This is the first installment of a mini-series of blogs inspect a villa – practical tips to help you assess whether the villa you intend to buy or rent is in reasonable shape or whether you are likely going to end up buying a lemon. Learn all about roofs, walls, structures, electrical panels, pumps, and termite infestations!
Let’s start with the least obvious. Here is a great indicator of the overall condition of a building: the condition of the electrical panel as well as the pump room of the swimming pool & water supply of the villa.
Of course, we don’t suggest that you start with inspecting the pump room when you enter the villa for the first time – the owner would neither appreciate nor understand it. Rather do keep this treat for the end of your round, when you have thoroughly looked at all the other parts of the house, and then try to guess what condition the panel, and the pump room will likely be in before you inspect them.
What’s the first impression you get from that electrical panel? Does the wiring look a bit like a plate of colorful spaghetti tossed on a plate by a cook in a hurry? Are you afraid to even touch it for fear of getting electrocuted? Are all the breakers on or are half of them down? Are they properly labeled? Does the panel have an ELCB (earth-leakage circuit breaker) to prevent electrical shocks to humans and animals? Are there voltage stabilizers for the entire villa? How old are they? Is electricity provided through 3 phases or only one? And what’s the monthly bill for it? Get a copy of the invoice so you will also be able to see how many watts that meter is delivering.
Let’s go to that pump room. Is it dry or do you have to board a canoe to move around? Is it tidy or has it become a storage room for all sorts of items that have nothing to do in a pump room? Are the pumps new or old and rusty? Are the bearings making that terrible hissing and grinding sound or can’t you almost hear the difference when the pump is on or off?
Here is what we found after having inspected hundreds of villas in Bali: a tidy, orderly, and properly labeled electrical panel and pump room mean that the villa is most likely in an orderly condition and has been maintained properly over the years.
In our next installment, we are going to talk about what you need to be protected from the elements: a sound and waterproof roof!