Buying an investment property is a significant undertaking that deserves to be approached with caution. While nearly every real estate transaction includes the services of a licensed inspector, watching out for the following issues can help you minimize expense and hassle by eliminating properties outright, putting you ahead of many other investors:
- Inquire about the condition of the roof, the type of roofing material, its lifespan, and when it was last replaced. New roofs are a major expense, and the last thing you need is to have to provide a lump sum if the building’s reserves prove insufficient.
- Look for any major cracks along the walls of the building, and signs of recent repairs. If the building has siding, note its age and condition.
- Check the condition of the windows and their insulation. Inquire whether window replacement will be up to the individual owners, or the association.
- If the building has an outdoor deck, ask when it was built and especially if it was built to code with the proper municipal permits. This can help you avoid potential lawsuits, fines, and even (in some extreme cases) demolition by the authorities.
- Check the walls and ceilings for mold and/or water damage. Also check for noticeable warping in wood floors, which is also an indication of excessive moisture.
- Check the water pressure by turning on the kitchen and bathroom sinks. While you’re at it, watch for proper (quick) drainage in the sinks.
- Check if the heating and air conditioning systems actually work. These can be a costly expense if not as advertised.
- If you can, peak into the attic to see the condition of the insulation. This might give you an indication of any past roof leaks.
Watching out for these issues will enable you to eliminate properties with potential major repairs, making your journey into investment property less risky and increase your chances of success with your investment.