Are you in the market for a new property? You’ll always want to get the most out of your investment. While the majority of buyers focus on space, potential for increased value and other major factors that typically influence property purchasing, a small few consider some of the more subtle indicators that a house is worth making an offer on.
Plumbing is a crucial part of the home environment. It is used daily and covers a range of different functions, from cleaning and waste control to heating and essential water supply. Plumbing in good condition is an essential component of a smart property investment, as any problems discovered after you acquire the deed are not just going to cost you, but cost you dearly.
When evaluating a potential property purchase, you need to be on the lookout for plumbing issues that could turn into nightmare problems. But what are these issues and how can you avoid them?
Leaks, Pipe Weaknesses and Corrosion
Pipework runs through the entirety of a property, which means it comes into contact with all elements of a home’s design and structure. Leaks, be they fast-acting or slow dribs and drabs, eventually cause serious damage if left unchecked.
The problem is, given the nature of property, leaks aren’t always obvious. Potential buyers need to make sure they inspect as much of the pipework in a house as possible — including in attics and garages, behind furniture, counters and appliances, and under the floor where possible.
Leaks are nightmares waiting to happen and need to be resolved before any purchase is agreed. However, you aren’t just looking for leaks. Weaknesses are also a major problem. Even if you don’t find evidence of leaks, you should be on the lookout for loose pipework, damage or signs of corrosion.
Placement of Bathroom Space
Many homeowners favour an upstairs bathroom over one that is downstairs, yet plenty of properties are built with downstairs units. The result is that, as a buyer, you want to relocate the bathroom to the upper-floor.
This a fairly standard plumbing job, but there are still important things to consider — considerations that can lead to nightmare scenarios if ignored.
The ease of moving a bathroom is not based on the size of the items you need or the volume of units you want to install; it’s all about the location of the plumbing within the property. For example, moving a bathroom directly up one level is a much easier task than relocating it from the back of the property to the front. A bathroom must be piped correctly and proximity to appropriate plumbing networks is an essential part of that.
Failure to consider the actual placement of plumbing can increase costs by thousands. The best thing to do in this scenario is to have a local plumbing expert evaluate your potential new property prior to making a purchase to ensure your dreams of bathroom relocation are realistic and within your budget.
Old-Fashioned or Outdated Boiler Systems
The average boiler has a lifespan of around 10 years; however, many homes have systems that are far older. Aged boilers are prone to breakdowns, require regular maintenance and are much less efficient than their modern counterparts. The cost of replacing old boilers can creep into the thousands; replacing entire systems can be even higher.
When purchasing property, be sure to inspect the boiler to identify its age. If you can’t get the information from the estate agent or homeowner, you should be able to find the serial number on the appliance and call the manufacturer. As of 2005, all boiler installations must be registered — although, with a bit of luck, older appliances may be recorded as well.
Old boilers need to be addressed prior to making your investment, either through pushing the price of the property down or discussing replacements prior to agreeing to the sale.
Appliance Issues and Faults
Always request to use appliances in a property before buying it. This includes testing taps, central heating systems, washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, gas ovens, etc. You need to do this for a few reasons:
1. Central heating may look good on the surface, but there are plenty of faults to be found within a shiny exterior. Turning on a boiler lets you know if it’s working properly. Check to see how long water takes to heat and if there are any problems with the radiators, in addition to listening out for strange noises in both the pipes and boiler itself.
2. You may opt to keep the current appliances in your new home or you may bring your own. It does not matter. Washing machines, dishwashers, etc are all going to be fitted to the same plumbing systems, which need to be properly functional. Blockages or leaks that occur during operation are costly to repair, so run standard cycles on all of these machines to make sure there are no issues to be found.
3. Sometimes, the only way to find a leak is to run water through the system, as it may only be a short-lived problem. Common problems include issues with water pressure in some of the outlets or pipes. Run water out of all faucets you can find and check the surrounding pipework, such as under baths or in sink cupboards, for signs of leakage. It is advisable you do this before searching the property for additional leaks, as it may highlight problems that would otherwise go unnoticed.