Your new home is not just a place to lay your head, it is most likely one of the biggest investments you will make as well.
To ensure a good initial price(without the addition repair costs) on your investment I recommend inspecting the items listed here as well as using the services of a qualified Home Inspector before buying.
Brickwork & Chimney - Inspect the brickwork and mortar particularly the chimney (the first part that needs repair usually). If the brick is starting to crack and crumble or the mortar is black/discolored, powdery or cracking. The affected area will have to be re-pointed which could be quite costly.(Image shows a chimney that has been half re-pointed, left side needs repair.)
Outdoor Woodwork - Items made of wood that remain exposed to elements such as decks, docks and porches. These areas should be inspected carefully, look for rotting/soft wood that could even be covered by a fresh coat of paint.
Electrical System – Pay particular attention to the panel; find out if it has been updated. 200 amp is todays standard.
200 amp panel
Beware of 60 amp service and Knob and Tube wiring, they are costly to upgrade and a lot of lenders and insurance companies require the upgrade. (60 amp fuse panel and knob and tube images below.)
Floors – Check the overall condition of the flooring, looking for spots that are not level.(Left shows hardwood that needs sanding and refinishing, right shows dream floors)
Heating – Find out the age and service record of the furnace and what it uses. Natural gas is the least expensive but is not available everywhere.(Oil furnace and tank on left, Natural gas on right)
Insulation – Homes with older plaster walls/ lathe and plaster will have little or no insulation. Check for insulation in the attic.
Parking – If you live in the city you know how important and expensive this can be. Make sure that the home has adequate parking and if not, find out if there any by-laws which prevent you from adding a garage or parking space. Find out what the rules are on street parking.
Plumbing – The plumbing system should be made of copper, PVC and/or PEX. Beware of lead.(Traditional copper on left, PEX on the right)
Roof – Check for overall condition, the average life span for a shingled roof is 20 – 25 years. Look for curled shingles and the amount of asphalt remaining on the shingle.(Left side needs replacing, right is proper)
Sewage and Drains – Have a qualified professional inspect the sewer system and drains to insure they are working correctly. Find out if the sewage service from the street has been upgraded.(In town system on right, out of town system on left)
Windows – Older homes often have single pane glass which would have to be replaced before you would move in.. the better the windows the more you save on heat and cooling. (Single pane window on right, modern window on left.)
I hope these tips help with your house hunting, be sure to always use qualified home inspectors or any other specialized inspectors you may require. They are trained to find flaws the average person would not even think of.
Adrian King – Sale Representative Century 21 United