By Alan Brady.

When looking to buy a house,  you’ll always need to hire a professional inspector in order to obtain a mortgage. When you’re first out looking for a house to buy you’ll want to be aware of a few of the most important safety concerns that a house might have, and how you can find them, so that you don’t waste your time on a house that the inspector will later warn you away from anyway. Here are the most important things to check.


Before you enter the house, go and take a walk around the outside. Take note of any large trees that are close to the house. Massive root systems can lift up the ground under the foundation of the house and destabilize it. Additionally trees with large branches hanging over the house pose a risk. As the tree ages branches will grow larger and eventually die off, which can result in one falling onto and breaking through your roof. Also examine the exterior walls for any obvious cracks or mold.


The crawlspace is a good litmus test for the general health of the house. Always ask to see it and bring a flashlight with you. You don’t need to crawl down there necessarily, just poke your head down and shine the light everywhere that you can see. Inhale and smell the air for anything strange. Everything should look dry and relatively unremarkable.

Living Room

If the floor is not carpeted it should be relatively easy to spot any warping or in the floor. Discoloration in on the walls, carpet, or ceiling, or bubbling and peeling paint mean that there is moisture in your walls and floor. This can mean mold, which is extremely hazardous, and even deadly to the young, old, and sickly. What it definitely means is that there is water damage to the home, probably meaning rotted wood, and eventual loss of structural integrity in the home, which is dangerous as well as extremely expensive to fix.

Kitchen and Laundry Rooms

Open all of the cupboards and check them for mold or strange smells. Turn on the water and give it a taste test to see if there is anything obviously wrong with it. Open the cabinet underneath the sink and check to make sure none of the pipes are leaking and that everything looks to be in good order.


Bathrooms are especially prone to molding and water damage. Turn on the water to make sure that everything drains properly. Turn on the fan to ensure that it works and moves a sufficient amount of air. Closely examine the toilet, the sink, the piping underneath the sink, and every nook, cranny, and corner that you can find.


An important rule of thumb is to go by your nose. Many of the problems that a house can have are related to decomposition, mold, or pests, all of which smell fairly unpleasant. Another thing to keep in mind is to open and close all of the doors that you come across. If any of them don’t open or close properly a part of the house may have shifted and the ground that it’s sitting on might be slowly moving.

Alan Brady is a real estate and financial enthusiast who loves to blog about personal finance, renting, home ownership and responsible practices for mortgage lawyers for