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List of Things to check before buying or renting


Ferret
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Okay, so here's a start to a list of things to check when renting or buying. Please feel free to comment on additions or deletions. And please remember that you were once a newbie here. Be kind. If you don't understand something on the list then it is something that you need to further check on. You can use the search feature at the top of the forum and will, most likely, get multiple hits on things (or terms) that you don't understand.

Heads Up for Buyers and Renters: There are no building codes or inspections done here. Anyone can build a house with the correct permits to build. So, check the reputation of the builder and arrive with 1) a marble or golf ball 2) a surge protector that has a light that shows “grounded” 3) a laptop or iPad to check the speed of the existing modem.

Water: Municipal? Well? Quality? How often? Metered? Aljibe? Pressurized? Submersible pump? Tinaco? Both? When last cleaned? Purification system? Softener?

Electrical: Grounded (check every outlet with surge protector)? Frequency of power failures? Length of power failures? Voltage regulation and surge protection? Check previous bills.

Roof: Waterproofed (impermiabilizante)? When? With what? Does roof slope correctly to drain pipes (use marble or golf ball)?

Telephone/Internet: Is there already a landline with Telmex? If not, length of time to installation? If there is already a modem hooked up, take your laptop, connect and check the speed. If no modem, then talk to neighbours about speed. Invest in an old fashioned phone from Walmart… you can’t report power failure if your phone requires electricity.

Septic system or Sewer: If a septic system, when was it last pumped out? Where is the access lid in case of need of future pumpings? Talk to neighbours about what happens in the rainy season. Is there a vent stack (which greatly facilitates flushing)?

Drainage: Are there drain pipes from the roof? Is there drainage away from the house? Is there drainage from interior open patios or exterior patios? Again, check slope direction with marble or golf ball

Propane Tank: Location? Age? Check previous usage bills.

Check for salitre on walls and on those lovely boveda ceilings. Be warned!

Are there screens on the windows? Does the security on the house meet your standards?

Talk to the neighbours about “Eventos” or “Tallers” or Restaurants with music in the area. ALL can be NOISY

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Skylights? Many homes have those small square polyacrilic skylights. Check to see if they are vented. I actually hate these things. If they're not vented, they build up heat inside the access box. If they're vented then the down draft in the winter is nasty. I solved the second problem, in the house we were renting, by crabbing onto the roof and sealing every single one of them with duct tape. Do it in in the middle of October and take it off at the beginning of March. If you don't take it off, it gets dry, crumbly and grotty.

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My personal no-go on house location: 

No trash corners....most N>S street homes have to carry trash to nearest E>W street corner.  In centro Ajijic, those trash corners can be quite ugly as many put out trash too early (night before) and/or trucks are late/delayed.  This may not be apparent if you only view for-sale home in late AM or early afternoon. 

Also, no bus streets.

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1 hour ago, Ferret said:

Skylights? Many homes have those small square polyacrilic skylights. Check to see if they are vented. I actually hate these things. If they're not vented, they build up heat inside the access box. If they're vented then the down draft in the winter is nasty. I solved the second problem, in the house we were renting, by crabbing onto the roof and sealing every single one of them with duct tape. Do it in in the middle of October and take it off at the beginning of March. If you don't take it off, it gets dry, crumbly and grotty.

I have a ventilated skylight in one of my bathrooms and love it.  The other bathroom has slatted windows which do not close all the way.l   I have never needed to close them until this past "winter" which had a longer than average cold spell, or maybe that was just normal weather since the last several years have been abnormally warm.  You can just close your bathroom door to avoid chilling the house.  Very fortunately, I had some clear plastic used as a tablecloth cover and I put it over the skylight and secured it with a few loose bricks on the wall between me and my neighbor.  I folded up pieces of bubble wrap or other plastic wrapping to put in the spaces of the slats, and all that worked fine.

One other small suggestion.  The above are all excellent points, however please be aware that your neighbors or shopowners are likely to be Mexican and not speak English, contrary to popular gringo legend.  It greatly helps in these matters is you speak a reasonable level of Spanish.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ferret said:

Skylights? Many homes have those small square polyacrilic skylights. Check to see if they are vented. I actually hate these things. If they're not vented, they build up heat inside the access box. If they're vented then the down draft in the winter is nasty. I solved the second problem, in the house we were renting, by crabbing onto the roof and sealing every single one of them with duct tape. Do it in in the middle of October and take it off at the beginning of March. If you don't take it off, it gets dry, crumbly and grotty.

I have a ventilated skylight in one of my bathrooms and love it.  The other bathroom has slatted windows which do not close all the way.l   I have never needed to close them until this past "winter" which had a longer than average cold spell, or maybe that was just normal weather since the last several years have been abnormally warm.  You can just close your bathroom door to avoid chilling the house.  Very fortunately, I had some clear plastic used as a tablecloth cover and I put it over the skylight and secured it with a few loose bricks on the wall between me and my neighbor.  I folded up pieces of bubble wrap or other plastic wrapping to put in the spaces of the slats, and all that worked fine.

One other small suggestion.  The above are all excellent points, however please be aware that your neighbors or shopowners are likely to be Mexican and not speak English, contrary to popular gringo legend.  It greatly helps in these matters is you speak a reasonable level of Spanish.

 

 

 

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Check for good ‘cross ventilation’. Also consider only houses that face NS and/or make sure that the hot sun won’t be bearing down on your ‘living area’ or bedrooms.

And, if the house will get no sun in the winter... i.e. no windows facing south, you might be in for a long winter as these ‘stone’ houses, once cold, hardly ever warm up during the day. 

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how old is the plumbing and can you flush (small amounts) of toilet paper?

can you turn on the microwave without the lights dimming?

If you want satellite TV is there a good spot for it pointing South and a little East?

Is there a pressure tank for the water or does to flow using gravity from a tank on the roof? 

Are there ceiling fans in each room (or at least an electric box to put one)

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1 hour ago, RickS said:

Check for good ‘cross ventilation’. Also consider only houses that face NS and/or make sure that the hot sun won’t be bearing down on your ‘living area’ or bedrooms.

And, if the house will get no sun in the winter... i.e. no windows facing south, you might be in for a long winter as these ‘stone’ houses, once cold, hardly ever warm up during the day. 

Absolutely! We always used the adage "if the air can't get out, then it won't come in". Interestingly enough, the most predominate air flow here is east to west or west to east which can create a problem for ventilation when your house faces north/south.

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Look at the height of things like towel racks, closet rods, shelves and cupboards. We have lived in several houses built for giants. I am 5'4" and can't always reach some or all of the above.

If you are on a one way street, look to see which side is used for parking. Avoid that side or have your garage or car port door blocked way too often.

Especially if you are buying, drive around the neighborhood around 10 pm with your car radio on and the windows down. Listen for excessive barking dogs.

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Haha MtnMama. I am also 5'4" and I once rented a house where the kitchen counters must have been built for midgets- they came up to about the level of my hip bones. They obviously weren't designed for wheelchair access, as there were stairs to the front door and no ramps.

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Great list Ferret. Well thought out.

Not all septic systems need to be pumped out- mine is 11 years old and has never needed it. Have a pre-digester tank, which flows into a block-built drain field. I do flush toilet paper, but not all (pee paper in the basket) and my grey water from sinks and showers is routed into the garden areas. Septics work best the less water that goes in. Built from scratch, so I do have the almost unheard-of-here vent stacks.

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