Evaluation List: Before You Make an Offer on the House

Evaluation List: Before You Make an Offer on the House

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evaluation listOnce you become interested in a home, it is difficult to make an informed decision because emotions get in the way. Using an evaluation list will let you push the emotions to one side. What you find due to the evaluation list can affect how you phrase your offer and what requests you might make for repairs. It can give you a sense of whether you’re buying the Money Pit.

This evaluation list is not a substitute for hiring a home inspector. You will still need them to check out the house thoroughly during the due diligence period. You want to be sure that you know exactly what you are buying, and a professional who works for you is the best way for that to happen.

Structural Problems

  • What is the condition of the interior walls?
  • What are the floors and underflooring made of, and what is their condition?
  • Look at the state of the roof.
  • What is the condition of the gutters, downspouts, flashing, and facia?
  • Do the doors and windows keep out the weather?
  • Can you open the windows easily?


  • Check for signs of water problems in the basement around the foundations.
  • Note indications of too much moisture on the walls like mildew, or a dark, scaly-looking surface
  • Move rugs around and use your nose to lead you to moist places.
  • Look at the ceilings and around dormers for signs of leaks.
  • Make note of any bubbling in the ceiling, or brown spots, patches or new paint.
  • Check the drainage outside around the foundation.
  • Does the land slope toward the house or away from the house?
  • Do the drainpipes deposit water away from the foundation?
  • Are there a lot of plants growing out of the foundation?
  • Are there cracks?

Interior Environmental Hazards

  • Look for asbestos coating on pipes for the heating system, the furnace, and water heater
  • Make a note to get the basement tested for radon
  • Make a similar note for carbon monoxide gas
  • Look for signs of vermin and insects, such as mice, termites, cockroaches, and bats
  • A city inspector or other inspector should determine if the house has lead-based paint


  • How long does it take hot water to get to the shower?
  • Do you like the way the toilet flushes?
  • How’s the water pressure in the bathroom and kitchen?
  • Does the water temperature in the shower change when you flush the toilet?
  • Is there a water softener?
  • Do the drains seem slow?
  • How old is the water heater?
  • Can you read the temperature controls?

Electrical Systems

  • How much action can the electrical system handle?
  • Does the box connecting your house to the electric line have fuses or circuit breakers?
  • Are the electrical sockets upgraded to take grounded plugs?
  • Are there mystery switches where nothing seems to happen when you switch them?

Kitchen Appliances

  • What is the condition of the kitchen range, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher?
  • Will they be sold with the house?
  • Does it have a pilot light or an ignition starter if the house has a gas range?
  • Does the oven door close securely?
  • How much control do you have over the flame?


  • Where are the lot lines?
  • Is the landscaping adequate?
  • What condition is the garage in?
  • Are there other out-buildings?
  • Are the fences, patio, and deck in good repair?
  • What is the condition of the exterior siding?
  • Find out if the siding is synthetic stucco.

For more great evaluation lists and tips for buying a home, give us a call. We’d love to help you find the house of your dreams.

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