99% of us all have the same challenges when it comes to viewing property. Knowing what costs what to replace and what the rough refurbishment cost is going to be.
Not knowing the refurbishment costs means that it is difficult to assess what offer you should put in on a property.
I remember when I first started viewing properties back in late 2015. I really had no idea what I was meant to be looking out for. I was just viewing properties because I knew that I had to do so in order to put offers in and to get offers accepted and to eventually create passive income.
As with anything in life, when you become more accustomed to doing something you gain more experience and knowledge. Time has taught me the 5 key things to look out for when viewing a property.
This article is aimed at those that view properties themselves and that are not too sure what they need to look out for and those that maybe just starting out in their property journey and that have never viewed a property before.
Does the property have a boiler?
That seems like a completely obvious question but some people do not check the simple items like this when viewing a property.
The property may instead have a giant water tank/water storage system or a hot air blowing system. This is not the end of the world but having a modern combi boiler is very energy efficient and will be of benefit to both you and your tenants.
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Remember to check if the property has a central heating system and radiators as well. If not then chances are you will need to install a full heating system. Having a full heating system will keep your tenants and properties warm and will provide you with piece of mind.
Always check to see if the property you are viewing has a boiler and a radiator system.
If not then you can expect to pay a couple of thousand pounds (at least) in order to purchase a heating system and to have it installed.
Electrics (Consumer Unit + Plug sockets)
Electrics are a very important to thing to let at when you are viewing a property. Key things to look out for are the Fuse Box/Consumer Units, earthing and plug sockets.
If the Fuse Box is really old then you will need to upgrade it to a modern Consumer Unit. If the property already has a modern Consumer Unit in it then that is great.
An example of an old fuse box:
Earthing applies if there is an old Fuse Box. Some old properties do not have their electrics earthed and so when you upgrade your electrics you will need to install a new Consumer Unit and get the property ‘earthed’. A qualified electrician or someone like the National Grid should be able to do this for you.
A modern Consumer Unit will look something like this:
Many people do not think about looking at the number of plug sockets per room. Normally you will want at least 2 double sockets per room for a regular Buy To Let and at least 3 double sockets per room for a HMO (House of Multiple Occupation). For commercial properties such as offices then you will probably want more sockets per room.
Just keep an eye out for the amount of plug sockets the next time that you are looking around a property. The less plug sockets per room normally means that the costs of electrical installation will be higher.
Roof Tiles/Chimney Stack
The roof is a very important aspect of a property. If there are tiles missing or the pointing is bad then this could allow water into the property through the roof, which could lead to significant issues further on down the line.
Many people fail to even look at the roof when viewing property and this is very alarming. Especially as the roof is one of the key aspects that because it can be one of the most expensive parts of the house to change.
The chimney isn’t something that people would consider looking at. However, it is important to do so. Just make sure that it is in good condition, the brickwork is tidy, the stack isn’t leaning or wonky in any way, that it is capped off if necessary and that the flashing surrounding it is in good order.
The guttering at the front and rear of the property. Is it wooden? Is the main down pipe (the giant pipe that is attached vertically to the roof) uPVC or cast iron? Is the guttering leaking?
Many simple issues in property can be resolved by the guttering. The great thing about guttering is that it is relatively simple to replace and doesn’t cost too much to do.
If the guttering is blocked, old, wooden or leaking then this could lead to water ingress coming through the roof or potentially lead to damp patches in the property itself.
Ideally you will want new uPVC guttering with a uPVC down pipe. Fitted properly you will find that this will help to keep your property from suffering from water ingress and damp on the upper levels.
There are 2 forms of damp. Normal damp (which can happen as a result of water ingress as explained in the guttering section) or rising damp, which rises from the ground and affects the lower parts of the property.
Rising damp usually rises to a level of around 1m from the base of the floor and the remedies are either to hack off the plaster, skim and re-plaster the walls or to hack off the plaster and to apply a Damp Proof Course (DPC). This costs a lot more money but is worth it, especially as you can get warrantees on DPC’s.
Rising damp looks like this:
You can pick up a Damp Proof Meter from places such as Screwfix or B&Q and this tool is really useful. You can put it up against a wall and it will tell you if the wall is damp or not! Genius!
9 times out of 10 damp is very easy to spot. The walls will be wet, the walls will be discoloured and the affected rooms will smell very musty.
Normal damp can occur when the brickwork has been wet for a long time or over a sustained period of time when there has been no air circulating in the property.
Always check the guttering and roof as water ingress there can lead to patches of damp.
There are many different things to look out for when you are viewing properties. The 5 things in this article are designed to help you to keep your eyes peeled for both common and not so common things (such as plug sockets). Make a note and then look out for them when you are viewing your next property.
Image source: damp