When looking to a buy a house, you hopefully are planning to get an inspection report. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to order an inspection on every house that you’re interested in. But if you are seriously considering a house, you should get an inspection. You actually should have more than one home at a time that you are interested in.
Narrow your options down to three, or at least two. Issues arise during inspections, and you want to be sure you have a backup in case you detect major problems within the house during the inspection. After all, you’ll need a safety net. You’ve likely already sold your house and are waiting until you find another before you move. The process will be completely held up if you were banking on one house, and it falls through. Read: Don’t Buy That House: Potential Red Flags to Homebuyers.
The inspector is the one who will find and divulge any issues with the house. Nonetheless, it is important that you yourself also be on the watch for any red flags. There are things that should raise your attention before you even get an inspection. For example, look for any staining on the ceilings in the home. Ceiling stains almost always mean previous, or current water damage. Bear in mind that water travels, so just because you see a stain in one spot does not mean that the damage is limited to that one area. See: Beware of These Home Inspection Red Flags.
Realize that if the owner claims certain appliances are not working, there’s likely an issue going on there. Ask them to fix the appliance. That will give you a good indication as to whether they are telling the truth, or if there is one huge source that has failed within the home that will not allow the appliance(s) to run.
Also keep watch regarding the floors. Floors are a clear indication as to whether or not water damage is present. If there is or was water damage, you’ll see buckled floors, if they are laminate. Water causes the glue to deteriorate, and the boards are no longer able to be kept together. Cracked tiles will also indicate the same issue. Always note any mildew throughout the house, but especially when it comes to the basement. You do not want to move into a home that has water damage problems in the basement. For further reading, see this article on the Top 10 Red Flags for Homebuyers.