Conquering the Real Estate Walk-Through Inspection: Part I
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Conrad_Miller]Conrad Miller
As real estate investors, we all know that the initial walk-through is crucial in determining the true value of a property. Sometimes this the only chance we will have to actually go to the property and take a good look around, so it is important that we know exactly what to look for and document all we see. In this article I will lay out the things an investor or buyer should look at when doing a visual inspection of a property.
To start off, anyone doing a property inspection needs a few basic tools. You will need a camera or camcorder (or both), a flashlight, some type of check-off sheet so that you can make notes as you walk through the house, and it would not be a bad idea to also have a pocket tape measure. (This way, if you come across cracks or gaps in walls, ceilings, or the foundation, you can easily measure their size.) If you are so inclined, having one blank copy of a contract and other important forms stashed away in your vehicle or binder is also smart.
It is critical to remember that as you perform the inspection, you should be constantly taking pictures or videotaping the walk-through: you want access to a pictorial walk-through simply by looking at the photos. When taking these photos, keep in mind that you want to take "Pretty Pictures" to show to potential buyers, and "Ugly Pictures" to justify your offer price. Also photograph anything that would lend extra value to a property (perhaps a beautiful in-ground pool) or detract from its worth (such as an old shed that must be knocked down).
As you approach the house at the start of your inspection, you should be focusing on the exterior of the building and the roof. Does the roof need repairs? How old is it? Does it leak anywhere? What condition are the gutters in? It is easiest to cross things off your list as you walk around the home. Look at the foundation - any cracks, gaps, or structural inconsistencies? If the house is sided, note the condition of the siding, and what kind of upkeep it may require - anything from a good power-washing to complete replacement. You should keep an eye on windows and doors and record whether they may need repair or replacement. It is wise to notice if the building needs exterior paint, as this would be an added expense. Do not forget to take detailed pictures of everything! You need your Pretty and your Ugly pictures to validate your offer, and to prove that problems existed when you completed your initial walk-through. (Sometimes homeowners will try to cheaply cover up the pitfalls of their property after you have seen it and then try to claim that you are making up problems in order to low-ball them.)
Once you have completed the outside inspection of the house, head inside and start to document the interior of the structure. Structurally, you need to look at walls, ceilings, floors, and anything else that may be a concern. You want to keep an eye out for cracks, dents, holes, and seams that are coming apart. Even if it is the simplest issue of some tape cracking away from the sheetrock, it needs to be addressed before you try to resell the property. Take pictures of the ceilings, staircases, and bathroom fixtures. Also look at the windows from the inside, as they can tell a different story from what you saw outside. As you walk through the home (taking your pictures or video!), you should note what kind of heating and air conditioning systems are used, and find out if they work. I recently did a walk-through on an older house in which the actual heater in the basement had not been turned on in 12 years! The family living there used a central wood-burning stove to heat the home, and jury-rigged a bunch of ductwork across the ceilings into individual rooms. This solution worked okay for them - disregarding the eyesore - but it is a serious code and safety violation and would never pass inspection. Obviously, the heater would need to be replaced because it had sat dormant for so long. Note whether the house will need interior paint or trash removal; ask about the plumbing; check out the floors in every room, taking pictures of all problems. As you tour, take notice of the appliances and fixtures in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms. Are they up-to-date? Up-to-code? In good condition? Are they broken or missing? These things all need to be photographed and documented so that you can reach accurate figures when appraising.
Please see the continuation of this article to find out the rest of what you need to know before your next walk-through!
My name is Conrad Miller; I am a real estate investor, entrepreneur and small business owner in southeastern PA. My company, Terra Proficio Inc., specializes in wholesaling both ugly and pretty homes as well as rent-to-own and lease/purchase options. Our webpage for those seeking to purchase a home is http://www.terraproficiowholesalers.com and for those who may have a home they need to sell fast is [http://www.letconradbuyit.com]http://www.letconradbuyit.com. We are often able to close in as little as 7 days, depending on the circumstances. We are willing to look at ALL situations; negative equity, pre-forclosure, and properties that require extensive renovation are all okay with us. Contact us via our webpages for more information.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Conquering-the-Real-Estate-Walk-Through-Inspection:-Part-I&id=6875982] Conquering the Real Estate Walk-Through Inspection: Part I