Essential Pre-Property Checks to Perform
Buying a home, for many people, is one of the most significant and sizable purchases they will make in their lives, yet due to time pressure, research is today suggesting prospective buyers are often so time-pressed that they check out the property for an average of thirty minutes.
There are, of course, a number of background checks undertaken but these are often outsourced to surveyors and solicitors with much of the focus being on administrative issues and structural stability.
This article looks at a few areas you should strongly consider checking prior to purchasing a home that aren’t included within most standard home inspections. As an example, if you have reason to believe pests might pose a problem within the home you’re buying it is worth thoroughly checking for signs of rodents as you don’t want to have to call ABC Home and Commercial pest control services as soon as you move in!
Another area to look into, of course, is plumbing, as this is one of the most costly and overlooked areas of home maintenance. In part, this is because plumbing can be difficult to fully assess due to pipework being hidden and buried deep underground, however, there are ways to thoroughly inspect the plumbing of your property and it’s strongly advised that you do so. Here are four areas you should consider looking into before purchase:
You may wish to invest in a sewer inspection whereby specialist plumbers will come with a sewer camera to inspect the main sewer line. Drains clog for a reason and they do not fix themselves; this camera inspection is highly recommended, as if you know the condition of the sewer line prior to purchase you have the certainty of knowing all is well or the insight to negotiate a more informed price.
In short, a quick camera inspection of the sewer line could make you aware of a hidden and potentially costly issue prior to purchase that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The majority of water heaters are placed in areas that are out of sight. Unfortunately, leaks are only noticed because of visual evidence of water damage (such as water coming through the ceiling).
A professional plumber should be able to determine the age and whether it’s safely working. You also need to consider the size of the water heater and ensure it’s suitable for your needs. The investment required to obtain an efficient water heater is significant; so if the boiler does need to be replaced you may want to work this into your negotiations.
If a toilet is constantly running it could mean the chain or flapper needs to be replaced, and if a toilet is not draining properly it will lead to leaks. A leaking toilet will eventually rot through the floor – meaning, you have the potential to literally fall down the toilet.
Clogged drains are one of the most common issues plumbers are called on to resolve, as they are simply caused by built up oils, material like toilet paper, loose hair and so on. Whilst common, and seemingly simple, clogged drains can lead to serious leaks. To test a drain, turn on the water and let it flow for a few minutes. It should drain instantly and consistently. You should then look under the sink for signs of water damage, mould, and visible leaks.
There are a number of areas to inspect in addition to plumbing, on the basis you don’t want to buy a new home to then have tons of unexepected DIY repair work to undertake… but now, let’s take a look at a few less obvious things to consider during the initial property inspection.
- LIFE ESSENTIALS
Consider things such as whether your phone works in the property. This one is often overlooked to the lament of new homeowners everywhere. Do you have full reception or do you need to go in the garden and stand on one leg in order to be able to make a phone call? How about the speed of the internet? These little life essentials are becoming increasingly important in today’s world – and shouldn’t be overlooked.
How is the garden? Is it suitable for hosting outdoor parties and having friends over, or is it small and unsightly? Again, these little things are important particularly when you consider the fact you’re turning your purchasing a home rather than just a house.
- THE VIEW
A beautiful view is a nice to have, but more essentially, you want to be checking for strange structures or signs of heavy construction within the area – for what could be a nice view today, could in a few years, end up very different.
- THE SOUND
How does the property sound? Can you hear the neighbours arguing? Is there a busy road that will keep you awake at night… or a cockerel that’s sure to wake you up at the crack of dawn each morning?
- STAY NEARBY
Spend a night or two at a nearby hotel or an AirBnB in order to get a feel for the area; go to the local gym, peruse the shops, eat at the local takeaway – what’s the attitude and atmosphere of the location. How is the location and area after dark? How busy and congested are the roads in rush hour?
In summary, buying a new home is a significant investment and well worth a little extra research to ensure what you are buying is a good fit for your needs.