If there were no properties on resale, the term real estate investment would become redundant. Homes are built, rebuilt, redesigned, lived in and then, sold to another buyer for numerous reasons. If you are shopping for a home on resale, this checklist should help you evaluate the various options that you are considering.
Standing outside the main door checks
- Drainage. Make sure the property won't flood. A good thing to do would be to visit the property after a healthy Indian rain shower and get your feet wet. If the monsoons are distant, asking the locals will give you a pretty good idea about the flooding situation.
- Access. Make sure you can get in and out of the property at all times. Look out for dead ends and narrow lanes and ensure that your friends, guests and mom in law can find hassle free car parking whenever they visit you.
- Neighborhood. Check what the local environment is like at times other than when the seller/ broker is showing the property to you. Like is there a noisy/smelly workshop or chemical factory nearby that doesn't run on the weekends? Walking around the property and its neighborhood after your site visit with the broker is very important. Put some effort into your recce walks.
- Availability of services. Is it connected/can it be connected to water, electrical, gas, phone, garbage collection, school, medicare, place of work, internet networks etc? What will it cost to connect to them?
- Pollution/contamination. Is the site loaded with asbestos, petrochemicals, heavy metals, old tyres, etc. The stuff could be hidden, covered or buried. Look for tell tale signs carefully. Take your time.
- Look out for any signs of construction flaws; rule of thumb - when you see a crack; see if you can put the edge of a Rupee 1 coin in it, if you can, you may be looking at a serious problem, which could be pretty expensive to fix. Check a property thoroughly inside and out for this and be aware that desperate sellers could paint/ putty/ wallpaper over such cracks.
- Check for any signs of damp. You've got to be really careful about this; most sellers today will paint over damp. It does leave cover up signs (mouldy windows, patches and flakes in bathroom), such as bubbles in paintwork and your nose is just as important as your eyes in detecting it! Damp walls is a problem which may require expensive remedy. Smell can also give away signs of wet rot and prolonged dampness.
- Check the roof and the general state of maintenance and building health: roofs are expensive to put right and you really don't want a leak, ever.
- Check water pressure from the taps and showers. This is extremely important. If you've got no great pressure from the taps, you know that your showers will be bad experiences and the bath tub is going to take a long time to fill. If you see low water pressure, it won't be something you can fix without considerable invention and investment!
- Inside-the-home noise levels, pollution, sunlight, breeze etc. You can only really gauge these aspects properly by visiting the property more than once, preferably at least three times and at different times of day. Don't forget that you and your family have to live and sleep in the place so if the noise etc. isn't at a level you can cope with, you're facing a lot of regret in the long term.
Your gut feeling about the house matters a lot too. Make sure you are happy with your decision before taking up the usual document and legal checks to finalise the deal.