You need to properly inspect the properties, know what you are getting into with the project.
You have your shortlist of properties that have made the cull; you are now ready to do thorough inspections of them and prepare to make bids.
Let's look at why you do a detailed inspection of the property.
You do this detailed inspection to ensure there is no (or very little) chance of any significant hidden issues. To make sure you know how much is needed to spend to get the property ready to let out. To establish a more detailed idea of costs involved if you are buying it to refurbish and sell on.
You don't want any surprises like broken plumbing or unfinished electrical.
What do you need to do the inspections:
These make all the basics much easier when you are inspecting the property.
- Time, you have to set aside a reasonable amount of time to thoroughly inspect the property.
- Notebook with pen and or pencil, you have to note down your findings and other records you want to make.
- Camera, to document your findings.
- Flashlight, lighting in properties can often be misleading or hide things in plain sight. Be sure to have a basic clear white led flashlight.
- Measuring tape, this is used to confirm measurements of rooms that need work or double-checking floor-plans.
If you want to dig that little deeper or streamline your inspections these will come in handy.
- Laser Measuring Tape, I use a standard 3m Stanley tape for shorter measurements and a Bosch digital laser meter for more extensive measurements (switching to laser years ago saved a lot of time) Also makes it easy to do it alone.
- Moisture Meter, this is used to measure the moisture content of walls, if you are concerned with damp or any other moisture problems, this can quickly tell you if something needs further inspection.
- Electrical outlet tester, quickest and safest way to see if all the outlets in the property work.
- Foldable or collapsible ladder, for reaching those high places.
- FLIR Camera, great for checking for hidden water issues or heat loss and insulation in a property. (they make one that connects to your phone nowadays)
- Basic tool kit, great for opening things up and checking inside and behind things that would otherwise be hidden
Depending on the state of the property, I would suggest if needed to have some basic PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Work boots, these not only keep your feet safe but keep your regular shoes clean and damage free.
- Gloves, to protect your hands and keep them clean
- Safety Glasses, protect your eyes, it’s weird how much stuff can find its way into your eyes in derelict properties
- Dust mask, this is incredibly nice if the property has a dilapidating unfinished basement. (your lungs will thank me)
- Painters suit, this is used only if the properties are super nasty, and when they are, you will be happy you have it.
For the hole inspection process, you will look for signs of damage, rot, water ingress, damp or general wear and tear that will need repairs.
- Start outside. Windows; window frames door frames etc.
- The roof and gutters, any tiles missing or downspouts that are broken or missing etc.
- Front door, does it work, check its lock and all the other locks on the property.
- Do all the windows open and shut.
- Check floors and ceilings throughout, particularly for water damage and rot.
- Check all the lights work.
- If you can switch on the heating do so, check that the system doesn't have any glaring faults.
- Test the outlets (if you have the outlet tester)
- Test all the taps, flush all the toilets make sure everything runs smooth. Can you get hot water?
- If it has a basement and or loft storage, don't forget to check those.
- Check the meters for the utilities. Do they look new and modern, do they look damaged, might they need to be replaced?
- Check room dimensions to make sure they line up with what was on the plans provided (those usually only serve as a reference, but you want to know how close it is to what you are buying)
- If there are any additional systems like Air Conditioning or mechanical ventilation, check that those function as well.
- Check if there are phone lines and these days, more importantly, mobile signal and broadband.
Note all these down and work out what will need repairs, what will need replacing and what might just require further inspection.
Having done all this, you will know if there is too much risk for your preference, say lots of damp or wood rot etc. Or if there are just some minor things that you will add to your offer. Or how much work you need to contract out to get the property to the standard you want it to be.
I have lots more inspection tips and tricks for those interested; I can seriously geek out on these things.
Keep in mind that you can pay for a professional inspection, though I feel its well worth you doing it yourself first, or perhaps hiring someone and doing the inspection alongside them. But as with many things you get what you pay for in life. So choose an inspector wisely.