Inspecting your own real estate is not a hard thing to do, but be aware that professional inspectors will often catch more than you will. However, a basic inspection of a property is something that any owner can do. If your property is an improved property (a property that has a building on it, rather than raw land) then you would start your inspection outside. Look around the base of the building for normal wear and tear. While you are looking at that, search for signs of insect infestation. This may take the form of termites, carpenter ants, beetles, and any number of other insect species. The best way to look for termites and carpenter ants is the sign of rotting wood. That wood may not be rotten after all, but a feast for a termite or carpenter ant colony. If you cannot see any insects and there are small holes in the wood that looks rotted, then chances are you have an infestation. If the wood looks rotten but without holes, it may be in need of a simple replacement. Often, a rotted piece will have a moist feel and a discoloration to it where an infested piece will have a dry feel with a grayish color, or no discoloration at all.
While you are outside, grab a pair of binoculars and take a look at your roof. Using binoculars will eliminate the need to walk on your roof and increases your safety. If you see an irregularity in the roof, such as roof tile that is not aligned with the others, or a bump in the roofline, then call some roofers for an estimate of what the problem is and their prices. Never call just one but at least three, and make sure they offer free estimates. Some roofers will charge for an estimate.
Make sure that all exterior plumbing is not leaking and that your soffit is intact. The soffit is that part of your roof that hangs over your walls. Pieces of the soffit that are missing or damaged will be an invitation for infestation by insects or rodents into your attic.
Moving inside, use a flashlight to take a good look at your window frames as they intersect with your walls. Look for signs of water damage or rotted wood. Also, check the drywall with your fingers to make sure it is dry. Wet drywall is not only a contradiction in words, but useless as drywall turns into putty when wet.
As you checked your plumbing outside, check it inside. Use your hand to check the pipes under the sinks to see if they are dry. Check your shower and bath fixtures to see if they are working properly.
As an addition, check your electrical outlets to see if they are in working order. You can purchase an electrical testing unit at a hardware store for about ten dollars, and it is perfectly safe to check those outlets. As always, use caution when check electrical plugs, and call a qualified electrician to fix anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Other items that you should routinely check are large kitchen appliances, exterior door locks, garage doors (if applicable) and window locks.
Doing a routine check of these items can save you money by catching a minor problem before it becomes a major problem.