10 Things to Consider When Viewing a House

Published: November 21, 2013

A home is a huge investment and here are some key things to look for when viewing a house for the first time that you are considering purchasing. If you plan on re-selling the house for a profit down the road, you want to make sure you are getting your money's worth.

  1. The Roof

    The roof is one of the first things you want to make sure is in good condition. This protects everything within the house. Look for level lines in the roof without sagging, no shingles curling at the edges or missing. Tin, as seen below, is rather barn-like, but lasts a long time and is maintenance free.



  2. The Foundation

    This might be difficult to see if the basement is finished, but look for level lines -vertically and horizontally, and square corners. Concrete has some shrinkage cracking usually, but if you see deep cracks, this is a big problem. Foundation repair is very costly and in most cases, not likely worth it. Another check is to put your face near the wall and look down the length of it to see if the middle of the wall is bowing inwards or out.

  3. The Lot

    Consider the elevation/slope of the lot and whether the house is at the bottom of a depression. The ground should slope away from all sides of the house or water may pool near the house and around the foundation. Also consider how close you want your neighbors.

  4. The Electrical

    If the house is quite old, the electrical could be out of date -another costly problem to repair. Look for any exposed wires in the basement -or coming out of the circuit box to see if they look archaic or frayed.

  5. The Plumbing

    This can usually be seen under sinks and in the basement -copper or PVC is ideal, steel or lead can be old and corroded. Look for any leaks or water stains under pipes. Make sure all sink and shower faucets work and toilets flush. Note the water pressure as well.

  6. Smells

    General smells can indicate problems as well. Mold, mildew, or musty smells, especially strong ones could be the indication of a water leakage or mold problem. See if the house smells smoky or of natural gas. Kind of go with your gut feeling on this one.

  7. Lot Orientation

    Another thing to consider is the location of the house on the street/neighborhood. Is it at the top of a hill or the bottom? Is it near a swamp? Ideally, a house on higher ground will have less inclination for the water to flood the basement.

  8. Location of the Kitchen

    This is probably a less important thing to consider than the others above, but consider the path of grocery hauling from your car in regards to the kitchen location. Is the kitchen close by or in the far corner of the house?

  9. Snow Removal/Yard Maintenance

    If you live where snow is a problem (I'm in N MN) consider the length of sidewalk you will be shoveling in the winter and/or length of driveway. Also, how much lawn will need to be mowed or landscaping will need to be maintained.

  10. Room for Additions

    Consider the room on all sides of the house or garage for possible future additions. This could be a less expensive way to add value to the house at some point or could just be a selling point upon re-selling the house.

When it comes to buying a house, much of it is common sense and going with your instinct. If something doesn't look right or gives you a bad feeling, there may be a reason. Take your time and enjoy the process!