If you decide to put an offer down...during the home inspection, be there when the home is inspected. Follow the guy around and ask tons of questions.
When we bought our first house, I learned so much about the house just by following the guy around and getting his two cents on everything. It's invaluable information he can give you. Don't just rely on his notes or his report.
Also, make sure he goes on the roof, inside the attic and in the crawl space if it has one.
Check the gutters. In our first house, the gutters didn't have leaf guards or anything on them...and they hadn't been cleaned out in forever. They were 3/4 full of sludge/leaves/shingle residue/etc. And half of the gutters on the house were about 20' in the air...and our roof was a hip roof, so it had gutters on all sides. It was the most miserable job to clean those damn things out. I installed gutter covers after I cleaned them out and after that we never had anything get in there, nor did we have any other issues with them in the 7 years we lived there...except for the fact it seemed to not have a downspout in an area that seemed to need one, so I ended up installing another one.
Poor gutter systems or clogged systems will lead to water getting into your house sooner or later. Make sure they aren't clogged or leaking...and make sure they drain far away from the house. 90% of wet basements are caused by bad gutters/downspouts.
When we built our house, we upgraded in areas that would be impossible/inconvenient or ridiculously expensive to to upgrade later. We used 2x6 studs for our exterior walls and used premium blown in fiberglass insulation (Optima) in the walls and we went R-60 blown in fiberglass in the attic (R-60 is the maximum recommended for our area: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=h ... tion_table
). Those are things that you can't see and probably don't think about, but are actually a big deal. Excellent insulation saves on heating/cooling costs and proper insulation in the attic reduces heat loss and prevents mold buildup and increases the life of your roof. If I were buying a house, I'd want to know what kind of insulation it has in the walls and attic and how many inches of insulation are in the attic, what the R-Values are, etc. And you can be sure that if we sell our place in the future, those are going to be listed amongst the features of the house.
2014-2015 Sponsor -- Blues Asst. Coach Kirk Muller