Whether you’re renting or buying, moving into a new place is one of the most exciting transitions you’ll ever make. Maybe it’s the view, the vintage features, or the modern layout – whatever the case when you find somewhere that feels like home, it’s easy to get swept up at the moment and right towards the paperwork.

But before you get hold of the keys, put your excitement aside, take off your rose-colored glasses, and look at the property through a critical lens. Even the most beautiful-looking places can harbor headaches and have problems hidden behind the sheen of perfection.

With help from Mother Nature’s Cleaning, we count down 5 key areas to check out before moving into a property. We’re not trying to burst your bubble by any means – it’s about making sure you have complete visibility on potential issues so that you can make an informed decision about your future home.

1. Home maintenance

When looking at a property, make a point of checking out the overall state of affairs. Assess the condition of the doors, walls, windows, and carpets – are they in good shape, or do you notice persistent neglect?

Of course, a few nicks and bumps are normal. But if you notice consistent damage and decay across the space, it might be worth taking a step back. If the surface features have been allowed to fall into disrepair, it could be a sign that the owner hasn’t properly maintained other key areas of the property, either.

If you’re looking to purchase the property, be sure to have a home inspector conduct a thorough examination to look for major issues. Take stock of the surface problems and factor them into your overall budget – how much will you have to invest in painting, plastering, and repairing?

keep property maintained and in good shape

If you’re looking to rent the property, ask your property manager what the scope is for repairing these issues before you move in. Make sure to document all of these knocks, bumps, and scratches beforehand, so everyone is aligned with the state of the property when you hand over your damage deposit.

2. Test the water pressure

Take a water tour through the home – journey through the bathroom, kitchen, and any other relevant areas where you can test out the water pressure and functionality in the sink, shower, bath, and toilet.

Keep an eye out for good pressure, and an ear out for regular noises. Hopefully, everything runs smoothly, but if you notice a weak stream or any odd rumbling sounds, ask your estate agent, landlord, or your home inspector about it.

It could be a matter of getting a plumber out to make a few adjustments, or you could be in for a much bigger job. Either way, it’s important to have transparency so you can adjust your expectations before deciding whether or not to move in.

3. Check the appliances

Moving into a home that has a full suite of appliances can seem like a huge bonus – until one of them breaks. At the very least, it’s an annoying setback. At worst, it can cause a significant financial hit.

Check that the laundry machine, dryer, dishwasher, fridge, and any other appliances are in good working order before you take on the property. If you notice that anything seems off, raise it with your estate agent or landlord so you can begin to negotiate repairs or a price adjustment.

4. Look in the nooks and crannies

check for damage in hidden spots

Just because everything looks fresh, bright, and inviting, doesn’t mean there aren’t a few shadows lurking in the corner. Of course, appreciate the beauty of your potential new home – but make sure to take the time to investigate storage spaces and tucked-away areas in each room.

Peek in cupboards, drawers, corners, and closets and look for signs of pests, water damage, and damp. Every loved and lived-in home is going to have its trouble spots, but it’s important to know where they are before you agree to move into a property.

5. Reputation

So, the house looks perfect – but what about the people who are helping you get through the front door?

Whether you’re buying or renting, the journey home to a new property can be a long and complicated one. Make sure that the people who are coming along for the ride are reputable and trustworthy, so you know you can rely on them to help sort out any potential challenges that may arise.

Do a background check on your estate agent, landlord, home inspector, mortgage broker, and anyone else who has a big hand in getting you into your new house. Check out their online presence, look for reviews, and ask for credentials and proof of experience.