Buying a home means making absolutely certain that the property is thoroughly checked from “top to bottom”, and every existing issue, present or future, properly addressed lest you end up buying a lemon of a house and spending thousands for repairs, if it can be repaired.

When checking the property yourself, you might want to give the following points a closer look to save you from a potential disaster or help you decide whether this is the property of your dreams.

* Cracks in the walls
Fissures in the walls that are more than 2mm wide merits concern and further investigation because these would indicate structural issues that could cost the buyer a pretty penny to have it fixed.

* Water damage and/or mould
Be on the lookout for stains and watermarks, they’re often painted over, a common enough visual trick to hide the damage, but can hardly cover the distinct, mildewy smell of mould. So, watch and sniff. Problem areas are usually found in the corners of a room, the interior of cabinets, and around pipes and sinks.

* Sagging ceiling
A defect on the ceiling could be a sign of a leaking roof that could be a physical threat as well as an expensive repair.

* Gutters and downpipes
Leaks, rusts, warps, and holes are sure signs of overflowing gutters that can cause a lot of expensive damage to the property. Discharge from drain pipes shouldn’t be pooling on the ground, replacements for these are expensive.

* Check and test the plumbing
Look for leaks and rusts. Test the for pressure, drainage, and drips. Plumbing problems can be very pricey, and unless you have the money for repairs, you have to give this purchase a serious thought.

* Sticky doors
This could mean serious damage and serious expenditure. Sticky doors are signs of movement or subsidence.

* Sticky windows
Windows that don’t open or close properly may have warped or rusted frames that sellers usually hide under a fresh coat of paint. Rotten wooden window frames would feel soft to the touch when pressed down.

* Insulation
Ask if the roof and the walls are insulated and check the condition of the insulation. Good insulation saves money on power bills and it sound proofs the house.

* Pests
Watch out for termite damage, sagging, springy floors and hollow beams are a dead giveaway. Droppings and bite marks are signs of rat infestation, not to mention other creepy crawlies that are lurking beneath the floors and behind the walls...ugh! If you are seriously considering buying a house, a professional inspection is in tall order.

* Wiring
Old wirings need to be replaced, especially in older houses and a complete information on the state of such should be fully disclosed by the agent.

* Hot water system
Check the unit for leaks and rusts and ask for its age, service history, and energy rating.

Now, if you find that after your inspection you still are very much interested in buying the property, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Call the experts and have the property properly inspected and evaluated. Discuss your personal notes and concerns from your own inspection and proceed from there.

Professional reports can be used in negotiating for a better price.