I came across an interesting article posted in Bali Tribun and Kompas recently giving 7-tips (there’s that magic number again!) to be aware of when you’re buying a house or villa in Bali – or anywhere else for that matter.
I’ve taken the liberty of adding my own thoughts and insight into the original articles.
So, here are 7-things you should look at before you make the commitment to buy a new house or villa in Bali. It’s worth noting that these should not necessarily be deal breakers, but could be used to help you negotiate a better deal.
Even though your agent or the seller of the house should let you know about the condition of the property, the truth is, they might not know or they could be hoping you don’t notice!
Checking the roof, doesn’t always you mean you have to climb ladders and check, although that’s not such a bad idea and you can hire contractors to do this for you.
But you can also get check yourself from the inside.
Look for ceiling damage, damp spots, missing ceiling panels, rust, moss and mold and anything that seems out of place.
If you notice anything at all ask! Roof repairs can be quite expensive, especially after you’ve bought and/or moved in and your personal belongings end up getting damaged.
Air conditioning is essential in a house or villa in Bali. Dealing with tropical weather without ACs is not a pleasant experience, so check if the AC units work.
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people assume ACs work without even switching them on!
Ask how old the units are and when they were last serviced. If they’re blowing anything but cold air they need to be serviced. Check the blowers on the outside of the building if you can to make sure they’re working when the ACs are switched on.
It’s also worth listening to the sound the units make when they’re on. Overly noisy ACs can be very annoying and can also be indicators of problems to come.
It might be worth considering bringing an AC technician with you to check things like blowers and if anything has been damaged or needs replacing.
If the house or villa also has ceiling fans, turn them on to make sure they actually work and don’t make a noise. It’s also worth noting if they are covered in dust, dirt or rust.
Water issues in a house can be extremely expensive to fix, so it’s worth taking your time to check things thoroughly.
One of the first places to look for issues is the ceiling.
Indicators that there is a problem are stains and damp spots (which could also be from a leaky roof) as well as any watermarks on the floor.
Rising damp is another common water complaint. Peeling or bubbling paint and a lingering damp smell are dead giveaways that something needs to be fixed.
It’s also worth checking the bottom of sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms for loose joints and connections.
Turn on all the taps to check for water pressure and if the water is clean or cloudy. Dirty water points to issues with wells drying up. It’s also a good opportunity to check if water drains away quickly. Blocked drains can quickly lead to overflowing pipes and can cause a lot of damage if left unattended.
It’s no secret that parts of Bali are prone to flooding. Ask your agent or the seller of the house if the area floods if it rains heavily. Poor or blocked drainage on roads doesn’t take long to work its way into your garden and eventually your house.
Neighbours are also a good source of unbiased information on this.
These are not so easy to check and taking an engineer, builder or contractor with you to inspect these could save you money in the long run.
If you notice cracks in walls or pillars these could indicate weak or shifting foundations.
Household appliances and electrics
It’s not uncommon for property in Bali to be sold fully furnished. This is great if you like the seller’s taste in furniture and appliances but not so hot if you don’t.
Check and test all equipment is in working order and in good condition. Turn on things like washing machines and look inside the refrigerator.
Check electric fuses and make sure there is enough electricity being supplied to the house to operate ACs, Microwaves, TVs washing machines if they are all switched on at the same time.
Check all windows in the house can be opened and closed properly. It sounds simple, but the last thing you want to do when you move into a new house is discover you can’t close a window properly.
Termites and pests
Bali is a tropical island where a plethora of insects, bugs and pests find home. Nothing wrong with that but you don’t necessarily want them to get comfortable in your new home!
Look for small piles of dust or soil, especially between ceramic tiles, in the corners of rooms and close to any wooden window frames or furniture. You’d be surprised just how quickly termites (and ants) can destroy wood!
Older properties sometimes also suffer from rats or rice paddy mice. Tell-tale signs these have made themselves comfortable are droppings, and small holes in walls and cupboards (especially around the kitchen area.)
Again, ask your agent or the seller of the house if there is a problem with pests and suggest pest control if necessary.
And finally …
Think of what you would do if you were buying a second hand car or motorbike and the sorts of things you’d look for to make sure you weren’t investing in something that’s going to cost you a lot of money to fix up.
The bottom line is you need to protect your investment, so make lists and ask questions. If there are issue that you’re not happy with you can use these to negotiate a better price with your agent and the seller of the house.
But remember, be nice if you notice things are broken or damaged. You can be polite when you point out a hole in the roof! If you’re rude and aggressive it’s very likely to have the opposite effect when it comes to negotiate.
If you need qualified and experienced third parties to help check your villa have a look at Bali Property Maintenance and Mr. Fix It!