The idea of making money on a home is a very positive and uplifting feeling, yet we are often more motivated to make sure we don’t lose money, than we are to make it.
Yet, when it comes to property, it can be so easy to lose money in a “bad deal” as a result of not fully investigating the property – then, upon purchase, we find there are a number of hidden issues that suggest we have paid over the odds and are now burdened with a property nightmare that causes a financial headache – particularly if finances are tight.
Of course, the traditional surveys pick up a lot of issues, yet they aren’t exhaustive and in that vein it can be useful to undertake more thorough checks, for instance ArgyllEnvironmental are specialist contaminated land consultants that can undertake far more extensive checks than those mandated by your mortgage provider or insurance company.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a number of things to look out for when buying a property to ensure you don’t lose money or make a risky purchase:
You can normally smell damp as soon as you enter a property, but the smell associated with damp is only usually present when things have advanced to the point that the property has been so affected by damp it smells musty. The point being that just because a house doesn’t smell of damp, it doesn’t mean the house is not suffering with issues pertaining to damp.
You’ll therefore want to check the ceilings, windows and walls for the early signs of damp, or patchy repairs that indicate previous leaks. The issue with a “previous leak” is that whilst the ceiling might have been plastered and painted, the floorboards and wooden beams might have not been replaced, meaning they could be rotten.
The bathroom is one of the least checked areas when it comes to viewing a house, yet there can be a number of hidden issues that are costly to fix lurking in the bathroom.
Ultimately, you’ll want to check around the base of the toilet to make sure the floor isn’t spongy or wet. If it feels uneven or soft, then there’s a problem, similarly if the toilet rocks or wobbles there’s an obvious problem too. Indeed, the problem could be so substantial that you could quite literally fall down the toilet – as many houses with water damage around the base of the toilet have found themselves falling through the ceiling!
Of course, it isn’t usually that dramatic or “You’ve Been Framed” worthy, but toilet issues can be much more serious than replacing the chain or flapper – so be sure to check around the base of the toilet, for if a toilet has had a chronic leak, it’s possible structural damage will have occurred.
On the topic of toilets, it can be worth checking the sewer line for blockages or excessive wear and tear. The reason for this, is that if the sewer line gets damaged it can have very serious (and smell) consequences, plus it can cost a fortune to replace – yet, as the pipes are buried underground you can’t usually work out their state of disrepair.You may, therefore wish to invest in a sewer inspection whereby either a specialist plumber will come with a sewer camera to inspect the main sewer line, or you could watch YouTube and create a sewer camera yourself.
If it is partially blocked, then it won’t fix itself, action will need to be taken in order to prevent a possible collapse due to deterioration… this would cost a lot of money and involve significant disruptive repair work to take place.
Drains clog for a reason and they obviously don’t fix themselves once clogged – therefore, a sewer line inspection is recommended prior to purchase, because if it is blocked then you should work this into your negotiations; either for them to have this fixed prior to signing the contract, or to reduce the price on the basis this is something you will have to have resolved.
In summary, there are, of course, many more issues that could mean you lose money on property – from legal and financial issues to local development (e.g. a nuclear power plant being built nearby in a few years time) but these are things you can usually find out about from doing due diligence, whereas these plumbing issues are something that doesn’t tend to get picked up on most inspections – therefore, it’s your job to ensure you thoroughly check out the entire property.