Home inspectors will help to point out several things that you may not have noticed during your viewing of the house and they will give you an honest picture of the property to help you to understand if you do have hidden maintenance costs in the long run.

However, before this you can do a first check yourself. CBRE Home Inspectors advise you to check four key things to look at:

Plumbing - Check pipes for any leaks or severe rust near the joints. Run the taps to see if the drains are clogged. This will also help you assess the water pressure. If it’s an old construction, try to understand if and when the plumbing was replaced. Also, secular constructions may still have lead (poisonous) pipes form the early 20th century so beware of that.

Electrical system – Check the fuse box, electrical outlets and switches and this will tell you a lot about the wiring. Try to understand if it has ever been renewed. Electrical wiring does have a limited life time and usually needs replacement after 40 or 50 years.

Walls and floors - The biggest issue is water infiltration and the damage it causes. Any visible water damage could mean serious problems within the walls, structure and with insulation. Moisture can be a very tricky issue and carry a hefty bill.

Roof and ceilings - Water damage and leaks are obviously what you need to look for. If you can, checking the roof would be worth your time to make sure that nothing is cracked and leaking.

Now, if in your case it’s an apartment, then it’s certainly worthwhile to check the building too because being an owner will mean supporting these costs.

CBRE, member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is the #1 Real Estate Advisor worldwide and is now providing home valuations and inspections in the Algarve, Comporta, Porto and Lisbon area.

For further information, please call 213 114 400 www.cbre.pt