Sponsored: 5 important areas to inspect before buying a house


Sponsored: 5 important areas to inspect before buying a house
A render of the exquisitely designed Riverbank Apartments living room. PHOTO| COURTESY

By Gitonga Muriithi

You’ve just identified a house you are interested in buying. What’s next? Inspecting it to ensure it is in a good, habitable condition. This is an extremely important step.

While you can do some checks on your own, you’ll need a professional to help you inspect areas such as plumbing and electrical systems. Inspecting the integrity of the foundation and the general quality of all fixtures in the house is something you might not do on your own.

Here’s a breakdown of the important things you should inspect in a house before buying

1.The exterior

The exterior of the house might look all new and shiny, but there’s a lot inspection can reveal. Inspect the walls to see if they are still in good condition. Look for any cracks in the walls because they’re usually a sign of weakness.

Note that small cracks in most types of walls are not serious. They’re usually a sign of seasonal contraction and expansion of the material. However, if the cracks are large, they may indicate structural and foundation issues that need to be addressed.

Another important part of the exterior you need to check is the roof. A damaged or poorly installed roof can cause many faults in your house especially when it leaks. Check if there are rust spots on the roof’s flashing and if the shingles are still intact. Any sign of buckling, curling and blistering can point to poor quality or old shingles on the roof.

Other than shingles, ensure that the chimney cap, rubber boots around vent pipes and the entire draining system is still in good condition before buying the house.

2.Foundation

The purpose of the foundation is to hold up the structure above it. A weak foundation can only mean the entire structure of the house is weak. When inspecting a house before buying, check for the following signs of a compromised foundation:

  • Cracks in the foundation, floor and walls
  • Settlement issues such as a slightly sinking house with one side of the house appearing to be lower than the other
  • Foundation or slab upheaval that creates cracks and uneven floors
  • Doors that stick when closing or opening

If you notice these signs before buying a house, it is important you factor the cost of repair in your budget. You might also want to consider an another house because the cost of fixing foundation problems can be very high.

3. Electrical

Some of the electrical checks might not need a technician, such as checking if all the switches work and whether ceiling fans work. However, you’ll need a qualified electrician to help determine whether each of the outlets in the new house are properly grounded. In addition, make sure the electrical service panel is reviewed for wear and tear, rust, smoke residue, and appliance age.

This check will go a long way in helping you prevent fire hazards and ensuring the safety of your family and property.

4. Ventilation

When the ventilation and other sub-systems of a house are faulty, they can make the house inhabitable. Before buying a house, whether new or old, check to make sure the ventilation system is in good condition.

Does the house smell? Unusual odours could mean the ventilation is not in good order. Try and see if you can identify the source of the smell. If you’re unable to, it means the ventilation system isn’t working as it should.

If the house is fitted with an AC system, make sure it works properly. Another vital part to check is the exhaust fan of the kitchen. If it isn’t working, it can use a lot of ventilation problems in the entire house

5. Plumbing

Plumbing problems are extremely frustrating. Moving to a new house and experiencing toilets that fail to flush, flooding showers, and low water pressure can really make you feel duped.

To avoid such frustrations when buying a new house, get a plumber to inspect the plumbing system for any faults, leakages, drainage failures and even knocking pipes.

A house is a major investment. Don’t judge a room by its paint. It is the structural stuff that really defines the quality of everything you see on a house. The foundation, for example, will be there long after the paint fades. So, make time and be thorough enough with the inspection before buying a house.

The writer is Head of Sales and Marketing, Centum Real Estate.

 

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