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

Forest Hills Rental Property Exterior and PatioBuying a Forest Hills 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.


It is not hard to track down problems while inspecting a roof, 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 move around. Note any spots where shingles are missing or seem worn, curled, or otherwise damaged. These are all huge red flags that the roof is not entirely stable.


As you drive up to the property, be sure to note your first impressions. How is the curb appeal? Is the yard and landscaping gorgeous and neatly kept? Some overgrown weeds or low-hanging tree limbs are a pretty easy fix. 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 maintain the property 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. You have to test the planks and supports for signs of termites or wood rot and examine the condition of the finish. For patios, look for signs that the concrete is starting to crumble or break. Those are a clear sign that they need to be replaced as soon as possible.

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 dealing with, 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 plan to purchase has wood anywhere on the home’s exterior, it’s important to check each area carefully. Aside from wooden roof shingles and decks, some homes have wood clapboard siding, wooden trim around doors and windows, wood steps and railings, and even more. Anytime wood is used on an exterior surface, there is the potential for wood rot – and not just in humid climates.

Drainage and Gutters

One of the important aspects of a decent investment property is how well it handles wet weather. Please look carefully at 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. The last thing you need is a rental property that floods every time it rains.


It is imperative to check the electrical system inside a potential investment property, but don’t forget to check the exterior electrical elements, too. If you find power lines running from a nearby pole to the house or attached to the home’s exterior, be sure to check them for damage. Additionally, see to it 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, it is essential to have it checked as thoroughly as you can. Outside AC units are often prone to rust and dirt. If they’ve not been 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 too.

After you have checked these eight things, you will have a much better 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 Innovation 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 516-570-9275 or contact us online.

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