When visually inspecting a resale property, take the time to inspect any outbuildings, enclosing walls, and the condition of the property as a whole:
- Look at the fencing walls. Check for tilt, kink, cracks, and signs of movement that indicate poor design or maintenance.
- Check for exposed steel reinforcement, especially on the roof. Exposed steel rusts, allowing water to enter the superstructure. As it rusts, it expands, causing the concrete to crack and eventually fall off.
- Carefully inspect the area around the exposed steel for cracks. This problem is costly to fix. Remedy requires removing damaged concrete, cleaning and protecting steel reinforcement, and refinishing and beautifying surfaces both inside and outside the building.
- Check exterior walls for any signs of dampness such as discolored or peeling paint, powdery deposits, and mold growth.
- Pay special attention to the base of the walls. Most brickwork problems are caused by moisture. It affects the adhesion of paint and spatter, causing blistering, flaking and mold growth. In addition to an unsightly appearance, damage to the building structure can occur. In extreme cases, the salts in the building fabric are carried away with the moisture as the surface dries. While the fluffy type of mold can be easily brushed off, it is a symptom of a more serious underlying problem that can be difficult and costly to fix.
- Check the wall finish to see if there are any large cracks.
- Make sure walls and corners are straight. Are there bad odors from the sewer?
- Make sure the sewer is away from the site. Low areas around houses can collect water. Ensure that where sewers are installed, gutters have extensions or splash guards to direct water away from the property and its foundation.
- Make sure patios, porches, balconies, and driveways slope away from the property to drain water. The slope of the surface must be the highest near the property in order for the water to be carried away. If the plot is properly planned, the garden should not be left with standing water for 24 hours after rain.
- Are the joints between walls and windows and doors well sealed?
If possible, check the foundation, ground beams and columns for large cracks, crumbling and signs of dampness.
- Make sure that the visible parts of the concrete slab do not have large cracks, chips or signs of dampness.
- Concrete roof? If so, was it sealed? Make sure the shingles are even and evenly laid and that the roof does not sag.
- Are there any missing or broken tiles?
- Make sure the wood is not cracked, rotted, warped, or attacked by insects.
- Check the pool to make sure the pumping and filtering equipment is in good condition and the pool is not cracked or damaged.
- Check any metal work for rust, peeling or flaking paint.
- Check that external doors and gates open and close correctly.
- Check the power box, which is usually located on one of the outer walls.Is it in good condition and are the internal electrics in order?
- Make sure there are no leaks from the septic tank.
- Make sure the garden is well maintained and that no trees are hanging over the roof. Please note that some trees have very invasive roots and can find their way into water pipes and sewers, causing clogs and breakage.
The above list is illustrative, but not exhaustive. Potential buyers are encouraged to have their resale properties professionally inspected by a qualified independent inspector.