Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial decisions for most of us. As property prices are appreciating, the cost of home ownership is also increasing in tandem.
When you have forked out a large sum of your savings for downpayment and taken an expensive mortgage to finance your purchase, it comes along with raised expectations for what you have paid for. But how do you ensure that you have gotten your dollars’ worth?
As part of the HDB buyer checklist, you need to conduct a home handover inspection within the agreed timeframe.
You may need more than a day to conduct a thorough home inspection. However, there are basic items that can be checked within a day during the handover process.
Below are basic items that need to be inspected and they may apply to either or both new BTO and resale HDB units.
Functioning Electrical Outlets
Check each and every electrical outlet to determine if all of them are working or whether there is any power leakage.
It pays to be prepared when you are testing the electrical sockets and power points. The easiest tools to bring along during the inspection are a test pen and a small night lamp (or any small electronic device) that can be plugged directly into the socket.
When the device works, you know straight away that the power point is functioning and vice versa. Ensure that every power socket is tested with this method.
Of course, if the switch is off, and your device still lights up, it would mean there is a power leakage.
Wall and Structure Defects
Next, survey the walls and flooring for any structural defects. Check for signs of cracks, scratches, uneven surfaces, gaps and even hollowness.
When tiles are involved, check that the tiles are installed neatly. There should be no unsightly gaps or loose tiles. A quick knock on the tiles will indicate whether the surface below is hollow or solid.
This is important to determine if quality materials have been delivered as promised. If they promised you a solid concrete wall, there should not be any hollow sounds when you do a “knock-knock” test.
Common Plumbing Issues
If you are inspecting a brand new BTO, start by filling up your water tank. This may take an hour or two depending on the size of your tank.
Once you have a full tank, you can start turning on all the taps to inspect the water flow.
We recommend to drench the bathroom floor with water and leave it there for a day. Check if the water flows into the drain easily or stay pooled in a puddle. If you still see the puddle of water after 1-2 days, this means the flooring is uneven.
To check for sink leakages, place a sink stopper and fill your sink to the brim. Check all the visible piping to see if there are any dripping water.
If you have bought a resale home with a full-fledged kitchen, check that there are no leakages underneath the sink. Mould and wood rot inside the kitchen cabinet where the sink is, are indicators of kitchen sink leakage.
However, if the sink is an Aurasink, you can be assured that the sink is leakproof.
Furniture and Fittings
If your new house comes with furniture and fittings, you will need to check if they are solid, secure and well-aligned.
This means no loose or missing screws, no visible chips and scratches, no rust and no wood rot.
Check that the door and window hinges are well oiled and working.
Locks and Basic Security Within the Home
When you receive the keys to your home, be sure to ensure you have a complete set. Every lock in the house must have a key to it.
Try opening, locking and reopening the doors and windows to make sure that all potential home entrances are secure.
For buyers of a resale unit, we strongly advise you to change a new set of locks and keys for your home.
Pests and Unwanted Growth
Inspection the home of pests and mould is mostly done when you purchase a resale unit.
House pests that has taken up residence within the home can be a major concern for homeowners. Not only are they detrimental to health, pests like termites can do a lot of structural damages if not detected. The fastest way to spot termites are the sighting of fine brown mounds of termite droppings. Also, you can do a quick knocking test on the wood to check if it is hollow or not.
Another cause for concern is mould. It is a sign of dampness. Check all the potential places where moisture can be trapped – bathrooms, kitchen, behind large furniture like cabinets, sofas, etc. This is a potential indicator for water leakage.
Getting Your Money’s Worth with a Professional Home Handover Inspection
If you have plans for home renovation, it is even more important to conduct a thorough home inspection before any home improvement work is done. Defects detected during or after the renovation will not be covered because they may have been caused by the renovation works. Hence, rectification costs incurred to fix these defects after the renovation will be solely borne by the homeowner.
Because of the tedious and time-consuming process, there is now high demand for professional home defect inspection services. For a stress-free process, you can engage a professional to conduct the home handover inspection for you, with a fee of course.