Estate inspection is a process that is best left to the professionals.

Estate inspection guidelines before you buy a home

Before you buy yourself and your family a home, or before you sell it, you have to make sure that the home is in the adequate state. Once you’re done with estate inspection, you should be able to clearly tell if there’s something severely missing. Estate inspection is a sort of due diligence, in which you make sure that what you saw in the advertisement is actually compatible with reality. Sometimes, it isn’t. This is why estate inspection guidelines such as these exist. You need help in figuring out what is it that you’re actually planning on buying, so we’re here to help.

Estate inspection should go step-by-step

Under no circumstances should you leave a part of your new home unchecked. However, you need to develop a certain method for your inspection. Houses are large and there are many places that need checking. That’s why it’s easy to get confused. Property comes in various forms, sizes, and shapes. This is why you have to be comprehensive and that’s why you need to pay a lot of attention. Of course, these guidelines are just that – guidelines. They are in no way substitute for an actual, ASHI-certified home inspector. When it comes to estate inspection, one size does not fit all.

Before signing an agreement and handing over keys, as is the case with these two people, always perform estate inspection.
Before bringing the deal to a close, always perform estate inspection.

Start your estate inspection with the visible exterior

This is the part of the estate inspection where you check if the property, sans the interior of the house, is in good condition. This means that you will check several aspects, most of which relate to the drainage system. This is especially important if the estate inspection takes place in some tropical area, such as Florida or California. No leaks should be visible in the yard, and there should be no water pooling inside the yard. The leakage system should be in decent shape. Some examples of these are:

  • There shouldn’t be any sign of leaking from a septic tank;
  • The walkways should not be overgrown. The hedges, the lawn, the trees and other forms of vegetation should be decently maintained;
  • Exterior structures, such as a dog house or a garage, should be in good condition. For example, there should be no sign of damage on wood, such as that from termites or water;
  • The railings leading to the entrance or the porch should be tight and secure.
An estate inspection will find that this house with white walls and thatched tile roof is in good condition.
An estate inspection will find that this house is in good condition.

The structure foundation and exterior surfaces are equally important

This is the second part, where you check the surface of the building itself, as well as the foundation. This is especially important if the house is close to a landslide. What you first do here is go around the house once and make sure that the foundations of the house are intact. Check if they have any significant cracks, if the other elements appear broken, cracked or otherwise damaged. If the foundations of the structure have anywhere been bent, that’s not a good sign either.

Components of the house should be handing and no cracks should be too large – as in, large enough to be seen from a distance. Some neighborhoods, even the ones in the top NYC neighborhoods are, so to speak, rainier than others, so this may be an entirely natural phenomenon.

Moving into the interior

Now, the interior is the hardest part of estate inspection. This is because it’s got the largest amount of space that needs inspection. Besides, there are countless nooks and crannies that you need to look at in order to get a proper picture of the actual state of the interior. There are some general guidelines as to what you should do when you’re doing an interior inspection:

Always take a look at the windows during estate inspection

This may sound benign, but a lot of damage actually enters through the windows. Wind, rain and snow all have massive potential for damaging walls and wooden surfaces. This is why you need to check if all the windows are as they should be. There shouldn’t be any cracks, rot or decay on the wood. If the painting is flimsy, this can be easy to spot. Many homeowners will repaint the window panes in hope that you will not notice them. If the coat of paint is fresh, then take heed. Look for signs of weather damage near the window.

Windoes such as this window with drapes between wooden walls should always be under close scrutiny during estate inspection.
Always check the surfaces near the windows during the estate inspection.

Always make sure you check the roof

Roofs that have sustained damage can be a source of major reparations in the household. That is why a roof needs a thorough checking. Shingles made of wood shouldn’t appear to have any cracks, without any rot, decay or mold. Most roof shingles, however, are metal. And this is also something that requires estate inspection. Patches shouldn’t be obvious and they should all look sealed. Sealing is usually done via tar. Note that roof is very hard to check if you’re an amateur – this is why in cases such as these we recommend calling the pros.

Roofs such as this tiled orange roof with windows leading to the attic should always be checked during estate inspection.
It is of vital importance to check the roof during an estate inspection.

Attic, interior rooms, kitchen, bathroom(s)

These are much easier to check, at least in comparison to the roof. For example, one thing that needs checking for sure is the electrical installation. Any wires that have suffered fraying or other forms of degradation need immediate attention. Always check for moisture and check if the solution is proper. Any sign of moist and it could be the sign of a leakage. Furthermore, in the bathroom, you need to check the plumbing. 

These estate inspection guidelines are, keep in mind, just that – guidelines. In no way, shape or form can they replace appropriate professional counsel. Having that in mind, these guidelines can be helpful as an approximation of what can be done. If you’re in any doubt, contact the real estate experts.

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