28 Nov Why You Should View Properties When It’s Raining
While summer is a great time to go and view prospective properties, the winter may actually be the perfect season for seeing potential new homes. So why should you view properties when it’s raining?
Of course, summer seems the ideal time to go to property viewings – the sun is shining, the garden is in bloom, and homes look their best in the natural light. But the darker, drearier, wetter months may actually be the best times to purchase a new home.
So why is the rain a positive for property buyers? It’s simple – a good dose of rain can expose a whole host of issues with the home that may have remained hidden otherwise. In addition, there’s a lot less competition for homes during these months.
Rain will help both the buyer and their agent when they’re looking at homes and thinking of making an offer. The rain, wind and moisture in the air are great at helping the buyer notice defects with the property and will reveal any issues you should be aware of before you commit to the purchase.
If you’re thinking of going on some property viewings this winter, here’s what you need to look out for:
Head up to the Roof
While you’re not expected to actually go up onto the roof, it’s certainly worth looking up and getting a general feel for how secure and strong the roof is. If we’re hit with a heavy bout of rain, it will have to go somewhere. And the last places you want the water to go are the home, attic or basement.
Some roofs are clearly defunct, simply from standing on the pavement and looking up. Look for missing tiles, lots of moss, tiles of different colours or missing flashing. If there’s an older layer under the top layer, there may be some hope that the attic is still dry.
For other roofs, you will need to climb up and take a better look at the condition. And don’t believe that just because it’s a newer roof, it’s a reliable one – if the roof wasn’t installed correctly or is particularly cheap, it won’t do its job.
And while the roof might look to be in a good condition, you must also check that the flashing has been done right, including step flashing around the chimney and vent pipes. Also, check whether the roof has vents and soffits for ventilation.
Climb into the Loft
Remember that rain with a strong wind behind it will work its way into any little nook and cranny in the attic space. When viewing a property, head up to the attic for a good look around.
Check for any active leaks or water on the plywood sheeting under the shingles. Make sure that the insulation feels dry, and look for any areas of extensive dark staining or mould.
On a slightly more unsettling note, you should also remember that badly installed roofs will leave gaps that allow pests like rats to move into the attic. Look and listen out for any signs of unwelcome guests, as you won’t want to invest in a property that has a chronic pest issue.
Get your Mind in the Gutter
If the function of the roof is to keep water from getting into the home, then the function of the gutters and downspouts is to get that water away from the property as quickly and as far as possible.
A solid dose of rain will expose bad gutters immediately. Check whether the gutters are overflowing at the brim, leaking at the corner joints, or even worse, whether the rain is completely bypassing the gutters and cascading down behind them.
Work through these questions when checking the gutters and downspouts:
- Are there any actual gutters in place, including over the entrance areas?
- Are the gutters securely connected to the fascia board so they properly catch the rain from the roof?
- Are the gutters full to the brim with leaves or debris?
- Are there actual downspouts connected to the gutters, or is the downspout leaning against the wall?
- Where do the ends of the downspouts empty into?
Drainage Problems Underfoot
Homes located within a flood zone or close to a river that is known to overflow are particularly difficult and expensive to insure, points out specialist Landlord Insurance provider Just Landlords. Therefore, it may be wise to simply discard these properties.
When considering a property purchase, it is always a good idea to walk around the streets nearby and take a look at the land of the surrounding neighbourhood. For example, if the home is positioned at the bottom of a hill, you know that water will be flowing towards it from all sides. If the land slopes towards one side of the home, then water is going to stream down to this side. Check whether there are any drainage systems in place to divert that water away from the home’s foundation. This will help to prevent damage to the property and keep it safe in bad weather.
And don’t stay on the clean concrete path! Walk onto the grassy areas to check whether they’re excessively muddy or water logged. The soil might have poor drainage, or the property might sit on a low spot where water collects. If so, this is not good news for the home’s foundation.
Focus on the Dark Side
One side of a home will receive a more severe battering by the weather than the other sides. While this may be obvious, it’s important that you focus on this particular side when viewing the property. It’s likely that this side of the home will be exposed to the most wind and rain, and therefore will have the greatest potential for damage.
Although you won’t necessarily need a rainy day to work out which side gets the majority of the bad weather, a few days of continuous rain may help you and your agent uncover any ongoing water issues that may not be evident during the drier months.
Smell the Damp
When you enter the property, take note of whether you notice a smell of damp or not. Mould and damp are very distinctive smells that most people will notice straightaway. As well as being an indicator of any moisture issues in the home, it’s vital that you spot any problems with mould or damp, as these can have major health implications. Any signs you do notice must be identified and removed immediately.
As you’re walking around the home, check for signs of damp spots or mould. Additionally, look out for dehumidifiers or air-freshener plugins – the current owner may be trying to hide the smell of damp!
It is always a good idea to prevent condensation and damp when you purchase a property, so remember to do all you can to protect yourself and your family/tenants from health problems caused by mould. This guide will help you control condensation: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-condensation-control/
While you may not feel too keen to go out inspecting prospective new properties in the colder months, it’s certainly worth doing some checks at this time of year to avoid facing severe damage and issues in the future!