It can be considered a wise investment to use a company like SGS
, they will look over the entire property, electrical, plumbing and what is a point of particular concern to you waterproofing...
I contacted these people about doing an inspection of a property that I'm considering buying, but they said they didn't do that sort of thing. Instead, they directed me to the Kaohsiung Civil Engineers Association (高雄市土木技師公會), who told me:
(1) Since I don't own the property, I have to get permission from the current owner.
(2) OK, assuming I get it, then they come along and just have a look at the place. That costs 5k. I believe there's some kind of form to fill out in which I check a few boxes related to the things I specifically want them to have a look at.
(3) The next step, assuming I want to go further is for them to come along and actually do some tests. The woman at the association said that would cost a minimum of 30~40k.
So, what I'm thinking of doing is:
Getting a local renovator that I know and trust to come and have a look with me. See what he says. If he says the place is beyond redemption (which I doubt is the case), end of story.
If he thinks the place can be fixed up, see what he thinks has to be done. I'll also tell him that I'm going to get an inspection done by a civil engineer and get him to tell me exactly what he thinks are the major problem areas that an engineer should look at.
It's the top floor of a 公寓 and hasn't been lived in for 10 years, during which time it appears that water has been seeping through the roof, so I'm concerned about deterioration of the concrete. Water may have also seeped into one of the beams (it appears discolored). On the other hand, the water damage may not be structural, in which case I may be interested in buying.
I guess I'm reluctant to spend 50k or more on getting a professional inspection of a cheap property that I'm only considering buying.
Is it worth it? What are the alternatives?
I wonder whether I can negotiate a price which would make me much more interested in the place, then get the inspection done, and then pull out if it's going to cost too much to fix up. To what extent am I committed once a price has been negotiated?
As I said, I don't think the place is in such bad condition that it can't be saved (then again, I'm not an engineer). I think it's just a matter of cost. I'm hoping that the water damage is mostly cosmetic. But if the whole building was built with sub-standard materials, then the damage could be more serious, in which case I wouldn't buy, no matter how low the price.