer Metal or Vinyl Framed or older Wood framed?
Are they the original windows? How old are they? (sometimes you can see the year by looking into the window sill).
PORCHES AND DECKS
Is there any cracking or flaking masonry?
Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact.
Note any settlement or separation from the property.
Inspect the underside, if accessible.
Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry.
Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance)
Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities?
Does the grade slope away from the property? Do the downspouts work
in harmony with the grade sloping away from the property?
Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway?
Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?
Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)
Check for deteriorated floor coverings or cracked tiles, split linoleum, uneven cracks in the concrete floor.
Any water staining or other damage?
Is the basement slab Sloping or sagging? Are there any large cracks in the basement foundation wall on the inside?
Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work.
Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally?
Look for cracked or loose plaster.
Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence.
Any drywall seams or nails showing under the drywall mortar?
Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster.
Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair.
Seams or nails showing?
BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS
Check that all fixtures are secure.
Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area.
Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure?
Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops
Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.
Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced?
Type of water supply piping and drains - any visible rust and corrosion?
Does the main water supply valve, and other valves throughout the property open and close freely and function properly?
Size and age of electrical service - are the outlets grounded?
Visible wiring in good condition?
Is the electrical panel an appropriate size?
Is there room for expansion in the electrical panel?
Have there been any mechanical upgrades lately?
I use the above list that I have pulled together from a number of resources, and I write detailed notes for my files of my findings. It is interesting how much better of a sense you'll get of the entire property if you go through this list.
As always, if any questions, please feel free to call me at 403.324.2222 in my Calgary office or 403.823.2222 in my Drumheller office or email firstname.lastname@example.org