Checklist: How to prepare for a house inspection

June 3, 2021
  1. Property-specific criteria
  2. Macrolayer-specific criteria
  3. Microlayer-specific criteria
  4. The first inspection
  5. The second inspection
  6. Checklist for house inspections
  7. Eight questions for the seller
  8. What else you can do
  9. How useful are virtual house inspections?
  10. Do not let yourself be stressed

Are you looking for a house? If so, you've probably already thought about your dream house. There are some important factors to narrow down your search and not waste time looking at unsuitable houses: Property-specific criteria and macro- and micro-layer-specific criteria. The more of these criteria are met, the closer you are to your dream house.

Property-specific criteria

  • Age
  • Expansion
  • Property surface
  • Room volume
  • Standard
  • Living space
  • Rooms

Macrolayer-specific criteria

  • Attractiveness of the community
  • Attractiveness of the region
  • Land prices in the community or neighbourhood
  • Tax rate of the community and the canton
  • Transport connection
  • Business centres in the proximity

Microlayer-specific criteria

  • View
  • Sunlight
  • Distances to public transport
  • Shops in the proximity
  • Emissions (especially noise)
  • Kindergartens and schools in the proximity
  • Neighbourhood

Checklist for house inspection: Microlayer
Also pay attention to microlayer-specific criteria such as the view, sunlight or the distances to public transport.

The first inspection

Once you have found a house that meets most of the criteria that are important to you, arrange an appointment for inspection. This short inspection is not yet a detailed substance and condition analysis. Look at the house with your partner, perhaps with your children. But without experts analysing the house. It is too early for that. Now it's time to find out whether the house could become your dream house. Do you feel comfortable? Does the floor plan fit? Are the rooms big enough? Do you like the extension? What kind of impression does the neighbourhood make? In a nutshell: Do you and your family want to live here? Listen to your heart and your mind. If both say "yes", it's a matter of thoroughly checking the substance and condition.

The second inspection

Now you should listen more to your head than to your gut. Look for details that you might have overlooked at first sight. For example, a freshly painted wall in the basement that could be hiding mould. Check the building fabric from the basement to the roof. Especially all walls, inside and out, windows and doors, electrical installations, building services and house connections, water pipes and sewage pipes, heating and hot water system, isolation, the kitchen, the bathroom(s) and the guest toilet. If you are not a building expert, seek professional advice. The investment pays off in most cases. Especially if the expert should discover hidden defects.

Houzy Hint


Take enough time. Older houses or flats are usually sold "as seen" and any warranty claims, as far as legally permissible, are often waived. Serious sellers or estate agents do not mind a second inspection, even with a professional.


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Checklist for house inspections

A thorough inspection takes time. Nevertheless, take enough time, be critical and don't be fooled by first impressions. A checklist structures house inspections. On the one hand, nothing is guaranteed to be forgotten, and on the other hand, you can compare a house more easily with other properties. This is especially helpful when you are looking at different houses. You can download our "Checklist for house inspection" for free and save it as a pdf or print it out. With the checklist, you can prepare yourself optimally for the next inspection.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

After the inspection, you can analyse the renovation needs of the most important components with our renovation calculator. You can also estimate the costs, plan the timing and coordinate all the measures. Checklist and renovation calculator complement each other perfectly.

You can download our checklists for free and save them as pdf files

Eight questions for the seller

During the second inspection, also take time for questions. Many things are not visible at first glance, even to the trained eye. These questions will round off your picture of the house for you:

  1. Why do you sell the house?
    In this way, you clarify the motivation, the price pressure as well as the scope for price negotiations.
  2. Which shortcomings are you aware of?
    A serious seller answers honestly because otherwise he is liable for fraudulently concealed shortcomings.
  3. How did you renovate the house?
    The building envelope, doors and windows, the roof, the heating system and the building services are important.
  4. How high are the additional costs?
    Check the bills and ask for the building energy certificate of the cantons.
  5. Who lives in the neighbourhood?
    In this way, you can find out if there are other families with children living in the street, for example.
  6. Are there any building restrictions?
    This is important if, for example, you are planning an extension or want to convert the house.
  7. Which documents are still missing?
    Ask for documents missing from the dossier if you are seriously interested in the house.
  8. When will the house be available?
    The answer tells you more about the time pressure and the scope for price negotiations.

What else you can do

If you are seriously interested, you should ask the seller or estate agent for a complete extract from the land register as well as the cadastral and zoning plan. Also ask if there are any old building permits that you can use. It also makes sense to find out about local prices. The easiest and quickest way to do this is with our property valuation. With just a little information, you can estimate the market value of the house based on the prices of comparable properties in the region and compare it with other properties that interest you.  

How useful are virtual house inspections?

3D tours are useful for a first inspection. You can visit the house at any time, without making an appointment. Such virtual tours are sufficient for a first look, nothing more. They are particularly practical if you first want to get an overview of the market or are interested in several properties at the same time but have little time for several inspections. Thanks to three-dimensional floor plans and interior and exterior views, you get a good first impression of the property. If you like what you see, take a look at the house for real.

Do not let yourself be stressed

In the current market situation, the seller has the longer leverage. Especially if you are interested in a house in a sought-after location. Nevertheless, you should not allow yourself to be put under pressure. Neither in terms of time nor price. Sleep on it after the house inspection. It's a lot of money - and an important decision with consequences for you and your family. But if you prepare carefully for the inspection with our checklist, check all the points and ask all the questions, you can say "yes" relatively quickly. The important thing is that your heart and gut agree ...

Houzy Hint


Before signing the contract: Record all damages in the contract of sale and who will repair them or pay the costs. The contract is valid as soon as you and the seller sign it at the notary's office. After that, you can only withdraw from the contract if you can prove that the seller deceived you fraudulently.

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