Buying A New House: What You Should Check First?

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Mark Jardine
June 13, 2024
Heating & Cooling
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You are just a few steps away from becoming a homeowner. There are, however, a few things to inspect before signing the papers: Whether your future home is new construction or a historic property, there are a surprising number of things that can go wrong, from outlets that stop working to windows that won't open. In this article, we'll go over some major and minor details to double-check before taking the big step of buying your dream house.

1. Check that all appliances are working

It doesn't necessarily mean a kitchen appliance is functional just because it looks nice and new. This is especially true if it was purchased to attract buyers. If the home inspector has already been there and you are looking through the house before the closing, make sure all the appliances, such as the microwave and washer, are in good working condition.

2. Test the outlets

You'll also want to make sure that every outlet is functional before signing the contract. You can simply plug your phone charger in at each outlet in each room as you go.

3. Inspect the electrical panel

Your home inspector will conduct an electrical inspection, but it will not cover everything. In general, a neat and organized electrical panel with each wire and connection marked is a sign of good workmanship, whereas a messy nest of disconnected wires is not a good sign and could pose a safety hazard.

4. Open and close all windows and doors

It will be too late to do anything about drafty windows and doors that don't close properly by the time winter arrives, so open and close any windows, doors, and shutters while you're doing your rounds in the house.

5. Test toilets, sinks, showers, and baths

While replacing a faulty faucet after you buy a house isn't the end of the world, it's still preferable to have everything in working order when you move in, especially with larger issues like toilets that don't flush properly or showers that drip. Make a thorough inspection of everything in your bathroom.

6. Identify potential leakage areas

There are certain areas of a home that are more prone to water infiltration and leaks than others, so you should pay special attention to them. If there are outdoor patios with ground drains in a single-family home, make sure they are clear and in good working order, and that gutters at the eaves of the roof are in good working order, with proper drainage into the ground and away from the house foundations.

7. Look under the sinks

Under the sinks in both the kitchen and the bathrooms is one last place to double-check. A quick look under a sink will reveal any water damage, mold, water stains, or musty odors, all of which are likely signs of a plumbing leak. Do this after you've left the water in the sink running for a few minutes to ensure it drains properly!