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Factors to Check When Buying a House

ALTHOUGH buying a property can be an overwhelming experience, buying a home should not be a hasty decision to make, so says Adrian Goslett, assistant regional director of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He adds that “there are a number of factors that buyers need to consider before making one of the biggest investments of their lives”.

Shape, location and size of the stand
Consider future plans when deciding on a specific property. “A double-storey home may look attractive now, but how practical will it be once you start a family or as you grow older? Also consider whether or not you will be able to make additions to the home, especially if you plan on inviting your elderly parents to come and live with you one day,” advises Goslett.
For property built near rivers or streams, Goslett advises buyers to investigate flood line restrictions imposed by local municipalities.

Goslett says that water damage or rising damp are important aspects to look out for. Poor waterproofing can be expensive to remedy. “Inspect the property properly and look out for scaly or ‘bubbly’ paint that conceals damp ceilings or walls. Get a qualified plumber to investigate if you are unsure and stipulate exactly what needs to be repaired by the current homeowner in the contract before you buy the property.”

The roof
“Look out for deformation along roof lines as it may be a sign of structural failure. If in doubt, ask a structural engineer to inspect it for you,” comments Goslett. This is especially important if you intend to buy property outside of the rainy season making it difficult to spot problematic and/or occurring leaks.

Structural failure
“Although some cracks are insignificant, structural cracks (deep cracks that appear on both sides of a wall) could be a sign of foundation failure or severe structural problems,” says Dennis Kriek, Director at Esaba Consulting Engineers.
Kriek advises sellers to look out for diagonal cracks commencing at the corners of door and window frames.
He warns that once a property has been built, structural problems are almost impossible and/or extremely time-consuming and expensive to rectify. “Once again, if in doubt, ask a structural engineer to inspect the home for you,” adds Goslett.

Approved plans of building on property
It is imperative for buyers to consult the local municipality on whether or not all buildings on the property they intend to invest in are approved and fall within building lines.

Crime rate and burglar proofing
“Don’t just take the seller’s word! Ask for crime statistics at the local police station. Know the safety challenges of the area you are about to invest in. Identify areas in and around the property where safety measures need to be upgraded –– take it into account as it can be expensive,” Goslett concludes. –– Property24.com.

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