House Inspections: what to look out for
House is a building for human habitation, especially one that consists of a ground floor and one or more upper storeys. Getting a house can be very exciting and for some an emergency.
Living in Nigeria, you need to be careful when getting a house. Don’t just see a property online and call the seller, then make a payment.
You have to do the proper diligence on the rightful owner of the property, what type of tenancy/ or the necessary documents to prove you as the new owner.
There are some things we fail to do when going for a house inspection. In Lagos for example you need to be very careful and certain about the house you are getting.
House Inspections: what to look out for
There are some things you should look out for when going for a house inspection like:
The Structure of the House
The structure of a house is the most important thing to look out for during an inspection. This is because if there is something structurally wrong with the home, it could be financially devastating, especially if you find out after buying.
This is why it is advisable not to buy a house that is not structurally sound unless you are an investor looking to renovate the home, then you may be able to purchase the home for an extreme discount.
The structural elements of a home are the foundation, crawl space, slab or basement, framing, roof, and walls.
For the most part, almost all homes have strong structural components but then certain things could cause structural issues such as natural disasters, poor construction, poor drainage, and settling.
The Exterior of the House
An inspection of the exterior paint should check whether there’s bubbling or peeling. It is also important to check other exterior fixtures, such as the condition of the ornamental trim, the rain gutters, the fences, sheds, decks, detached spaces, and garage retaining walls.
Ensure that they are in good condition and are free of termite damage especially if these structures are made from wood. Also, if there are gaps in the exterior walls, they should be checked for insects and pests. This would help you know the extent of repair that would be needed for the exterior.
During an inspection, it is important to notice if any trees or structures are overlapping the property. This could cause serious problems for potential homeowners because it could damage the roof, leading to leakage. Look at the roof lines to check if they are straight and free from deflections.
The interior areas of a property may seem the most straightforward but then it is important to check certain things such as the rooms; get to know their measurements and if they are well ventilated, are there adequate electrical outlets in the rooms?
Also, ensure that the doors and windows operate perfectly. You may also want to check if there are any strange odors coming from inside the home in general.
All walls, floors, and ceilings inside the home should be checked for the presence of stains, signs of insects or pests, and the overall condition. The deflections on the ceilings could be leakage or have a parachute appearance.
The internal wall plastering can be easily checked for fine hairline cracks (map cracking, as they take on the appearance of a map). These cracks are caused by the incorrect application of the wall plastering at the time of construction. If they’re found in one area of the property, they’re usually found elsewhere. The plaster can crack further and even come loose, especially when wall fixings for paintings are installed.
Plumbing issues can span in severity from a leaking faucet to the whole house plumbing system needing repair or replacement. Leaks that have been active for some time can lead to additional problems such as damage to flooring, subfloor rot, and mold.
Check plumbing around the home to ensure that it is functional and comprises only quality materials.
To inspect the plumbing system, begin by checking for leaks around all fixtures and pipes. Try to ensure the water heater is functioning and up to code. Both the cold and hot water pressure should be tested by turning on multiple faucets.
The bathrooms, areas around each tub, and shower should be inspected for water damage. Septic tanks and wells are an entirely separate issue and you will want to make sure you have those inspected as well if the home has either of those items!
The areas near plumbing fixtures should be given extra attention to check for molds. This is because plumbing issues can cause molds which are bad for your health due to the fact that it releases allergens into the air and causes respiratory issues such as asthma. Molds can also result in damage to valuable possessions.
An electrical system inspection will typically test out all the light fixtures, outlets to ensure that they are grounded, and circuit breakers. While on an inspection, note down any issues you notice or reports of malfunctions. Electrical issues are very hazardous so it is smart to consult with a licensed electrician on anything electrical you may notice during an inspection.
Common problems found in electrical panels are double-tapping (two wires in one breaker) and improper breaker sizing. These are the kind of issues that should be corrected immediately as they are potential safety hazards. Loose outlets and flickering lights are also a cause for concern and faulty wiring can pose a significant danger to home occupants. Electrical issues are nothing to mess with so be sure to have an electrician come in and inspect the electrical issues in question!
An additional aspect that you should inquire about is the amenities promised. If the amenities mentioned by the developer haven’t been delivered, you shouldn’t have to pay for them separately. This could give you some room to negotiate for a lower price.
If the home is being sold with a full set of appliances or amenities as promised, then it would be wise to check them out in order to determine whether they are in good condition and are functioning properly.
Please Note: these are very important factors that few people don’t look at. This doesn’t just relate to houses in Nigeria but in any place in the world.
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