The purpose of your personal inspection is only to eliminate those properties from consideration that have too many obvious deficiencies. It is not designed to take the place of a professional house inspection. If a house passes your initial "tests" (location, wants and needs, etc.) you will probably want to schedule a second showing where you can spend an hour or so doing an inspection of the house.
Your Personal Inspection: What To Look For
Foundation: Are there obvious cracks? Any apparent shifts in the foundation?
Roof: Does it appear new, old, or of an indeterminate age? What is the overall condition?
Evidence of leaks: Check inside as well as outside. Check all ceilings and areas around windows.
Basement or crawlspace: Is there dampness? Is there adequate insulation?
Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look?
Quality and workmanship: In general and in any additions
Apparent energy efficiency: Does the house appear tightly sealed?
Electrical: Any obvious malfunctions?
Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions?
Appliance condition: What is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher, refrigerator (if included), etc.?
Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job heating or cooling?
Exterior: Is the house going to need repairs or paint soon?
Lot: Does the drainage appear good and away from the house?
Lot: Are there any trees encroaching on the roof or foundation?