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What to look for when touring the home you want to buy.


If you are looking for your first, or next, home, you will likely tour several before finding “the one.” Before you let yourself be swept off your feet, stay grounded and take a closer look. While you will want to get a professional inspection, it’s a good idea to get a good idea on your own. Doing so may save the cost of a professional, if significant issues are discovered, or if the home needs more work than you are willing to take on.

If you are touring with someone else, strategize ahead of time. One of you can listen carefully for your real estate agent’s comments, and the other can mostly tune it out to focus on the inspection points. Later, the two of you can compare notes for a semi-comprehensive overview after a single tour!

Exterior Observations

Check for Cracks

Look for cracks in the foundation, around windows, and around doors. Not all cracks spell trouble, but it’s a good idea to take note (and maybe pictures). If the house has a brick exterior, check the mortar for any cracking. If a brick is cracked, this could mean the foundation may need to be checked.

Check Water Flow

Based on the lay of the land, which direction is water inclined to flow? Will water naturally flow toward or away from the house? Are there any areas on the lot that appear to be soggy, or that could fail to adequately drain? Water is often a building’s worst enemy, and proper infrastructure to deal with it is important.

Check The Roof

Does the roof look new or aged? When was it last replaced? Does any siding at the roof line appear damaged in any way? is there any visible flashing wear or damage? Take notes and/or photographs for later discussion.

Check The Cladding and Roofline

Looking at the building, do the exterior walls appear to be in good condition? Will it need to be repainted or touched up any time soon? Will any siding need to be replaced? Are there any lose trim boards, dangling wires, or gutters/downspouts? What is the exterior material, and how expensive might repairs be if needed? Does the mortar and brick or stone need cleaning or repair? Does the mailbox or fence need any repairs? Take notes of these to be considered when deciding to make an offer.

Interior Inspections


Check all switches. Do they work? Are there any outlets without a ground? (grounded outlets have a third hole, non-grounded outlets only have two slots, but not hole) Does the electrical panel look to be in good shape? Is there any room for expansion? Do the light fixtures look to be in good condition?

Heating and Air Conditioning

Does the thermostat work? How old is the air handler? How old is the furnace? How old is the air conditioner? Has the system been converted? Has it been properly maintained?


Check faucets and fixtures in sinks, showers, and tubs. Under sinks, check the plumbing, and look for any signs of leaks. Check toilets, and listen to see if they refill without having been flushed. What is the plumbing material? Copper? Pex? Braided stainless steel? Does anything look like it needs repair? How old is the hot water heater? What style of heater is it?


Do the appliances come with the house? If so, are they in good shape? Do they make any unexpected noises? Are there any leaks or signs of old leaks around the refrigerator? If the stove is gas, do you smell any gas that could indicate a leak?

Interior Walls

Is the paint in good condition? Is there any bubbling that could indicate mold or water damage? Is the surface in good condition? Will any drywall work need to be done?


Does the roof look sound from the underside? Is there proper ventilation? Are there any signs of roof leaks?


Does the basement feel or smell musty? Is there a sump pump? If so, is it working properly? If there are any windows, are they in good condition? Is there adequate insulation? Has it been improved at all?

Windows and Doors

Do the windows and doors open and close normally? Do they stick? Do any doors have a tendency to fall open or fall closed? Are there any visible cracks in the walls near windows or doors that could indicate foundation issues?


Check for water stains anywhere at all. Is the flooring in good condition? Will it need repair? Do the baseboards look normal, or is there any indication of potential hidden damage?

Review Your Notes

No house is ever perfect. Even brand new custom builds can experience what the homeowner may see as a problem. Take inventory of the issues you encountered, and balance that with the things you love about the home. Also take into consideration the asking price. It may be a good idea to bring your concerns to your real estate agent, who may suggest negotiating with the seller according to the issues you found.

Need more tips like these? At Benchmark, we have more answers than we can share in a blog article. Get the help you need. Find your Benchmark branch, and contact them today for personalized service.Give us a call or contact us today. At Benchmark, we’ve got your back.Give me a call, send me an email, or request a call today. Along with my Benchmark community of mortgage pro’s, we’ve got you covered.

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