Buying a home is a significant investment, and conducting proper inspections before making an offer is essential. While professional home inspection services are recommended, there may be situations where they are not available. In such cases, prospective homebuyers can perform preliminary inspections themselves to identify potential issues and make informed decisions.

Foundation and Structural Integrity.

One of the first things to inspect is the foundation and structural integrity of the home. Check for cracks or damage in the foundation, as well as signs of water damage or mold. Inspect the walls, ceilings, and floors for any irregularities or signs of movement, such as bowing, sagging, or cracks. These issues could indicate serious structural problems that may be costly to repair.

Roof and Gutter System

A home's roof and gutter system are crucial for protecting the property from water damage. Examine the roof for signs of wear, such as missing or damaged shingles, and ensure that the gutters are clean and functioning correctly. If possible, visit the property during or after heavy rain to observe how well the roof and gutter system handle water runoff.

Plumbing and Electrical Systems

Inspect the plumbing system by checking for visible leaks, corroded pipes, and adequate water pressure. Ensure that the water heater and other appliances are in good working order. Test electrical outlets and switches, and verify that the electrical panel and wiring are up to code and functioning properly. Keep an eye out for any signs of outdated or unsafe electrical work.

HVAC System

Examine the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to ensure it is in good working condition. Check for any signs of wear or damage, and test the system to make sure it heats and cools the home effectively. Be aware of any unusual odors or noises, as these could indicate issues requiring repair or replacement.

Exterior and Landscaping

Walk around the exterior of the home and assess the condition of the siding, paint, windows, and doors. Look for signs of damage, wear, or rot that may require repair or replacement. Inspect the landscaping for proper drainage, and make sure there are no signs of standing water or erosion near the foundation.

Interior and Overall Cleanliness

Finally, evaluate the overall cleanliness and condition of the interior. Check for any signs of pests, such as droppings, nests, or damage. Inspect the flooring, walls, and ceilings for water damage, mold, or other issues that may require attention. Assess the condition of the kitchen and bathroom fixtures, cabinetry, and appliances.


Performing preliminary inspections before making an offer on a home can help prospective buyers identify potential problems and make an informed decision. While it is always recommended to hire a professional home inspector when possible, these tips can serve as a guide when professional services are unavailable. By taking the time to inspect a property thoroughly, homebuyers can have peace of mind knowing they are making a sound investment.

InspectNest Team