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Home inspection: What you need to do before buying an apartment

By Jessica M.

Let's say that you saw a nice new condo on DDProperty that you're interested in buying, you saw the photos online, you've talked to the seller and everything seems to be perfect. Before you rush in and purchase it, there are few details that you need to keep an eye on so that you won't regret buying it.

Check for potential Leaks and Discolored Patches of Paint in the Ceiling

While it may seem odd to suggest that a condo unit could have a problem with leaks, there are times when they do occur. This happens when faulty pipes are installed or there are issues with the water drainage system in the building. Bubbles appearing in the walls as well as streaks of discolored water are the least of your concerns when it comes to this type of problem.

If you have different types of electronics setup in your room such as a wall-mounted television or extension cords on the floor, there is a very good chance that considerable damage may occur once water reaches the exposed parts. To prevent this from happening, keep an eye out for discolored patches in the ceiling or on the walls. These are good indicators that the owner is trying to cover up areas that have been previously damaged by water.

Examine the tiles for cracks and other issues

Another matter that you should consider is the condition of the tiles/floor boards on the floor. You need to determine if there are cracks, if the tiles are loose or if there are ill-fitting floorboards. This may seem to be relatively minor but cracked tiles and ill-fitting boards are signs of bad construction. It would take a considerable amount of force and weight to crack good tiles but it's actually quite easy if the cheaper varieties are utilized.

Floorboards are also supposed to be placed evenly across the floor, if there are ill-fitting ones that just means that there is the possibility of poor workmanship or the floorboards are made of cheap materials.

Fixing of water pipings (Photo by Inspiria Design and Build)
Fixing of water pipings (Photo by Inspiria Design and Build)

Check the Pipes of the Kitchen and Bathroom Sink

Rust, warping, and discoloration on pipes are the things you need to look out for when inspecting the sinks in both the kitchen and the bathroom. While new apartments rarely have this issue, there are still instances where this can occur if the apartment was used in the past and the materials that went into the pipes are of an inferior quality.

The best way to determine if a pipe is rusting is to bend down and look at the spot that connects the pipe to the sink after you have turned on the water. If you see any amount of moisture as well as orange spots in and around the connecting area, these indicate that the pipe has already started rusting through.

Avoid apartments with grease traps

If there is one detail that you should always remember after reading this article, it is to avoid buying any apartment that has a grease trap directly below the sink.

A grease trap is basically a large metal box that is placed between the inflow pipe from the sink to the outflow pipe that connects to the main drainage system in the building. Its purpose is to trap all the large pieces of grease that occur when washing out oily pans or plates in the sink. This is to prevent issues related to the buildup of grease in the pipes of the building which could clog them in the future.

The problem with this setup is that it is the responsibility of the apartment owner to clean out the grease trap and dump the contents. Since the grease trap is filled with the remnants of past meals and other detritus, the smell can be sickening and can even flow out of the sink and into the apartment.

As you can see, these are excellent reasons why you should avoid apartments with grease traps at all costs since dealing with them is a headache that you simply don't need.

Check the Amenities of the Building

Not all building amenities are created equal, in some cases the amenities of a building are sparse and quite lacking despite the high amount that you pay. In other cases the amenities are quite nice yet you only pay a relatively small sum for them. When you enter the building to inspect the apartment, check the pool, the gym and the level of security that it has. Afterwards, ask how much the association dues are per month. If the association dues seem reasonable when compared to the amenities that you saw, then the apartment is good purchase, otherwise it is highly recommended that you buy elsewhere.

Do not compromise when it comes to getting a new apartment, since you're paying with your hard earned cash, you deserve to get an apartment that is not leaking water, has cracked tiles or has unreasonable association dues.