5 Essential things to look out for when viewing a property

At PestBuildLegals, we are huge advocates for ensuring that you get the best team together to ensure the best outcome when buying your home. Therefore, any quote that you receive through us is always from a provider that we have personally verified. But even before you get quotes for a pest or building inspection, there is one inspection that is vital, free, and that only you can do: the personal inspection!

So, what should you look for?

When you first attend a viewing, and you find yourself getting that special feeling of ‘this could be the place’, then it is important to take a deep breath, put your emotions aside and conduct what we like to call the “Personal Inspection”.

1. Structural issues and asbestos

Regardless of the date of the build, it is important to look out for the tell-tell signs of structural issues. Begin by looking out for signs of shoddy workmanship as well as signs of subsidence such as uneven flooring, cracks in the walls and ceilings, and rust to supporting frames. It is also definitely worth enquiring about the age of the property. Why? Because if it was built before 1990, it could potentially have asbestos, which is dangerous to your health and very costly to have removed.

2. Dampness

Be on the lookout for evidence of damp spots, watermarks and stains, as well as areas that seem to have very recently been repainted. Often, water damage and dampness can be covered by a fresh coat but will reappear within a few months, and by this time, this problem could be your problem, and so will the costs associated with fixing it.

3. Mould

Simply put, you do not want to live in a mouldy house. Not only is it detrimental to your health, but it can also be an indicator of greater problems lurking beneath. This could be anything from rising damp, inadequate ventilation, poor plumbing, or a leaky roof. Make sure that you check out ceilings, walls, floors and window frames for signs of damp. Also, do consider looking under furniture such as the dining room table, where evidence of mould may be hiding. Sure, you might not be buying the furniture, but it can indicate that there is a mould problem, and this will be the same mould that will eventually form on your furniture!

4. Termite and Pest activity

Look out for evidence of termite and borer activity. These are pests that either consume wood as a food source or bore into your dream home to make their own homes, often leading to structural issues. If your home is raised above the ground or on stilts, ensure that you look under the house for more obvious signs of this activity.

5. Wiring

Older homes can often have dated (and potentially dangerous) wiring. Have a look at the switchboards, wall points and any other electrical fittings that you can see and consider if they are adequate for your needs. Remember, older homes didn’t expect us to have quite the number of appliances that we have today. Older wiring and electricals are not a deal-breaker, but can be costly to update.

This might all sound like a lot of responsibility, but it really is up to you to ensure that you are not going down a path that will ultimately be expensive and lead to disappointment or worse. Before you buy your home, you will obviously do your due diligence and have pest and building inspections, but you do not want to wait for the experts to find what you might have been able to identify yourself. After all, if you end up walking away after negative pre-purchase inspections and reports, you will still have had to pay for them. Furthermore, you would also have invested a lot of time and emotional energy in the process. Sometimes you are better off simply moving on to the next property.

Written by Ben Saravia,  

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