In this article I will be writing in detail about certain things you have to be on the look out for when carrying out a property inspection.
Firstly, let me begin by asking you a question. Why do you think most real estate experts insist that you carry out a home inspection before you buy a house?
This line of advice is largely because when a property inspection is carried out thoroughly, it prevents you from making costly mistakes and decisions you’re bound to regret later.
I would also like to add that it isn’t so much about just inspecting a property, but also about looking out for the right things and leaving no rock unturned.
One thing you might not know is that despite carrying out a property inspection, you can still end up making mistakes. This usually happens when some things slip past you during the inspection. Sadly, many people end up missing the warning signs.
To help you carry out a more detailed home inspection, I will share below some red flags you should be on the lookout for, when inspecting an already built house/apartment as well as a vacant land.
When inspecting a House
A property inspection checklist is useful. It guides you on what you need to look out for. Properties come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to miss some things.
Insects and Pests That Wreck Wood
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a home inspection. This explains why a growing number of people don’t actively look out for it during an inspection. It’s okay to appreciate the architecture of a home you’re planning to buy, you should not be carried away by aesthetics alone.
Insects and wood-eating pests can weaken the core of a house by eating at over a long period of time. This leaves the house unsafe. The biggest threat to homes are termites, carpenter ants and boring ants. These culprits can eat away the long-term value of a house, which is why you must be proactive in looking out for them at the home inspection stage.
It’s important to work with a real estate agent who has experience looking out for these insects and organisms during a property inspection. On your part, you should dedicate some time to find out the things that attract these pests to homes. In some cases, you might not see the pests but spot the signs of a looking or existing infestation.
Does the idea of living in a house on the water appeal to you? It should except you are hydrophobic. However, having loose water in your house can be a recipe for disaster. As bad as this might sound, it is even worse in a situation where the water is unseen.
If a house is also prone to flooding because of its location, this is something you want to know. Nigeria has witnessed several cases of flood destroying property and valuables.
The danger of having water in your house is that it ends up wrecking havoc. Most often than not, by the time you witness the physical damage, it is already too late. This is why it is important to check for any signs of water intrusion into the house.
The condition of the roof a house should be a deal breaker because it is designed to protect the house from natural elements. Don’t breeze through the roof of a house for any reason.
Be sure to confirm that the roof has been properly installed. In a case where there are any problems with the roof, this should be detected at the stage of inspecting the house.
The fact that wall sockets in a house look pretty guarantees nothing. Remember that defective electrical wiring remains one of the major causes of fires in residential homes.
You should pay close attention to the number of electrical outlets in several rooms in the house. If they are too few, you will find yourself needing multiple extension boxes. You shouldn’t even consider this option if you intend to have toddlers and children living with you.
Exposed wires stand out as another red flag. They increase the risk of electrocution. You should inspect the house with an electrical engineer to put yourself on the safe side.
When Inspecting a Land
While I firmly believe that vacant land is one of the best places you can put your money,there is another side of the story that needs to be carefully considered.
With my experience of real estate, I have come to understand that there are a number of things that need to be evaluated before purchasing a parcel of vacant land.
Find below a general checklist to use when inspecting and evaluating a piece of land.
- Is the land buildable?
- What is the Size and Shape of the land?
- Are the boundaries clearly and accurately marked?
- Does the land have a clear and verifiable title?
- Does the land have any usage restrictions?
- Is it zoned for the type and size of property you are planning?
- Where can you build on the site?
- Does the proposed house plan violate any rules: setbacks or other zoning restrictions, septic rules, rights-of-way, or other regulations?
- Does the soil percolate?
- Is the property located in a flood zone?
- Is there a high seasonal water table, seasonal streams, or low-lying areas subject to flooding?
- Are there areas subject to erosion that will need stabilization?
- Is the land accessible by road? Who maintains the road?
- Is there adequate access for construction equipment?
- Are there problem soils, including expansive clay, un-compacted fill, or ledge that may require blasting.
- Are there nearby nuisances such as unwanted noises, smells, or hazards?
- Distance to major places, work, shopping, restaurants, etc.?
- Future development nearby: houses, commercial development, roads, highways
Final Thoughts on Property Inspection
Before you buy a house or land, insist on carrying out a thorough property inspection. If the property owner refuses to allow this or appears reluctant to honour this request, that alone should be considered a red flag.
It should never be done in a hurry. You are entitled to a reasonable amount of time to inspect the property before you make a decision. Inspecting a property does not mean you have to buy it. After the inspection, you can decide whether you are buying or have concerns.