9 Things To Check Before Buying Investment Property
The real estate industry has undergone impressive development in recent years, thanks to the growing number of aspiring homeowners. Today, you can find all kinds of investment properties to buy, be it vacant land, a commercial structure or a residential building.
However, one thing about many of these properties for sale is that they look impressive from the outside, but the interior is lacking. For example, there are some that may need to be repaired or termite treatment before you can move in, which can easily hurt your budget.
That’s not to say that every beautiful building has some hidden problems, but it’s better to be sure before investing your hard-earned cash. So, what are some things you should check carefully in an investment property before accepting your next deal? Read on for more information.
- pest inspection
Pests can be quite destructive to structures, especially those with various wooden designs. Unfortunately, not every homeowner takes up the idea of pest control seriously, which is why you should prioritize it in your home inspection process.
It is, of course, almost impossible to detect such problems with the naked eye. Therefore, it is wise to hire a professional expert to perform the inspection in all rooms. After the process, they will give you a full report and if there are any signs of a future pest infestation.
You may be wondering what such an inspection will mean for you. Well, first of all, it will spare you future regrets. It can be quite frustrating to move into a house only to realize later that it is full of termites and other creepy critters.
Another benefit is that it helps in discovering other hidden problems. For example, pests may have messed up the structural design of the building, which can easily go unnoticed.
With all this in mind, you have the upper hand during the negotiations. Of course, the help of a real estate agent can come in handy, especially when estimating the ultimate value of the property.
- Spring water
Most homes have their own well that is the main source of water in the home. If your target home has this, it’s a good idea to have it inspected thoroughly before proceeding with the purchase.
It is a good idea that contaminated water can pose a health risk to users. Well water can easily become contaminated depending on the location and design of the seal. In fact, the latter should be your first warning sign as you begin the inspection process.
Again, it is important that you hire an expert to test the well water and determine the condition of the well itself. Oh, and don’t forget to check the flow and pressure.
Drilling a new well can be very expensive. Therefore, you need to be sure that the available one is still usable; otherwise it may come back to haunt you.
Is the plumbing system still in good condition? This is another critical question that needs to be answered before you can invest your money in any particular property. It does not matter whether it is a commercial or residential property; poor plumbing can always lead to a lot of frustration.
So, where do you start with the plumbing inspection? The aesthetics may be very pleasing to the eye, but that is no guarantee of a fully functional plumbing system. That’s why most of your checks here should be focused on editing rather than appearance, although that’s another aspect.
One way to inspect this area of the building is to check the water pressure. Connect a pressure gauge to the hose tap in one of the chambers and turn it on when the rest of the sections are not in use. The recommended pressure is always somewhere between 30 and 80 psi. If yours doesn’t meet this threshold, there must be a problem with the plumbing system.
You can also get a miniature camera and drop it into the sewer line. Inspect for blockages and any noticeable damage along these sections. Please note that failure to perform such inspections could result in repairs exceeding USD$5,000 depending on the size of the building.
- Beware of room fresheners
The easiest way to know if there are problems in the property is when there is an unpleasant smell. Of course, the sellers already know this and may decide to mask the odor with a room freshener instead of addressing the root cause. As a buyer, if you’re not careful, the wonderful smell of these air fresheners may fool you.
Take, for example, a house that was previously owned by a smoker. Of course, the tobacco smell rarely goes away right away. If air fresheners are used, it may be difficult for you to realize, but once you’re settled in, it won’t be long before you notice the smell of tobacco. Aside from creating an uncomfortable environment, it can also lead to health complications.
- State of the floor
Uneven floors may not seem like much of a problem at first, but they can be quite frustrating for you as a new homeowner. For example, if the living room has an uneven floor, it will be very difficult to organize your furniture. First, you may need to use some supporters to stabilize your tables, chairs, TV stand, and other furniture.
So, how can you avoid such an experience? It’s about how you inspect the house. It is always recommended to take a marble with you during the inspection and place it around different areas of the floor in each room you visit. This makes any flaws in the floor design visible.
Keep in mind that this is not evidence of poor construction, especially if the house is quite old. Some houses can precipitate aggressively, and this will create a bulge in the center. Without inspection, some owners may not be aware, while others may want to downplay it.
The fact is, however, that this can be quite expensive. The solution to deflections in floors may require you to rip out the entire existing floor. In other words, you have to rebuild the floor from scratch; otherwise you can have unpleasant spots everywhere. So, realizing this before making the deal can save you a lot of money in the long run.
- State of the walls
Another very important factor that you should open your eyes to is the condition of the walls. This is something you can’t run away from because it determines the aesthetics of your home. For example, no matter how organized your living room is, poorly designed walls will always push your efforts back.
Some defects such as worn paints and other naked damages are quite easy to detect. Remember that there is no ‘negligible’ damage when it comes to home inspection. For example, some stains may remain from the tobacco residue in case you buy from a smoker. The tan stains can be quite expensive to remove, as they require a lot of scrubbing and two or more coats of paint. Therefore, write down anything that you think needs attention before you can start the negotiations.
However, there are some issues that are not easy to notice. For example, some people hide water damage by painting over it. During the process, moisture is trapped under these paints, which can easily lead to mold growth. Black mold generally poses a threat to your health when you inhale that odor.
So, how will you determine such problems? The biggest culprits when it comes to water damage are areas under the drawers, sinks or under the tubs and toilets. If you come across warped drywall, that’s an indication that there may be some leaks, which could also mean some water damage in the area.
Of course, the sellers are always obligated to disclose this information to their potential buyers. If you realize these issues during your inspection, but are not mentioned in the package, that can say a lot about the seller. In such a scenario, you have every reason to back off because you don’t know what else they are hiding from you. Depending on your state laws, the sellers may even be forced to reimburse you for all costs incurred during the inspection.
- Are the walls soundproof?
Now that you’re impressed with the condition of the walls, it’s time to find out if they’re soundproof. This is very important because of many things. First, you definitely need your privacy at some point, and if you have friends or kids around, it can be difficult if the walls aren’t soundproof.
And if you work from home, we cannot emphasize enough how important this aspect is. You don’t want to be distracted by the noise from the living room while you go about your work in your home office. Sure, it can be hard to tell with empty rooms, but you can still test it by playing music in other rooms while your office door is closed.
This is the first thing you see the moment you enter that gate. This is an essential part of any home and its condition must be confirmed before you can sign the deal. There are several things you should check.
Here’s part of the checklist;
- Broken or missing shingles
- Worn rubber boots supporting the vent pipes
- Damaged or missing chimney cap
- cracked sealant
These are some of the factors to consider during the inspection. In addition, you may also want to check the design and see if it resonates with your needs. Some may be too old for a modern home, meaning you’ll need to make a few changes – and that will be costly. It goes without saying that for the best results you should hire a professional roofer.
If there are some repairable flaws, you can give the current homeowner some time to do the necessary. However, if a lot of redesign is needed, communicate the same and see if you can come to an agreement. If you don’t find common ground, it is of course wise to move on to the next candidate.
- ownership history
Knowing the condition of the house is one thing, understanding the ownership history is another. So, why is this aspect vital? To the extent that it may not necessarily mean anything, a home with a high turnover should signal a red flag. Of course people move for different reasons, but if you have three people moving within 10 years, that says a lot about the house itself and the neighborhood.
It’s worth noting that even in areas with the lowest average length of home ownership, it’s estimated that most people keep their homes for at least eight years. So if several people move within that period, the house may have hidden problems.
Unless you can find out about these issues from a reliable source, it would be wise to reconsider your options. Chances are, you’ll get frustrated and list the house within the first few years. The downside, however, is that this deteriorates the ownership history and you may struggle to find the next buyer.
Many people end up regretting their purchase simply because they didn’t pay enough attention during the property inspection process. It does not matter whether it is a commercial building or your home. Inspecting before closing the transaction is quite important. Checking the roofing, floors, walls and plumbing system can save you a lot of money in the long run.
It’s worth noting that some repairs, such as uneven floors, require total remodeling, which can be very expensive. So make sure to consult an expert before moving on to the next step to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
Chad Schultz is a pest control supervisor. He has been in the industry for over 20 years. He shares his pest control expertise with the public through guest posting in various online publications. In his spare time, Chad enjoys playing golf, bowling and watching action movies.