House buyer beware: 3 things to check

When buying a new home, you'll want to arrange for a property inspection but you can do your due diligence as well. Here is a list of few common problem spots to check before purchasing.

House buyer beware: 3 things to check

How to inspect the rooms

  • Check interior walls for mold, which could be a sign of poor ventilation, poor airflow or excess humidity.
  • Turn out any lights that may be on, and you'll be able to see how dark a room looks without artificial light.
  • Make sure there are enough power outlets in each room. You may want to ask your inspector what the building code requirements are for outlets.

Be careful of wet areas

  • Check kitchens and bathrooms with particular care as renovations in these areas are expensive and are usually not in the budget of home buyers within the first few years.
  • Check for deterioration of finishes and wood.
  • Have a look inside kitchen cupboards. It will give you a good indication of how the homeowner maintains the rest of the house.
  • Plumbing or dampness problems are often readily apparent under the sink cupboard.
  • Also look for mold, which could be an indication of poor ventilation. If there are fans and rangehoods to extract steam ensure that they do not discharge into the roof or wall cavities.
  • Have a close look at the shower screen and inside the shower for cracks or signs of leaks. If possible, a look under the shower is also useful to check for leaks.
  • If the house is an old one, check that the laundry has power outlets and dual taps for a washing machine.

Signs of a bad floor

  • Check all accessible supports for evidence of termites or borers. In regions where termite activity is common, this natural form of wood recycling may be well underway.
  • Note any undulations in floors or excess creaking in the boards. Bear in mind that traditional enclosed porches often had sloping floors for shedding rainwater.

Avoid major house problems and expensive repairs. Keep these tips in mind and complete a quick check of the house before you make an offer.

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