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What do I look for when I preview a home?



When purchasing a home, you need to pay close attention to the age of the major appliances. When I work with buyers, as I am showing the home, I focus directly on the four "big ones"....Roof, Heating/Air, Plumbing and Electrical. The reason to go directly to these items is they will become the focus of the insurance company. Your insurance company will most likely require you to have a 4-Point inspection--of which these items will be required to "pass". This inspection is different than a comprehensive home inspection. Your 4-Point inspection is done by/for the insurance company so they know the current condition of these items.

The roof typically must have 5-7 years of life left according to the inspector, usually based on the permit/installation date. Three tab roofs seem to be easer to spot as "worn out" because they will typically curl at the edges and sparkle in-between the tabs as an indicator.

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The Heating/Air unit usually must be in clean working condition. Some loans require the unit to be "Central" not window units.

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With the plumbing they are typically looking for the type of piping they used for the supply and waste lines and the hot water heater. The piping that is generally frowned upon on the supply side is Polybutylene which was frequently used from 1978 to 1995. It has a tendency to burst and fled the home.

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On the waste side it is cast iron piping that is generally not what is preferred--these pipes were used up to 1978. (

On the hot water heater, the insurance companies will usually allow a functioning hot water heater that is no older than 15 years old.

Electrically speaking, they will be looking in the electrical panel for copper wiring (NOT ALUMINUM) to feed the smaller loads and stranded aluminum to feed your larger loads. They will also be looking to make sure you have circuit breakers not fuses.

On the circuit breakers that would be looking to make sure you did not have any double tapped breakers. Meaning you have one breaker supplying two separate feeds...two wires jammed under a screw that was only designed for one wire. (

Are their other items I am looking for as well? YES...but these Items are the items the insurance company is going to hit hard. I focus on these to hopefully save you money and heartache--it benefits you to know, up front, if the home has items that are going to fail their inspection. If you know what these items are initially, you will be able to reduce the chances that you will continue with the purchase (and subsequently pay $500-$600 for an inspection) and possibly get results that would prevent you from purchasing the home and wasting that inspection money. These items can often be flushed out during the initial preview of the home and/or found in the disclosures.


Skip Geiser

Plum Tree Real Estate Marketing


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