There is always a sense of anticipation and hope before a visit to see a new potential property. Sometimes it is love at first sight and sometimes it is not what you hoped for.
Try to keep practicality in mind when viewing a property for the first time. There are many things to consider when making your first visit. This list is a good start for things to watch out for:
Still Waters Run Deep
Moisture problems can be expensive and complicated to fix. It rains a lot in Paris. There can be issues with moisture, and owners are not obligated to declare moisture issues.
Flaking plaster, water marks on the walls or ceiling and a mouldy smell are obvious giveaways that there is, or has been a problem.
A fresh coat of paint can cover some of these issues. A little device called a hygrometer, used to measure humidity, can be your best friend. The device is not expensive. You can pick one up at a hardware store for around 5 euros. Have it with you when you do your first visit and use it to look for traces of moisture on the walls.
Turn it On
Turn on any knob, dial, light switch or faucet that you can see, to see if it is working. If it isn’t, ask why.
Don’t forget the radiators. Set them to the highest level to see how well they work.
Use Your Sniffer
Use your sense of smell for any smells of gas, sewage or mildew. Pet odors and cigarette smoke could also be evident.
Turn a Blind Eye
When it comes to paint jobs, don’t let wall colours like the paint colours or wallpapers influence your reaction. These are superficial and can be easily changed to suit your taste.
Where to Put It?
How much storage space is there? Are there built in cupboards and closets. Is there room to build these in if needed?
Is there a cave, (a storage space in the basement)?
If you have a car you will need to consider parking. Is a parking space included. Is it outside or is it covered? Some underground spaces are boxed in, adding extra security for your vehicle.
Hairline cracks are not uncommon so you should expect to see some. You want to look for large cracks that may indicate that the building is not structurally sound. Check around the windows, or walls that are joined to the end of terraces, and in the ceilings.
Some Like It Hot
A southern view will give you the most light, which is great during the winter months, but during the dog days of summer it could be tough to bear. If you have a green thumb and enjoy having plants, it will be important for you to have lots of light.
- A day without sunshine is like, you know, night ( Steve Martin quotation )
Take compass along with you so you can get an accurate read on the direction the property faces.
Do you hear the footsteps from the upstairs neighbours? Can you hear a television, radio or voices coming through the walls. If so, this apartment is not adequately sound proofed.
Take Another Look
This is a cursory list of some of the things that you will need to watch out for on your first visit. If you like property, you should not limit it to one visit. Go back, view it again, and look around some more. If you are still interested, come again back again with a certified home inspector.