Viewing properties can be exciting and it is very easy to be caught in the moment and be in awe of your potential purchase. It is important to remember that you are shopping for a business and not a home. You need to work with your mind and gut, not your heart. If you walk in and fall in love with the property, I suggest you walk out and move onto the next one.
I have viewed 9 properties in a single day and it can be hard to remember the details of each property when you get back home. To help me, I take plenty of photo’s with my mobile phone, and I have a checklist that I carry so I can simply tick the items and make notes as I walk around for reference later.
This is not a definitive list and you may think of additional items you would like to add, but here is a brief explanation of each area I check.
Please feel free to download my checklist for viewing investment properties:
1. Roof – Does the condition look good? Is it level and are there any tiles missing? Are the gutters clean and stable and are the drains clear? Make sure the flashings and the facias are secure and in good condition.
2. Walls – Are any of the external walls bowed and is the pointing in good condition?
3. Doors – Do all doors close properly? If not, it could be a sign of structural movement.
4. Cracks – Check all rooms and hallways for cracks. If you are able to fit the side of a 10p into the crack, there could by a structural problem which will require further investigation.
5. Boiler – Is there central heating and does the boiler and all radiators appear to be in good condition? A new heating system will cost around £3k or more depending on the size of the property.
6. Electrics – Do the sockets and fuse box (consumer unit) look old or do they look modern and in good condition?
7. Windows – Is there double glazing? Open and check the windows, as they can also be expensive to replace, and make notes if the property is only part double glazed.
8. Flooring – Does any part of the floor creek or feel bouncy and are the carpets, tiles, lino in good condition?
9. Damp – There are many different types of damp and only a specialist will be able to tell you the cause and cure when you first start out, but it’s important to check for any signs of damp. If the property is furnished, it’s a good idea to look behind the furniture and make sure you check the ceilings and not just the walls.
10. Adding Value – This is what sets successful investors apart from the rest. It doesn’t necessarily need to be something that you would do from the start, but if you identify the possibility of adding another bedroom, reception room, extending the kitchen or converting the loft, you could increase your cashflow as well as the value. It’s also worth checking if other people on the street have added extensions as they will have set a precedence. Adding value can also be as simple as redecorating and replacing the flooring if the property looks dated.
11. White Goods – Are electrical goods included in the sale and what condition are they in?
12. Tenants – Is the property already tenanted? If so, what type of tenancy agreement is in place, what is the income and how long is left on the agreement?
Depending how deep you want to go, the list could go on. But checking these details first will help you purchase an investment with some piece of mind and will reduce the risk of any major hidden surprises later on.
Please let me know if you would like to see something else added to the list. I will be more than happy to update it for everyones benefit.