Buying and leasing property is considered to be one of the most lucrative ways to make a good return on your investment, however, like any venture, there are potential risks involved. Residential property owners spend £68bn on renovations each year, so, it’s makes sense to carry out some investigative work identifying any existing housing problems before your inadvertently inherit them.
It is very easy to fall in love with the charm and character of a building without giving any consideration to any potential housing problems you may encounter should you make a commitment.
Tens of thousands of pounds are spent by many people who didn't realise that it isn't only the up-front costs that you need to think about before signing on the dotted line, without thorough investigations their dream property has become a money pit which leeches money rather than the golden egg they hoped for. However, with a little insight and a willingness to negotiate with the seller you can still end up with a great property investment.
If you're thinking about buying a property, whether it's a new rent-able space or a renovation, it's imperative that you check your investment properly. Ignore the tell-tale signs that something may be a miss and you might as well be throwing your money to the wind.
Main aspects to look out for:
Foundations are the basis of any building. Housing problems with them and the cost to put them right can run into thousands of pounds.
It should go without saying that exterior walls should be straight and square, bulging or leaning walls can be a sign of subsidence, which will be very costly to rectify.
Likewise a dodgy roof, missing tiles for example, and the bed weather will have infiltrated inside causing all sorts of problems.
Ill fitting and unsealed windows are another area that should be looked at thoroughly, like missing roof tiles, the rain will find its way into the building and cause expensive issues.
Uneven flooring can be a sign of structural movement or the need for replacement floor joists.
Poor drainage on external gutters and downpipes can leave a building with moisture and damp problems inside and out. Inadequate internal plumbing can also lead to extensive damage that amounts to more than replacing a washer on a dripping tap.
Always check the wiring and electrics properly. Failure to do so and the flickering lights and frayed wires could potentially mean the entire building needs to be rewired, which costs 3 – 4k for an average two-bed terrace house. Having no phone line or internet connection can usually be easily be remedied, but it's an expense that you need to factor into your spending budget.
Before you sign the contract it's advisable, and sensible, to visit the property after bad weather as this can show you where any potential leaks are. Also check for signs of pest infestation, mouse droppings may be the least of your worries if the building has dry rot or is running alive with pests that are munching their way through the building!
Alarm bells should ring if your seller is cagey and reluctant to give straight answers, and remember not to overlook cosmetic features. Looking beyond the gaudy colour scheme is one thing, ignoring the tell-tale signs of housing problems and your investment can easily leave you haemorrhaging cash you can ill afford.
John Patterson writes on behalf of ABC Finance Ltd. About ABC Finance Ltd: ABC Finance Ltd are experts in commercial and specialist lending, brokering finance applications nationwide. They work with directly with clients and through their network of introducers, matching businesses and individuals with the right funding for them. Established in 2000, authorised by the FCA and operating through their panel of lenders and private funders, they take pride in supporting SMEs across the UK.