Things to look for on FIRST WALKTHROUGH

8 Replies


My wife and I are doing long distance buy and holds and we're going to spend a day in Michigan looking at a few properties next week.

Question: What specifically should I look for on first ever walk in?  My internal checklist has me combing the exterior for roof/gutter/siding damage, check the garage, inside check all flooring/ceilings/walls, how the house is heated, age of furnace/HWH, age/wear of appliances/showers/toilets, basement check for cracking walls/signs of water, attic - mold.

What's this rookie missing? I intend to take a lot of pictures.

  • Buy an outlet tester from the Hardware store for 5-10 bucks.  That way you can check for potential electrical issues.

Outlet Tester

  • Bring a long screw driver to poke at the rafters in the basement to find potential termite damage.   Also do a google search and familiarize yourself with what their mud tunnels look like.

@Joseph Blauwiekel  

Hey Joseph, the big things I look for are:

1. Roof condition

2. Style/age of windows.

3. Foundation.

4. Furnace/tank condition.

5. General cosmetic feel (how much is it going to cost to get this thing going?)

I'll head into a property and get a really good idea by looking at all of these things myself, and when I'm ready to buy I have my contractor go in and do a more complete check. 

But if it passed the first round with me, the vast majority of the time there are no major (aka $1000+ to fix) repairs to be done, unless it is some fluke thing.

Hope this helps and good luck in Michigan!

What areas are you going to be focusing on?

@Joseph Blauwiekel  Make sure check out things that you cannot control:

1.  How nice are neighbors house?

2.  Any barking dogs?

3.  Any power lines?

4.  Busy roads nearby?

Good luck! 

Good ideas above! I would also check for soft floors in the kitchen and baths, then hang out a little at night if possible to check the unfamiliar neighborhood in a different 'light'. 

Very exciting Joseph!  Keep us updated on how it goes.

Don't forget a flashlight!  If you can get up into the attic you can uncover a whole host of issues: electrical, HVAC, roof leaks, poor insulation.  

For distance investing it may be hard to get a good feel for the neighborhood.  The county should have a website with all sorts of information about the property.  I always check the Property Appraisers website prior to looking at a property.  You can get good comps there, check to see what permits have been pulled, what the property is zoned for, what improvements are planned nearby and much more.

There should also be a county or city site that will show crime statistics and complaints properties in the area.

Just my 2 cents, best of luck!

I like to take a look at the electrical system,  Is it Fuses or Breakers &  Plumbing system,  Is it Steel, Copper or Pex?    I have upgraded many homes to Breakers and copper/Pex plumbing.  Sometimes these 2 can get over looked. 

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