Assessing a house before purchase

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gaijinfarmer
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Assessing a house before purchase

Post by gaijinfarmer » Mon May 13, 2019 6:15 pm

I'm going to look at two adjacent houses next week with the owner, a friend who remodeled an old property into a guest house, a builder, and a surveyor (coming along as a friend, I don't think there will be any problems with property lines).

Here are some details, just for the heck of it:
1) Age 80 (Built in 1938), 1F:Kitchen, Living, 2 rooms and 1 small room 2F: 2 rooms
1 Parking lot in front of entrance
property tax 17,000 JPY/year approximately

2) Age 55 (Built in 1963) 1F:Kitchen, Living, 2 rooms and 1 small room 2F: 2 rooms
rain gutter of 2F roof was damaged at typhoon in last summer
no parking lot
property tax 15,000 JPY/year approximately

Total area about 300 m2, land value 7,200,000 but there are no buyers so it's going cheap.

Anyway, that's tangential to my question. What should I check out when we're looking the property over? Off the top of my head I can think of:

Roof condition
Evidence of leaks in roof interior, ceiling, walls
Mold, evidence of cockroaches
Types and condition of windows
Age and condition of wiring and plumbing
Water pressure
Drainage in drains and exterior gutters
Necessary repairs to exterior walls
Tatami and flooring condition
Airflow, space between tatami and ground
Toilets, black water, bath/laundry area, grey water, necessary modernizations or repairs
I assume the builder will check the underlying structure. Is there any way for me to verify what he's doing?

And really my biggest question is, is there some big liability I'm not seeing in taking these cheap on a whim?

Thanks!

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gonbechan
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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by gonbechan » Mon May 13, 2019 7:06 pm

termites (check around foundation for little mud paths leading up)
ability to rebuild (check zoning)
whether access will be needed in the future if rebuilding is allowed

Zaimondos
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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by Zaimondos » Tue May 14, 2019 9:20 am

Yes, definitely the termites.

If it has a septic tank, check the condition.

Also make sure there's an official border. Border can be done but it's expensive - 200,000 plus.

FYI, we've got some quotes on our property repairs.

Expensive
- plumbing - our pipes are thin (13cm) as it's an older rural property, but we can live with it.
- electrics - they need to be changed as they are low amperage and won't be able to run many modern appliances at the same time (I think that's how it works)

Any foundation work due to termites or other problems will be expensive!

Roof repairs cheaper than expected

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by Zaimondos » Tue May 14, 2019 9:23 am

gaijinfarmer wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:15 pm

And really my biggest question is, is there some big liability I'm not seeing in taking these cheap on a whim?

Thanks!
What's your backup plan if there is an insurmountable problem with the place you find after you buy?

Ours was to knock the place down and build a new one (not cheap but were prepared to do it if necessary).

Otherwise you could abandon it I guess!

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by gaijinfarmer » Tue May 14, 2019 4:44 pm

Zaimondos wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:20 am
Also make sure there's an official border. Border can be done but it's expensive - 200,000 plus.
Do you mean a re-survey, placing markers, or building a kerb or something at the boundary?

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by Zaimondos » Tue May 14, 2019 4:53 pm

I mean placing markers. An official surveyor would need to do it and then register it with the houmukyoku. But it's most likely the properties you're looking already have borders. If land is subdivided they might not, particularly in rural areas where everyone kind of knows whose land is whose. The main problems with not having an official border is that you wouldn't be able to get a mortgage, and then have trouble selling it on in the future.

gaijinfarmer
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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by gaijinfarmer » Wed May 15, 2019 8:21 am

Zaimondos wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:53 pm
I mean placing markers. An official surveyor would need to do it and then register it with the houmukyoku. But it's most likely the properties you're looking already have borders. If land is subdivided they might not, particularly in rural areas where everyone kind of knows whose land is whose. The main problems with not having an official border is that you wouldn't be able to get a mortgage, and then have trouble selling it on in the future.
Good info, thanks! I'm pretty sure the delineations are clear since the 4 sides face 2 houses, a road, and a 介護施設. But I'll definitely ask since I'll have my surveyor friend there.

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by gaijinfarmer » Wed May 15, 2019 8:22 am

By the way, does one take out home insurance on 'worthless' properties? If they are destroyed in a disaster, will insurance pay out for me to actually get/build a house, or just for the value of the buildings?

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by Zaimondos » Wed May 15, 2019 8:26 am

gaijinfarmer wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:22 am
By the way, does one take out home insurance on 'worthless' properties? If they are destroyed in a disaster, will insurance pay out for me to actually get/build a house, or just for the value of the buildings?
I’m not sure, we haven’t got insurance but think we should. I’m more worried about a fire or something at our place that goes on to burn neighbouring properties.

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Re: Assessing a house before purchase

Post by starting_the_dream » Wed May 15, 2019 11:17 am

I'm assuming since you mention parking space that you are at least semi-urban and on city water. But if not, do you know where your water is coming from?