Getting a new place to stay is exciting, but also a lot of work. Hunting down real estate online makes the process a little easier with the available pictures and glamour shots, but nothing beats the on-site, in-person inspection. The agent or owner will usually be very helpful with providing useful information about the property, but to be well-informed and aware about the features (and fiddly bits) of the apartment, pay attention to these:
1. Electricity & Wiring
Check if the power is running, power outlets are functioning, and there are no obvious faults with the wiring. An easy way to do so is to switch lights, ceiling fans, or appliances – if the apartment is furnished – on and off. To test the power outlets, plug in your phone to charge for a bit.
2. Doors & Windows
Check that doors and windows are intact, undamaged, and working well. Doors should be sturdy and uncracked or broken, with functional handles and locks – no loose, jiggly, or stuck knobs! The frame – jambs, threshold, and strike plate – should also be intact and undamaged.
Windows should also be in good shape – clean and uncracked, with no holes or gaps in the frame. They should also seal properly, and keep the water and wind out. Try opening them to check if the hinges work, and they are not stuck. If the windows come with locks, make sure those are functional too.
3. Walls, Ceiling & Flooring
Give the walls, ceiling, and floor a once-over, looking for signs of water damage, cracks, chips, peeling paint, or mould. Discolouration, warping, and bulges can be indicators of serious damage. Also, pay attention to fresh – or botched! – paint jobs.
4. Pipes & Plumbing
Check if the taps are working, and the water is clean and flows steadily. Pay attention to any leaky or stuck fixtures, as well as rust or damage with the plumbing. Ensure that sinks and basins are unclogged, draining steadily and easily.
Keep an eye on the toilets as well – it should flush properly, and be reasonably clean and without any unpleasant odours.
5. Appliances & Furniture
If your apartment comes furnished with electrical appliances – common ones being air conditioners, lights, fans, fridge, microwave, oven, and washing machines – check to see that they are working well and undamaged. Furniture – bed frame, dresser, tables, dining sets, settees, and so on – should also be in good shape.
Finally, look out for signs of household pests, like rats, cockroaches, and termites. Pay attention to smells and cleanliness, check for droppings and damage to structures and fixtures, and any suspicious-looking ‘new’ paint jobs which may intend to hide faults and damage.
Don’t be afraid of looking silly or critical – reasonable and responsible landlords understand the importance of inspecting the property before you commit and move in. After all, issues and problems should be fixed early to prevent any long-term issues!