Deciding on the perfect home to buy takes work. One way you can gather first-hand intel about a property you’re interested in is during a viewing. When done right, home viewings are more than just walking from room to room and testing the switches. A well-conducted viewing is one where you know exactly what to look out for and the right questions to ask, saving you from unknowingly purchasing a high-maintenance home.
Here’s what you need to know before saying yes to the unit.
1. Look out for signs of water leakage
The signs of water leakage may not be as blatant as a dripping ceiling. Keep your eyes peeled for water stains forming on the ceiling, dampness in the ceiling / wall (particularly when it’s adjoining to a bathroom), water crystallization on the pipes or ceiling area that are tell-tale signs of potential water leakage.
2. Spot paint stains or graffiti on the main door or gate
An issue that no professional handyman can easily fix, buying a home only to later discover that it is targeted by loan sharks can be incredibly distressing for you and your family. That is why viewings are essential for preventing this from happening. Keep a sharp eye on the gate and door as paint stains or graffiti can be an indication that nefarious loan shark activities had occurred. If you spot red splotches of paint, run for the door.
3. Ask about out the age of the renovation
It is important to know the age of the renovation so be sure to ask the homeowner during the viewing. If it’s been more than 7 years since they’ve renovated the unit, it may require significant sprucing up or maintenance depending on the state of the furnishings/carpentry once the unit is yours. A good place to start is the flooring. Look out for any scratches, cracks, bumps, damp spots, or uneven tiles. This could mean additional renovation work to replace the flooring if there are significant signs of wear-and-tear.
4. Determine the age of the electrical system
For older units that are more than 20 years old, be sure to look out for faulty wiring issues that tend to be prevalent in mature flats. Keep a closer look at the power outlets and other electrical fittings in the flat for any indication of faulty wiring or aging electrical system such as plug points that are blackened or loose. If these issues are overlooked, you may find yourself footing a hefty bill of $1,000 for the full electrical rewiring of the whole flat.
5. Survey for potential neighbour issues
No one wants to be stuck with a troubled neighbour. Be sure to suss out any potential neighbour issues by talking to the homeowners of the surrounding units and striking up a conversation with them about the unit you’re interested in. You may also ask them if there’s anything you may need to know before going forward with the sale if they’re feeling chatty.
6. Ask about the number of times the home was put on the market
Find out how long the seller has been staying in the unit. If there seems to be a recurring pattern whereby the property constantly changed hands after reaching the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), it could be an indicator that something’s wrong with the unit or its neighbours. In comparison, no one would bat an eye at homeowners who have stayed at their home for 15 years before deciding that it’s about time they move elsewhere.
Pro tip: Once you’ve got your heart set on a particular unit, be sure to visit it more than once. This allows you to experience the unit in different circumstances and states, painting you a more accurate picture of what it will be like to stay there.
As always, knowing what to look out for will save you plenty of stress in the future. Buying a new property is often the biggest transaction we’ll make in our lives. It is of utmost importance that your dream home is one that matches up in the real world as well. Happily ever after comes with making a well-informed decision. All the best!
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