Let’s get the spooky questions out of the way first.
Has anyone ever been murdered (or died) in the house?
Is there an Indian burial ground under the house?
Now let’s get going…
Has a plane ever crashed into the house? A UFO? If yes, then buy the house, the odds this will happen again are practically nil.
If the house is wood, when was it last stained or painted? What kind of wood? What kind of paint or stain?
When was the roof last replaced? Did they rip the shingles or shingle over shingle? Any leaks? Missing shingles (could indicate improperly sealed shingles).
Windows? How old? Thermal properties? Leaks? How many windows? Do we really have to put curtains on EVERY window? Hurricane shutters?
Basement? Does it leak? No really, do you have a sump pump? What about radon? Have you tested for radon? Mold? Is there access to the house from the basement? Is the basement door secure?
Attic? Attic fan? Bats? Rats? Squirrels? No really, how many?
Gutters? Do they drain far enough away from house? How often do you have to climb up there to clean them out? Is the ladder included in the sale?
Age of water heater, furnace, air conditioner. Who do you have a maintenance plan with? You do have a maintenance plan right?
Are the built in appliances standard and easy to find parts for? I mean in the United States of America, preferably in my state.
Trees? How close to house? Are roots impacting driveway (yet), septic (sewer lines) or sidewalk?
Size of lawn? Do I have grass or something that is sort of green? Get lawn fertilization and cutting estimate for year. $500–750 for 1/2–3/4 acre of lawn for fertilization and about $1000/year for cuts.
Driveway? Paved? Concrete? If paved, last sealed? If concrete, cracks? Long driveway? How long does it take to shovel by hand?
Which way does house face (N,S,E,W)? Afternoon sun? Can I touch the side of the house without getting my fingers burned?
How many spigots? Where are they located? Can I turn these off for the winter in the basement? Show me.
Electrical outlets outside? GFI? Are the breakers in the basement labeled? How often does the community lose power?
Landscaping around foundation? Should be no deep rooted plantings around foundation. This will cause water pooling and possible foundation cracking.
Do you spray any of the trees or shrubs for bugs?
Does your neighbor have trees close to your property? Your house? Does your neighbor have crazy shrubbery that they spray? Does your neighbor maintain their property? Does he have cool tools you can borrow? Does he have any useful skills?
Township do trash pickup? What days? Do they have leaf pick up? Bulk trash days?
Does Santa come to the neighborhood or is it on the no fly zone?
When the snow plow comes do they push all the snow into my driveway? Do they ever come?
Do the police know about the neighborhood? Because they visit often?
How far is fire department from community? Does the town have a fire department or do I need to buy a longer hose?
How far is nearest playground? Is it too close? Will kids walk on my lawn? Will dogs shit on my lawn?
Where is the bus stop for the kids?
Does the neighbor have kids? Babysitting age?
Do the neighbors have dogs? What kind? How many?
Divorces pending in neighborhood? Should be about 50% for a normal community.
Assessments? Check the sidewalks — you are responsible for maintaining them and the township may come, repair them and then bill you.
Cost to insure house?
Am I in a flood zone? Does the community get cut off from civilization in a storm because of runoff? Snow drifts?
How close is the landfill? The Superfund site? The trains? The power lines?
Max/Average utility bills?
Cable or FIOS?
HOA fees? Are they fanatical? Do they expect me to participate in their yearly block party? Any crazy rules like I can’t park my truck with 3 wheels on the lawn? Can I keep a boat out front? Where do I park my cousin’s double wide? Do they allow chickens?
Are any of the neighbors convicted felons or a celebrity? Politicians? If felons, but no celebrities or politicians you may be ok.
If house has pool — age of pool, filter, heater? Skimmer work? Vinyl, plaster? How do you clean pool (robot, vacuum, pool boy)? # of gallons? Cover type? Age of cover? Full sun or part sun? Depth? Cost to open, close. Have you had problems with algae? Hard or soft water? Diving board? Check w/insurance for amount tacked on if diving board. Fence around pool? Condition of fence? Pool deck condition? How often do you add water in the summer? Filter type?
Route to work from house? Alternate routes?
What is your postal address? Can UPS and FedEx actually find your house? Where is your post office? Is your postman insane? Do you have a mailbox? Does it meet federal postal regulations (yes there are regulations regarding height and distance from curb)?
How close is Home Depot? The pizza parlor? Dry cleaners? Liquor store.
Is your house directly under a plane route to Newark airport? A UFO hotspot? Have any of your neighbors been abducted by aliens (recently)? Are any of your neighbors aliens? Hybrids?
I’m fairly sure that if you follow this roadmap you’ll never buy a house. Good luck.