Buying property is a great source of happiness most especially when you negotiate and seal the deal of a good offer but never be in a hurry to pay for a property until you get a second and third look at it as your outlook and opinion of it may change and faults become clearer after the excitement of seeing something you like for the first time wears off.

Every, if not most, properties look perfect when you see them for the first time. They are well designed, spacious, well ventilated, well-lit and finishing is to taste while  a few other properties fail your litmus test of a standard property.

It is encouraged that everyone has a checklist of what they would want to have on their property but more than that there are key things to look out for before paying for a property. These things are general and without regard to the kind of property, they are:

  1. Location: you need to be sure what your intent for the property is and look round the area if the location, & neighbors will fit your intent. Is there a hotel, school or church on the same street or in the neighborhood, do you mind that? Visit the place in the evening/night, go there on a Saturday, a Sunday and just have a good knowledge of what happens there.
  2. Neighbors: have a chat with them, they live in the area and will tell you more about it. Also, take a walk or drive round the neighborhood.
  3. Drainage system: do they have proper drainage system in the area to ensure that when it rains the road is not flooded. Are the drains properly connected from the property to the mains and where does the main drainage empty out to?
  4. Security: the safety of lives and property is essential. You do not want to get a place that will deny you of sleep because you have to sleep with one eye open. Find out what the security is like in the area. Do they have security officials on patrol; is there a neighborhood watch? Have they ever had incidence of robbery or any other criminal attack? Does the security unit have links with the police? What kind of tools or ammunitions do they keep etc? What is the proximity to the nearest police station?
  5. Defects: get the details of the builders and look at their precedence. There are some defects in the house that may not be noticeable until a professional checks it or the house is habited but doing a background check on the builders will help a prospective buyer have an idea of what to expect. Where the builders are not well known or new it is proper to check:
  • The plumbing system: ensure it is properly fixed, the water is flowing in all the taps and systems, the water is clean, there are no clogs or breakages etc.
  • Electrical installations: inspect the circuit breakers, switches and all electrical connections.
  • The doorframes: do they align? Are they well fixed? Is there a crack?
  • The walls: was the walls recently painted, any bulge, is it trying to cover up any crack, any smell or dampness/mould,  is the paint peeling off?

These are just a few of the things to look out for on the property and its location aside the external considerations like proximity to the market, school, church which some people may prefer to have on the same street while it may be a big No for some other people – different strokes for different folks!

It is also not possible to have everything you want in a property (you will be extremely lucky to buy your dream house without any further addition) but you can have the things that matter to you and also ensure that you are not spending so much money renovating a house having paid for amenities you thought were provided but was was not.

Knowing the accurate state of the house helps to negotiate a great purchase and hence, even when you decide to renovate and put things in order you know you were not ripped off.

Basically, have a checklist and tick your list before paying!!

Written by Braimah Igekie



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