A major worry of prospective home buyers is that they will purchase a property with some unexpected caveats to its livability. A home is a major purchase, and unexpected maintenance problems can put easily put you out tens of thousands of dollars. Shelling out a few hundred dollars for an experienced and skilled home inspector is some of the best money you will ever spend.

However, no home inspectors are not perfect, and paying a home inspector every time you are considering a property can quickly put you out a significant amount of money. Thankfully, you can learn a few tips which can help you to make an educated guess about the quality of the house.

Sizing up the seller is one of the bets things you can do when looking to understand if a house was well taken care of. While you may not meet them, you will almost certainly see some things which will allow you to begin to get an idea of their tendencies and character. Are they clearly meticulous and conscientious? Do they have the financial wherewithal to maintain the property? If the seller appears to be unreliable, they may not have been particularly reliable in their efforts to maintain the property.

Second, do a brief inspection of the home features. It is probable that everything has been recently been made over in the attempt to sell. So there shouldn’t be things like chipping paint or dirt anywhere. However, other things are more difficult to fix. Put the house through its paces. If you are seriously considering buying the house, take the time to run water from every spigot, check things like electrical outlets, and open doors and windows fully. Doors that don’t open smoothly, or bathroom fixtures which are too loose or too tight could be a major sign that the owner does not put much effort into maintaining the property. When running the spigots, flush the toilet and run several at once. See if the water pressure drops.

Finally, ask the seller for a log of maintenance done. If they have a well-documented history of frequent maintenance, the house is likely in great condition. However, if they have sparse documentation, or their documentation is all very recent, it is likely that the house may have been poorly maintained. Don’t use any of these things to make a final judgement, but if you believe that a house was poorly maintained, it might be better to save your money on the inspection.