You have decided to take that first step toward purchasing a home and, with excitement, start visiting some open houses. While aesthetics are important, it's crucial to look beyond the window-dressings yourself before you hire a qualified home inspector.
Here are some common problem areas to look for while touring an open house:
Look for cracks, especially above door frames. This may indicate that the foundation is shifting, which is a much larger issue than a quick patch-up.
Check the ceilings for brown stains and paint bubbling. This may indicate water infiltration that can be a costly fix.
Does everything work?
The buyer may be including appliances but check if they are in good working order. This goes for the air conditioner and heating system as well.
Observe if the floors are straight or if they are dipping in the corners. Be sure that laminate floors are not lifting. Depending on the floor type, it could be an easy or expensive fix.
Doors & windows
In winter, check for drafts and frosted window panes. This might indicate that the windows are not installed or insulated properly and will impact heating expenses.
Make sure to ask about the age of rain gutters and check to see that they empty far away from the house to prevent water leaking into basements.
Grout & caulking
Check for deterioration and discoloration that may indicate mold.
Does it meet your size needs?
The home may be beautiful and in good condition, but remember to be aware of cupboard and storage space.
With these things in mind, you can visit an open house with open eyes and make an informed decision as to whether or not to go ahead with an offer.