Buyers November 23, 2021

What to Examine When Touring a Home

Before purchasing a home, touring it and examining every inch of it is essential. Although it may be tempting to focus on its beautiful features, it is important to keep often overlooked aspects in mind. This will really help you in the long run. 

Cracked Walls and Floors

A tiny crack in the drywall here and there isn’t too alarming. However, multiple large cracks in the walls and floors could be a bad sign. Sometimes, cracks in walls and flooring could mean serious structural damage or movement, indicating the foundation is shifting. Make sure to take note of any cracks you see while touring and follow up with your home inspector. 

HVAC System

The HVAC system in the house is something you’ll definitely want to ask about when first touring the home. Is the heat functioning properly? Does it have air conditioning? Related items include checking vents and fans installed in the home. Having to fix the HVAC system after you’ve purchased the home can become costly, especially if the system is antiquated. 

Unpermitted Additions 

There might be an extra bathroom or even a bedroom that wasn’t mentioned in the listing. Although extra spaces or rooms are a bonus, it’s important to ask if the new additions to the home are permitted and up to code. You don’t want to deal with unsafe spaces and/or costly, unforeseen modifications.

Roof and the Home’s Exterior

The exterior of the house is just as important as the interior. Does the roof have brown moss on it? Green moss is common here in the Pacific Northwest, but brown moss indicates it’s been there for some time. Moss can damage your shingles, encourage mold and bacteria growth, create thin spots in your roof, and can allow water to leak into your home. Look for any places where the roof has been patched up and see if there are any signs of leaks or damage. When touring the home, walk around the perimeter to really get a good look. Examine the roof and the gutters to see what condition they are in. Ask how old the roof is. It might be difficult for you to spot issues, so don’t hesitate to ask questions during the tour and when it’s inspection time.

Potential Pests

A home may look incredible at first glance, but there’s always a chance that there are pest issues. So, be aware of any signs that may indicate a pest infestation or issue when touring the home. Look for mouse droppings, damaged wood, or weird odors. If anything seems suspicious during the tour, ask about it. 

Touring the Neighborhood

Life happens outside of the home too. Look around the neighborhood to get a sense of what your life will be like if you purchase this home. Will this community fit your lifestyle and interests? Living near restaurants, a busy street, or a school may seem beneficial for different reasons, but you’ll also want to think about noise levels. If possible, tour the home at one time of day and return to the neighborhood at a different time of day to get a sense of what it will be like. Don’t be afraid to walk around and say hello to potential neighbors. Kitsap County is a friendly place. And, our local realtors are always happy to share information about our community. Additionally, you can use apps like Nextdoor to get to know the neighborhood better. 

Virtual Tours

If you’re unable to tour the home in person, virtual tours have become increasingly popular due to the pandemic. While it’s handy to view the home on your laptop or phone, it’s challenging to really inspect everything you normally would in person. Asking questions becomes even more important since the realtor or friend viewing the home for you must serve as your eyes and ears. Thankfully, we have you covered with these questions to ask during a virtual tour.


Buying a house is a significant investment. It’s important to go into this process with your eyes wide open. Ask every single question you have along the way. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The potential issues mentioned above could mean costly repairs and unforeseen expenses. Avoid that by trusting your instincts, and using a highly knowledgeable, local realtor who will be your trusted guide.