Buying a House? Things to look for when considering buying a house

Buying a home is a very emotional process. If you allow those emotions to get the best of you, you may fall prey to a number of common home buyer mistakes. Since homeownership has far-reaching implications, it’s important to keep your emotions in check and make the most rational decision possible.

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Cracked drains, walls, beams, floors;
  • peeling paint or white, chalky build up on the walls and the location of the build up (bottom? Top?)
  • Termite trails or evidence of them – “granny sugar (press on top of any suspect looking wood,  in particular rafters);
  • look for evidence of roof leaks – stain/water marks, stained ceilings;
  • check drains for proper flow of water – use a hose or otherwise to pour water in them and verify that the slope of the drains is in the correct direction and that no water is settling at any point;
  • check that the land around the house is sloped towards the drains and that no steps-up exist at the drains – water flowing around the house must be able to flow into the existing drains without pooling;
  • query the age of the house;
  • Insist on seeing copies of:
    1. The Final Completion Certificate and
    2. The approved drawings and compare these drawings with the property in question – any differences would indicate that unapproved changes were made and this would affect the potential for financing for the purchase and the ability to sell later on.  Insist on receiving a copy of the drawings and certificate before signing the same agreement.
  • If you suspect that there may be a need for repairs, consult with a suitably experienced civil engineer and request recommendations with comprehensive sketches for the required repairs.  These would need to be in a format which can be presented to a Quantity Surveyor who will be able to assess the cost of the repairs.  At the very least this will inform the amount of financing required to have the repairs carried out and could also be used as a negotiating tool in agreeing the final purchase price.

Written by 

Lori is an accomplished construction manager and engineer, who has wide experience in the commercial and residential construction industry.