A Guide to Inspecting a Property Before Buying

asian woman talking to a property inspector

Buying a property is exciting and overwhelming—it’s a big investment, after all. That’s why you must practice due diligence when looking around for properties to avoid remorse and headaches during and after the process. You wouldn’t want to close the deal on a property only to discover major issues with it (or the development), would you?

One of the best property investment tips that address this predicament is by performing a property inspection. This practice is a great way to have peace of mind, ensuring that your dream property is in excellent condition and worth your investment and time. 

Regardless if you’re a home buyer or an investor, you will benefit from a thorough property inspection. Keep reading to learn about the ins and outs of the property on the top of your list. 

What is a property inspection?

A property inspection or home inspection is a visual examination of the structure, foundation, and systems of a real estate property being sold on the market. This involves assessing the design and fixtures, plumbing and electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, safety and security issues, and more. 

You can have a qualified property inspector tag along with you to have a more experienced set of eyes to gauge the condition of the property. They will know what to look for and where to look for signs of any damage or issues that can affect the property’s value. 

Property Inspection Checklist

As a home buyer, you must also know what to check to ensure a property is worth the investment. Read further for a short checklist of what aspects of the property you should inspect when property-hunting. 

Interior

Go and walk inside the property and examine everything you see. You should take a camera and a notebook with you and jot down every detail you want to go back to later on.

  • Floor plan

A floor plan can indicate if the property meets your needs and priorities. For instance, some buyers prefer a large kitchen and dining area, while others are fine with a modest kitchen as long as the living area is spacious. 

If you see more potential challenges about the flow and functionality due to poor floor plan design, then you’re better off moving on to the next property on your list as remodeling the floor plan will be an expensive and labor-intensive endeavor.  

  • Electricals

It’s important to know how the property’s electrical system is installed and operating and whether the circuit breakers are working properly to protect against short circuits. It’s also worth checking if there are sufficient electrical outlets in each room. 

  • Plumbing

Plumbing problems are challenging to deal with, and they mostly occur without warning. Together with a property inspector, check the water pressure, possible pipe leaks, clogged drains, and other potential issues with the plumbing system. 

  • Flooring

When it comes to the flooring, examine for uneven parts (which can lead to accidents) and squeaky noises. Flooring work can be expensive and time-consuming, so you must check the floor thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. 

  • Interior walls

Look for holes, cracks, and uneven parts on the interior walls, for these are potential signs of a pest infestation or poor foundation. Normally, it’s better to have thick walls as it proves the solid foundation of the property. 

  • Ceiling

You should also examine the ceilings for cracks, stains, and molding. Stains may indicate a leaky roof, which will be an additional set of expenses to repair. Moreover, an uneven and wavy ceiling may be an indication that the house’s foundations are damaged.

Exterior

Walk around the property to spot visible issues that may be caused by aging or poor foundation. 

  • Roofing

If the seller or property agent allows, inspect the roof for leak problems, decay, or damage. Roofing issues can be a costly and inconvenient problem when missed. Sagging roofs are also an indication that the house’s foundations have shifted, which is an even bigger problem.

  • Exterior walls and claddings

Look for visible cracks and uneven gaps on windows and doors in exterior walls. They may not look problematic since they’re tiny, but small cracks can evolve into a serious problem. 

Neighborhood

Buying a property also means becoming a part of a new community. So explore the neighborhood for the following. 

  • Amenities

This may vary from person to person, but make a list of the amenities you’d want to see in your future neighborhood then check how many of them are available in the community. Some developers provide a clubhouse, basketball court, open spaces or parks, and a play area. 

  • Elevation

Flooding is an inconvenient problem for many homeowners. That’s why it’s crucial to check if the property you’re eyeing is situated in an elevated or flood-free area. 

  • Nearby establishments 

It’s always favorable for homeowners to have easy access to essential establishments like hospitals, commercial centers, public transportation, convenience stores, and others. 

  • Documentation

Buying a property is a serious investment. So ensure to review and gather all the necessary paperwork to make the purchasing process smooth. 

  • Ownership history

A property may look pristine on the outside, but previous damage from floods, infestations, or fire could have affected its foundation. A property’s ownership history shows the current and past issues buyers should be aware of. 

  • Transfer Certificate of Title

Don’t be a victim of fake property titles. For house and lot buyers, ensure the Transfer Certificate of Title is legitimate and certified by the Registry of Deeds. 

  • Tax clearances, liens, and encumbrances 

Check if the property’s real estate taxes have been settled. If not, discuss with the seller how you can sort out the amount. 

On the other hand, liens and encumbrances imply that there is a monetary or any sort of claim against a property. So ensure that the property is free from any lien and encumbrances in the contract-to-sell for a clean title. Talk to a real estate broker in the Philippines for more information about property documentation. 

Final Thoughts

Property inspections are more than just pass or fail. Just because there’s a fault in a property doesn’t mean they’re not worth the investment anymore. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to find a perfect property as individual preferences will always vary. If you already have your eyes on a specific house or unit, but it has a few minimal flaws that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, repairing them is still a worthy investment. If you’re in the market for the best condo and home deals, head over to RE/MAX to explore exciting real estate investment opportunities.