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8 Things to Check on a Property’s Exterior Before Buying

Norwalk Rental Property Exterior and PatioBuying a Norwalk rental property can be a great opportunity. But there is also the potential for significant financial losses if you aren’t careful. Before buying any rental property, it’s important to check specific aspects of the property, both inside and out. Carefully inspecting a potential investment property’s exterior is one of the best ways to spot hidden problems that could spell expensive repairs later on. By checking these eight specific things, you can rest assured that you have the information you need to make a good investment.


Tracking problems while inspecting a roof is not that difficult. Yet, you’d be surprised how often investors skip this step. In addition to noting what type of roof the property has (composite shingle, wood, tile, or flat roof), it’s important to get a close-up look at it. Test a few shingles and see if they are beginning to move around. Keep an eye to the spots where shingles are missing or seem worn, curled, or otherwise damaged. These are pretty obvious red flags that the roof is not in great condition.


As you drive up to the property, be sure to note your first impressions. How is the curb appeal? Are the yard and landscaping attractive and well managed? Some overgrown weeds or low-hanging tree limbs are a very easy patch. But if you notice whole trees or large areas of the lawn that are dead or diseased, that could require an expensive landscaping job to make the area presentable.

Deck or Patio

Along with the yard, don’t forget to inspect exterior features like a deck or patio. Wooden decks are notorious for becoming a real safety hazard if they haven’t been properly maintained. Please note that you have to test the planks and supports for signs of termites or wood rot, and assess the condition of the finish. For patios, look for signs that the concrete is starting to crumble or break. That is an instant sign that they need to be immediately replaced.

Siding and/or Paint

No inspection is complete without detailed notes about the property’s siding and exterior paint. Depending on what kind of siding material you’re using, repairs could be as simple as replacing a few pieces of vinyl siding or as involved as re-painting a stucco exterior.

Wood Rot

If the property you wish to acquire has wood anywhere on the home’s exterior, it’s important to check each area carefully. In addition to wooden roof shingles and decks, some homes have wood clapboard siding, wooden trim around doors and windows, wood steps and railings, and so forth. Anytime wood is used on an exterior surface, there is the potential for wood rot – and not just in humid climates.

Drainage and Gutters

Another interesting component of a safe investment property is how well it handles wet weather. It is recommended to inspect the condition of any gutters and downspouts, including the ground underneath them. If you notice signs of erosion or water damage to the foundation, those are both signs that the property does not have adequate drainage. You don’t want a rental property that floods every time it rains.


It’s smart to check the electrical system inside a potential investment property, but don’t forget to check the exterior electrical elements, too. If you see power lines running from a nearby pole to the house or attached to the home’s exterior, be sure to check them for damage. Also, make sure that electrical lines are high enough off the ground to be out of reach, and that the meter box appears to be in good condition and functional.


If the property has an air conditioning unit, you must have it checked as thoroughly as you can. Outside AC units are often prone to rust and dirt. If ever they’ve not cleaned or maintained in a while, it will show. If the property doesn’t have AC and you want to add it, you need to include the cost of not only the unit but professional installation as well.

Once you’ve checked these eight things, you’ll get a much deeper understanding of whether the property fits your standard for a good rental home.

Have you found the rental investment of your dreams, but are wondering how to manage it? Real Property Management Southland is one of the most trusted and comprehensive rental property management companies in the area. Whether you already have a property or are just starting to plan your investment, feel free to reach out at 562-270-1777 or contact us online.

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