• Look (and smell) closely for evidence of mold. Mold and mold damage is a major problem that will cost you a lot to clean and repair. Don’t just look for it —use your nose as well. Mold frequently gives off a musty smell, even when there are no visible signs. Inspect all crawl spaces, basement areas, and walls. Plaster that is flaking, watermarks on walls or ceilings, or even a fresh coat of paint in part of a room could be indications of mold. Do not forget to check the ceiling and around the skirting boards properly for evidence of leaks or water damage. • Ensure heating, air-conditioning, and electricity are in good working order. Other aspects to consider when looking at the general condition of the property are the heating and air conditioning systems. Have an expert assess that they are the appropriate models and capacity, and that they are working properly. Check the fuse box. It should not be old or outdated, must be easily accessible, and in good working condition. Ensure wiring was installed properly — you don’t want to spend a fortune rewiring the home to bring it up to a standard. Also be sure to consider if there are enough power outlets and if they are in good condition. • Inspect basements and attics. Check the attic for water leakage issues or signs of pests. Look for water damage or leaks that may have affected the insulation, walls, and ceiling of the attic. Make sure that the insulation is adequate for where the property is located, and that nothing appears to be nesting in it. In the basement, look for evidence of moisture problems. Is there water leaking onto the floor or water stains around the foundation? There should be no cracks in the basement walls and any wood such as exposed beams or wooden stairs should be in good condition with no rot. • Look at pipes, turn on taps. Check that the plumbing is up- to-date. Run taps to ensure they work properly and the water pressure is strong enough. Exposed pipes in unheated areas should be insulated, as frozen pipes will eventually cause water damage. It is particularly important from a health perspective to ascertain that the pipes are not made of or lined with lead. If they are, you will have to replace them, no matter the expense. Also, check the age and condition of the hot water heater — important both for your convenience and your safety.
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