Buying an apartment – Checklist and tips you need to know!

Would you like to own a house or an apartment? Before taking any action, assess the property’s condition and investigate every nook and corner, from the foundations to the finishing. What should you look for on your first visit if you’re looking to buy an apartment in Islamabad or a house? What should you look for on your next visit?

Checklist for buying an apartment or a house: the initial visit

During your initial visit, address with the seller the issues that are likely to cause problems after ensuring that the property’s location meets your requirements and those of possible purchasers (in the event of resale).

1. Common areas

If you are looking to purchase an apartment, you should investigate all common areas, such as the garbage room, the stairs and/or elevator, the gate, the parking lot, the common outdoor area(s), etc.

In particular, check the state of the building’s façade to see whether they have previously been refurbished, if the last facelift was recent, or if the condominium is planning this work this year or in the coming years.

This information is useful since it tells you whether the building’s maintenance is done regularly or whether one can expect a substantial increase in costs in the coming years.

2. Walls that bear loads

It is critical to distinguish between partitions and load-bearing walls while visiting an apartment or a house. For instance, if you want a kitchen with a direct view of the living room, while the kitchen is entirely partitioned, you will need to consider additonal costs for the modification.

It is preferable to verify that the walls to be demolished are not load-bearing. Indeed, removing a load-bearing wall is expensive (because of the feasibility study and the technical nature of the task) and risks of damaging the building’s stability.

How can I identify the type of each wall?

Load-bearing walls are highlighted in bold if you have access to architectural designs. Otherwise, the thickness of the walls and the sound they make might reveal their identity. As a result, if the wall is 15 cm thick or greater, it is most likely load-bearing.

If the sound emitted when you knock on a wall is deafening, this one is most likely the carrier. However, certain load-bearing walls might sound hollow due to the layers of plaster that cover them.

3. Cracks

There are several forms of cracks. Some of these should pique your interest, while others pose no threat.

How to tell them apart when visiting a house or an apartment?

The hue and depth of a fracture indicate the level of hazard. There’s no need to be concerned if you notice faint, superficial fissures.

You should be concerned about the black inside fissures, which are not recent, and the horizontal outer fractures between the levels. They might suggest a concern with the building’s structure, which could be on the agenda of the next co-owners meeting.

4. Exposure/windows

A bright accommodation has a substantial influence on the quality of life of its residents and is easier to resolve! Bring a compass with you when you look for a house or an apartment. You will be able to examine the solar exposure of your potential home. One of the best layouts is for the living room to face south/south-west and the bedrooms and service rooms to face east, south-east, or even north.

Check that the glazed surface is comfortable for you and that the vis-à-vis is not uncomfortable. Your windows’ quality and glazing influence your home’s insulation: thoroughly inspect their condition to estimate the remodeling expense ahead of time if required!

5. The floor

Take the time to inspect the condition of the parquet flooring if it is used in some areas of the home. You may check it through the creaks or its physical condition, whether it is covered or not. Is the floor crooked? Have you been removed? Are there any slats missing?

In such a situation, is it a difficult-to-find the ancient parquet floor to replace the missing slats? Expect substantial charges if the entire parquet must be replaced.

6. Security

Safety should not be disregarded when visiting an apartment or a residence. Not just for your convenience but also the expense of the job involved. As a result, if the front door is not properly safe, it will be required to consider replacing it, which will not be cheap.

If you are interested in renting an apartment, be certain that the entrance to the property is secure. Check for a digicode or an intercom and a guard or a video surveillance system.

The checklist of details to verify on the second or counter-visit

During the counter-visit to the sought apartment or house, go through the factors listed below. This is done to create a detailed technical document on the general condition of the property you want to purchase. To do so, you must evaluate the cost of any task and examine all major factors (budget, feasibility, etc.).

General property inspections

Regardless of the kind of accommodation:

  • The accommodation’s living space
  • The number of rooms and how they are distributed (general configuration of the dwelling)
  • The property’s conformance to its description
  • The availability of a personal cellar
  • The presence of a patio and the number of balconies
  • The availability of a private parking place
  • Humidity: look for any indications of the presence of humidity.
  • The character of each wall (bearing or partition)
  • The state of the walls: look for cracks, even if they are disguised beneath a thick layer of covering.
  • The condition of the ground and floors
  • The quantity and state of available storage spaces
  • The total number of toilets
  • The current infrastructure status (equipment in the bathroom, equipment in the kitchen, boiler, etc.).

If it’s a single-family apartment:

  • Stairs’ safety and quality
  • The garage’s condition
  • The state of the gate, particularly if it is electric, as this sort of renovation may be costly.

Features of the water’s condition

Check the following items in the bathroom:
  • The condition of the bathroom’s equipment, including the shower and bathtub, sinks, bidet, etc.
  • The ventilation and aeration system
  • The presence of moisture (stains, odor)
  • The arrangement of the toilets (separate or common)
  • The state of the pipes and faucets
  • Check for water leaks by opening the faucets.
  • The presence of connections and pipelines, particularly for the installation of a washing machine
  • The tile joints’ quality and cleanliness.

In the kitchen, double-check everything:

  • The design of the kitchen (check if it is functional and suits you)
  • The arrangement and functionality of the worktop, as well as the storage compartments (top and bottom)
  • The ventilation system and the number of windows
  • The number of electrical equipment sockets
  • The configuration of the water inlets and outputs, particularly for the connection of a dishwasher
  • The amount of space needed for installing home appliances (refrigerator, cooker, hood, etc.)
  • The total of all costs on the water bill.

Insulation condition

Its insulation heavily influences the comfort and energy expenses of a home.

Daily, a residence that is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer may be quite uncomfortable. If this annoyance affects the accommodation, anticipate having to perform costly insulation work (thermal and sound) to correct it.

You must thus verify the following items throughout your visit:
  • The wall insulation (the materials, durability, the maintenance required, etc.)
  • Insulation at the walls’ corners (to avoid thermal bridges)
  • Remember to inquire or verify if the tea glazing is single, double, or triple.
  • Floor covering, whether to prevent noise pollution from your condominium’s neighbors or to reduce heat loss
  • The air purification system
  • The property’s year of construction and its DPE (Energy Performance Diagnosis) score A score of “A” indicates that the home is extremely energy efficient. In contrast, a score of “G” suggests that you will need to do work on the roof and attic insulation.

Beware of hidden defects!

It is fairly uncommon for severe flaws in housing to go uncovered during visits, either because they would require the expertise of an expert or because they would take time to identify. As a result, these flaws frequently arise after the purchase.

These are known as “hidden flaws,” They usually need extensive work to put the accommodation back into compliance. They might be related to:

  • The structure’s fragility (frame, beams, foundations, etc.)
  • Inadequate roof or terrace sealing
  • Dampness affecting the walls
  • Some noise pollution exists.
  • A basement that is frequently flooded and so useless.

If a fault is discovered, action must be done within two years of signing the deed of sale of the property. It would be best if you established that the problem existed before you became the owner for the prior owner to recover the cost of the work, cancel the acquisition, or decrease the property’s sale price.


It will be easier for you to decide if you are aware of the problems connected with termites, asbestos, lead, floods, and the dwelling’s energy consumption.

Last but not least, visit the accommodation on different days and times of day to appreciate the brightness, noise and better absorb the ambiance.

Also Read: Should you look into Islamabad sector B-17 for investments?