Table of contents
Send an email to the author

20 things to check when visiting a property

#Buying a property

Last update : 2023-12-06 14:09:44

Whether you're looking to buy a house, condo or duplex, the visit of the property is one of the most important steps in your decision-making process. This is where you have the opportunity to analyze the premises to determine if they meet your tastes and needs.

Despite its importance in a real estate transaction, the visit of a home can be a confusing and inconclusive step if you don't know what to look for. In addition to looking for possible defects, pay special attention to practical and aesthetic features that may influence your decision. The features you love or hate can make a big difference when you're undecided.

Here's a list of things to look for when you visit a property to help you make the most of your time there. You’ll be able to quickly get an idea of the property's condition and determine if it's right for you.

Home visit checklist: 20 essential points to consider before buying

Wooden swing in a garden

1. General condition of the house

Look at the property as a whole: does it look well maintained? The exterior can tell you a lot about the condition of a home. A house that looks good from the outside and whose owner seems to take good care of it is an encouraging sign. But be careful: this is no guarantee that you won't discover problems later!

2. The property

The condition of the land and its features are just as important as the house itself. Check if it's fenced in, if it's the right size for you, and if any aspects could be problematic. For example, a property that slopes toward the house could create a flood-prone situation. In this case, it's best to ask the owner for more information and to thoroughly inspect vulnerable areas such as the basement.

3. Exterior facades

Pay special attention to the home's exterior to look for signs of deterioration. Is the paint peeling? Are there cracks in the masonry? Visible signs of deterioration could indicate poor maintenance by the current owner or even more serious problems.

If they're minor and easily repairable, remember that you'll probably have to spend a little more time and money after you buy to fix them.

Orange roof

4. The roof

The roof is a very important part of the property. That's why it's important to make sure it's in good condition before you buy.

Look at the shingles. Are any missing or damaged? These are signs of deterioration that should not be taken lightly. Since the average life of a roof is twenty years, these signs of deterioration could mean that the roof is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

5. Foundations

If the foundations are visible, which is not always the case, look for cracks or other signs of damage. Many hidden defects are related to the foundation, so this is a priority area for inspection.

Whether visible or not, only an experienced home inspector will be able to identify potentially problematic aspects of the property's foundations and structure with certainty.

6. The deck

A beautiful wooden deck can add a lot of character to the exterior of a home. But it needs to be in good condition!

Does the deck look saggy? This could be a sign of poor construction or a problem in the composition of the soil. Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of the sagging.

Yellow armchair in a modern living room

7. Room layout and size

Evaluate the interior space with your plans in mind. Are the rooms large enough to hold all your furniture? Are the hallways too narrow for your taste? Does the kitchen have enough counter space to accommodate your culinary talents?

Consider the ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms. This is an important consideration that is often overlooked at the time of purchase. One bathroom for four bedrooms may not be enough for your family. It's worth considering before you become a homeowner.

8. Doors and closets

With the owner's permission, open all doors in the home, including closets and cupboards, to check that they work properly. Make sure that they close smoothly, that they are properly aligned with their frames, and that handles and hinges are securely in place.

9. The windows

Windows is another important aspect to check. They can tell you a lot about the condition of the house, including its insulation and humidity levels.

Look for condensation on the windows or peeling paint. This could indicate a problem with insulation or high humidity in the home.

Look for single, double, or triple-pane windows. Ask, if needed. Don't forget to open and close the windows to check for signs of damage.

The window inspection is also a good time to assess the brightness of each room in the house and determine if it's right for you. Keep in mind that rooms with south-facing windows will be the brightest.

Empty house

10. Floors

Look for irregularities and cracks in the floors. Also, look at the flooring in each room. Is it wood, ceramic, or carpet? Are they right for you and the rooms they are in?

11. Walls and ceilings

Look for signs of moisture and mould on walls and ceilings, especially in basements and naturally damp rooms such as bathrooms. Don't hesitate to have a professional inspect any signs you find to get a clear idea of the severity of the problem.

12. Storage space

Storage space is an important element to check during your visit. Make sure there's enough for your needs in each room, whether it's storing your dishes and small appliances in the kitchen or all your clothes in the master bedroom.

Modern bathtub in a grey bathroom

13. The electrical system

Pay close attention to the electrical panel: does it look in good condition? Does it look old or outdated? Even if your knowledge of the subject is fairly limited, a look at this element of the property can be revealing.

Also, check the number and location of electrical outlets in each room. Finding out after moving in that there aren't enough outlets is a frustration that can be easily avoided by focusing on this aspect during your visit.

14. Heating and air conditioning

What type of heating system does the home have? Is it electric, gas, oil or wood? Is it in good condition? Don't hesitate to ask the owner when it was installed and how much it costs to maintain.

15. Plumbing

Look under sinks and other easily accessible systems to inspect the plumbing and its materials. Make sure there are no leaks and that everything looks in good condition. Ideally, the pipes should be copper or PVC, not least because lead, formerly the material of choice for pipes, is much more expensive to repair.

16. The security system

If the house has a security system, it may be worth checking it out. Start by finding out if the system is included in the sale. If it is, ask for more details on how it works, when it was installed, etc.

Pillow on a sofa

17. Water pressure

Insufficient water pressure is a problem that can be very annoying, although not very serious. Fortunately, it's easy to detect when you visit the property by opening the taps, taking a shower or flushing the toilet. By doing so. you won't have any nasty surprises once you've moved in.

18. Environmental noise

As soon as you set foot outside the property, be on the lookout for annoying noises from the neighbourhood. Can you hear the freeway nearby? Is the neighbour across the street creating a cacophony of noise while working in his garage? These potentially disruptive noises need to be considered from the start. This could be your next home, so it's best to make sure you're comfortable.

Don't forget to check to see if you can still hear these noises once you're inside. This will give you a good idea of how well the house is soundproofed.

19. Cellular signal

If you're visiting a home that's far from the city, such as a country house or cottage, it may be a good idea to check the local cell phone signal. If it's weak or non-existent, it's a good idea to find out before you buy the property.

20. The possibility of renovation

During your visit, don't just see the house as it is. Try to imagine what it could be if you owned it. Can it be expanded to add an extra bedroom or garage? Can the wall separating the kitchen from the living room be knocked down to open up the space? Is there enough land to build the swimming pool of your dreams?

If there are aspects of the house you don't like, you may be able to unlock its full potential with a little imagination. On the other hand, you may find that the house you thought was perfect at first doesn't fit your plans.

Buying a home is a long-term commitment. That's why it's important to consider not only your current needs but also your future projects when you view properties.

The best advice for a smooth home tour is to take your time and see everything. Take a tour of every room, from the basement to the attic, not forgetting the garage and the grounds.

Read our Guide to buying a home for all the steps involved in buying a home, and don't forget to have your home professionally inspected before you become the new owner! 

Looking to buy a home? can help you find a real estate expert. When you tell us about your project, we put you in touch with qualified resources for free. Simply fill out our form (it only takes a few minutes) and we will connect you with professionals.

Do you want to be put in touch with real estate professionals and get quotes? Contact us at 1 833 203-7768

Find the professional you need

Find your real estate professional by filling out the short form

Fill out this short form

By submitting your project, you agree to our Terms of Use

Find a great professional for your needs - it's free and easy !