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How to Do a Home Inspection: 3 Helpful Methods

How to Do a Home Inspection: 3 Helpful Methods

Do you know how to do a home inspection? Yes, you can DIY.

Though you won't be able to sign off on an inspection form if construction required it, you can do a home inspection yourself.

It won't be as thorough as a professional, but it's an easy way to save some money if you're not too concerned about the property.

How to Do a Home Inspection

To start out your self-guided inspection, you'll want to go outside. You'll work from the outside, in.

Step 1: Outside

Look around the base of the house and where the house and the roof meet, as well as around windows.

Do you see any cracks in the exterior? On older homes, hairline fractures aren't a huge deal - but watch out for cracks with pronounced space in between. Those are signs of a bad foundation.

Any obviously water-related discoloring on the paint?

Do you see any damaged or missing shingles on the roof?

Step 2: Interior

When you're done writing notes and walking around the outside of the house, do a tour of the inside. Look for water stains on the ceiling and anything that looks structurally unsound.

Have someone turn on the hot water in the sink and go listen to the water heater. It shouldn't bang or make odd sounds.

Has the house been well-cleaned and taken care of? Look for dirt in high traffic areas, like around door handles and on the sides of walls.

Go up into the attic and look at the rafters. If it's a crawl space, you may want to have a professional do this for you.

You're looking to see that the beams don't have holes or long, pencil-like protrusions.

Does the insulation look like it's in good condition? It shouldn't hang down or shed.

Step 3: Wiring

Finally, go back outside and find the electrical box. Are all the wires in good condition? Look for fraying wires or loose connections.

You can tell a lot about a house's electrical system by looking at the electrical box. If it's in bad condition, there's a good chance the inner workings of the house has issues too.

Extra Checkpoints

If the tenants or previous owners did any construction on the unit, you need to know if it's up to code. Call the city and get the permit and inspection records for that property.

If the permits don't exist or you can't find them, talk to the previous tenants or property owners.

When in Doubt, Call A Professional

If there's anything you're concerned about and you know is out of your scope, call a professional. You can ask them to spot-check locations where you noticed issues.

It's always worth getting a second opinion, especially if you suspect something's wrong. If you don't and there was an issue, you're setting yourself up for expensive repairs and potential lawsuits.

Now that you know how to do a home inspection, do you think you'll train your maintenance people to do them going forward? Or will you stick to professionals?

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