Wholesale Real Estate Property Walk-Through Checklist: What to Do and Look For

​Many wholesalers get nervous when looking at a property for the first time, and I'm here to tell you there's absolutely no reason it should worry you. The common misconception is that the homeowner will start rifling off questions you don't have the answers to, which doesn't happen.

Let me ask you something... Have you ever personally bought a house? Have you rented a house? Apartment? Chances are you have for yourself or a family member, so why is this any different? (It's Not). Listen, if the property owner responded to your marketing, gave you information about the house over the phone, and then agreed to let you come walk through the property, then they want to sell, so stop worrying and be excited!!!​

​Don't worry about negotiating, estimating rehab costs, or anything else during the inspection. You only have three objectives while at the property.

#1 Taking Pictures - Lots and lots of pictures! You'll need them to look back at while calculating your rehab costs, and you'll also be sending them to your potential buyers so they know precisely what the property looks like and have a clear understanding of what repairs are needed.

#2 Building Rapport - Make small talk and be friendly; people are more likely to do business with someone they like, so be your most charming self.

#3 Asking Questions - Remember on the phone when you were asking about their situation with the house? Keep it up! You need to know what's motivating them to sell the property. Did they inherit it? Have a lousy tenant, run out of money to fix it up, get relocated, divorced... As a professional real estate wholesaler, it's your job to be a detective and find out what motivates them to sell.

Oh yeah, Be Prepared!

You're a professional real estate investor now, so don't go into this all willy-nilly. Take time to prepare so that when you show up at the house, you have everything you might need, and you'll look a lot more professional. Now let's take a look at your home inspection checklist...​

  • Business Cards - Shows that you're a professional
  • Camera - Have a smartphone that takes quality pictures or a nice digital camera
  • Flashlight - Small & Bright, I use a tactical light that fits in my pocket nicely
  • Pen & Note Pad - Again, a small notepad you can carry in your coat pocket works well
  • Pocketknife - Comes in handy for pulling up the carpet so you can check for hardwood floors and who knows what else
  • Screwdrivers / Small Cordless Drill - For removing plywood if the house is boarded up or whatever else comes up
  • Purchase Agreements - In case they're motivated and want to sell right now!
  • Option Agreements - In case they're motivated and want to sell right now! (but you're not so sure you can assign it)
  • Dress appropriately - Casual dress such as nice pants and a polo shirt is always a good choice (dressing in a hand-tailored suit to buy houses in a low-income area might not be the right choice, just like wearing a t-shirt and shorts wouldn't work for higher-income areas, just use common sense)

Be On Time!

It should go without saying (but I'll say it anyway) show up to the house on time so the owner isn't waiting for you. I get out of my car when they show up and say you must be (seller's name) while reaching out to shake their hand. After that, hand them a business card and engage in a minute or two of small talk about the drive over, traffic, or whatever.

​Then I typically pull out my camera and say if you don't mind, I'm going to take some pictures as we walk through so I can: "show them to my partner" "and go over them later with the contractor that does my repairs" or "review them later, I look at so many houses sometimes I forget which is which" (choose whichever works best for you)."

The Inspection

I've probably inspected over a thousand houses for myself and the investors I've rehabbed properties for, and I've found it easier to take a ton of pictures rather than trying to fill out a checklist while I walked through a house. When you go to inspect a property, I suggest that you do the same, so below is a basic outline of my process.

Exterior Pictures:

  • Front of Property - Usually three different angles (right angle, center, left angle).
  • Address Plaque - For property identification purposes.
  • Street View - Good for showing potential buyers what the surrounding houses look like.
  • Sides of the house - For displaying general condition and window quality.
  • Back of house - Again, try to get different angles.
  • Roof - Front and back, zoom in to show any signs of damage.
  • ​Air Conditioning Unit - If Installed.
  • Garage - Front, sides, back, roof, and garage floor.
  • Driveway - From the garage towards the street, from the street towards the garage.
  • Sidewalk - From the property line looking one way, then from the other property line looking back.
  • (Take pictures of any damage or items of concern, i.e., cracked cement, broken windows, rotten railings, broken stairs, or any other damage you observe)

Interior Pictures:

  • Living Room - Floor, ceiling, and a picture from each side of the room facing the opposite direction.
  • Dining Room - Same as above.
  • Bedrooms - Same as above.
  • Family Rooms / Bonus Rooms - Same as above.
  • Bathroom - One picture from the doorway and photos of the tub, shower, sink, toilet, and any damage you notice.
  • Kitchen - Floor, ceiling, cabinets (check for damage), countertop, back-splash, and any damage you notice.
  • Stairways - Going to the second floor and basement.
  • Attic - If you have access, check for signs of roof leakage.
  • Basement - Walls (looking for signs of water damage).
  • Plumbing (check to see if it's all there).
  • Electrical (check to see if it's all there).
  • Furnace - Pictures to show condition.
  • Hot Water Tank - Pictures to show condition.
  • Electrical Panel - Picture to show if the electrical panel has been updated.
  • Basement Windows - Pictures to show the condition
  • (Take pictures of any damage or items of concern, i.e., holes in walls, light fixtures, lousy flooring, or anything that will cost money to repair)

I know what you're thinking. That's a lot of pictures! Yep, it is... Every day I see wholesalers send out deals with only a handful of photos, and that's not the way to do it. Set yourself apart from the crowd by sending investors all the information and pictures they need to make a buying decision, and you'll sell more deals and be seen as a true professional.

Here's an example of what your pictures should look like.

Sample Inspection Photos

Mission Complete!

Once you've walked the property, taken your photos, collected your information, and built more rapport, it's time to head back to your desk and figure out your offer. Don't feel pressured into giving them an offer right then and there; say you'll sit down and crunch some numbers and give them a call tomorrow. Be polite, thank them for showing you the house, and be on your way...

​As you can see, this isn't as scary as most people think it will be; honestly, doing a property walk-through is a breeze once you've done it a time or two, so relax and have fun doing it. (it's all about the journey)

Video Walk-Through

Property Walk-Through Recap

  • Don't stress about it. You've walked through houses before.
  • Be prepared with all the tools you'll need.
  • Show up on time.
  • Build rapport.
  • Ask Questions & find their real motivation.
  • Take tons of photos.
  • Thank them and tell them you'll be in touch.

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estate wholesaling


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