In the previous article I gave some advice on how to carry out an external inspection of resale properties. In this article you’ll find advice on inspecting their interior.
When inspecting the interior of resale properties, look at every room in the building. Ignore the decoration and furnishings and concentrate your attention on the fabric of the property.
- Does the property look clean, tidy and well-cared for?
- Check that the internal walls are flat, smooth and not cracked.
- Check that the floor and ceiling are level.
- Look at the wall/ceiling junctions and make sure they’re straight.
- Check that the paintwork in the corners of the room is not discoloured or flaking (a sure sign of damp).
- Look at the junctions between the windows and the walls; are they properly sealed? Are there any cracks at the corners? Are there any signs of dampness or water penetration?
- Do the windows and doors fit and open properly? Have the door hinges and handles been fitted correctly? Sticking doors can be symptomatic of a cracked or deformed slab.
- Are the windows double-glazed? Do they have insect screens? Do they have adjustable shutters?
- Is there sufficient storage space in wardrobes, etc?
- Check that the wall and floor tiles are level and properly grouted. Look at the way they’ve drilled the wall tiles to accept the plumbing; are the holes neat and tidy? Have they been finished off properly?
- Check that the wall and floor tiles are not cracked. Cracks can be caused simply by dropping something heavy on the tile or can be symptomatic of movements or a cracked or deformed floor slab.
- Do the central heating radiators have leaking taps?
- Are there any damp or musty smells?
Inspecting water supply and plumbing
You can check some of the elements of the water supply and plumbing during your visit to the smallest room in the property. Some of the more salient aspects of the inspection are listed below:
- Do they use copper, grey plastic or pipe-in-pipe plumbing?
- Check the water tanks (on the roof or in the attic) and associated plumbing.
- Are the tanks, solar panels, etc. securely fitted?
- Do the solar panels face in a southerly direction?
- Are there any signs of corrosion, lime scale deposits or leakage?
- Are the hot water tank and pipes insulated?
- Is there an immersion heater? Does it have a thermostat and/or timer?
- Is there any protection in the event of a major leak in the roof space such as a large water proofed tray under the storage tank and run-off gullies for the water?
- Is there a water meter on the incoming main (required by law)?
- Is there a water filter on the incoming main (stops debris getting into the plumbing)?
- Has a water softener been fitted (recommended to prevent pipes furring and eventually blocking, prolong life of appliances, and reducing heating costs)?
- If there is no water softener, has a magnetic scale reducer been fitted? Although this will reduce the amount of calcium deposited in the plumbing system, it is not as effective or as long lasting as a good quality water softener.
Electrical works Inspection
Take a few minutes inspecting the electrical system and fittings. It’s quite easy to spot bodged or sub-standard work. Don’t be tempted to put your fingers into places they’re not supposed to be. You might get a bigger shock than you expected!
- Does the property have a single or three-phase electricity supply? A single phase is perfectly adequate for apartments and smaller properties. But if it has three or four air conditioners, a single-phase supply may prove inadequate. To see which type of supply the property has, count the number of electricity supply cables running to the building. If there are two, the property is on a single phase; if there are four it’s on a three-phase supply.
- Look inside the internal distribution and circuit breaker boxes for signs of damage and bodges. Are the electrical cables neat and tidy?
- Are there enough switches and sockets? Do they work? Do they spark when used?
- Are the switches and sockets square on the wall? Do you recognise the brand name or are they of the low cost unbranded variety?
- Are there shaver points in the bathrooms?
- Are the light fittings neat and tidy?
- Do all the lights work?
- Are there any light fittings in impossible to reach places?
- Is there a telephone?
- Is there a TV aerial and TV point(s)?
- Is there air conditioning, does it work properly?
- Is there a satellite TV/Internet TV?
- Are there other items such as: a security system, electric gates, electric garage doors, etc? If so, do they all work properly?
The lists above are illustrative but not exhaustive.
I always recommend that potential purchasers should have resale properties inspected professionally by a qualified independent surveyor.