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Home buying can be a quite involving task. Apart from social and economic assessments, and legal procedure for the transaction, there is usually the need for a physical assessment of the property. It is essential as part of the due diligence, for prospective buyers to have reasonable assurance that certain physical elements of a property are in good condition.

Type of materials used

This applies more so to older properties. Materials like lead paints and asbestos are some of the most common culprits here. These materials have been found to be hazardous to human health and should not be associated to human habitation whatsoever because they are likely to cause cancers which is not only fatal but costly enough to include in the price of a home. In some jurisdictions, it is mandatory for instance to remove lead paints especially where children are involved.

Other contentions may arise where the developer used low quality materials for instance in the finishes. The buyer ought to know the quality of materials used and how durable they are.


Some houses, even recently built ones, may have inbuilt drainage flaws due to compromised quality or design errors. Although they may not be obvious in plain sight, these shortcomings will in future ensure big-ticket repairs by the buyer which may involve a total overhaul of the drainage system. A basic exercise like filling up the tubs, sinks and flushing the toilet all at the same time may occasionally help identify the problem.

Electrical problems

You need to be sure that the installed electrical system will satisfy your usage needs in this age of electrical appliances and the internet of things. It is important to ask questions about the installed capacity just to be sure. Additionally, you may want to take a look at the electrical panel, the wiring in the house to spot any loose wires that may pose a danger or need replacement etc. No one wants live wires on their walls. Also, try all switches to see if some do not work.

Foundations and walls

There may be attempts by some developers to conceal poorly constructed houses. Determining the structural integrity of a house or building is another matter but there are usually tell-tale signs that could mean point to flaws in the structure. These are usually manifested on the foundation or walls of buildings.

Dampness in the building’s base or on a side of the wall long after a building has been complete should be investigated. In addition, cracks have to be taken with a pinch of salt. The buyer should also check whether the building has in place dehumidifiers or such materials as would be used to keep moisture at bay. However, to the untrained eye, a building inspector would to a good job. Which brings us to the issue of having an inspection done.

Hiring an inspector

Our five senses can only do so much, especially where you have no professional competence in a particular field. The major advantage of hiring an inspector is that you get to have a guarantee on the structural integrity of the house as well as an opinion on whether the building is constructed to the building standards of the local jurisdiction. And in the case of defects, a building inspector ca be able to estimate the cost of repairs for you so that you make an informed decision

Buying a house is a big investment and you need to know not only how things work in the house, but also what works and most importantly, that everything works. In addition to the above, you need to get your hands on literally everything you can within the house; windows, doors, floors, fixtures and what not.