Complex Made Simple

Beware: 8 hidden issues in the home you’re about to buy

Buying a home is one of the biggest expenses you will face as a resident in the UAE, so it’s important to go the extra mile to ensure that you’re making the right decision

Keep an eye open for old and rusty pipes around the house Be sure to thoroughly check the floors, roof, walls, cabinets, doors and window for any sort of damage Leaky faucets and clogged pipes should never be ignored as they can cause mold, mildew, flooding and structural damage


Not only do you need to make sure all the paperwork is in order but also thoroughly inspect the house for maintenance issues. To help you avoid hassles and additional expenses after you move in, ServiceMarket, the UAE’s leading online marketplace for handyman services, has put together this comprehensive checklist.    

Signs of water damage 

If you see dampness in a corner or notice that the paint is blistering or peeling off a particular wall, then there might be a hidden plumbing issue. If there is leakage, then besides causing structural damage to your walls, floor and ceiling over time, it can also cause flooding in your home. People with flooded homes often have to replace their carpets and furniture, so it should never be taken lightly. Leakage from the AC and water heater pipes should also be checked. Keep an eye open for old and rusty pipes around the house. It would be easier for you to inspect for water damage if the house is empty, but if it isn’t, consider looking behind the furniture to spot issues.   

Read: Home Insurance – Low uptake exposing UAE Residents to risks

Structural and security issues 

Be sure to thoroughly check the floors, roof, walls, cabinets, doors and window for any sort of damage. See if any of the tiles are missing, popping out, or cracked. The walls should have a fresh coat of paint and shouldn’t have stains or holes. Make sure the windows can be opened and closed properly. You might think that a few rotten windows are not a big deal, but you’d be surprised by how much it can cost you to replace them. You should also check all doors, especially the main one, to ensure that they’re strong enough and have secure locks. Be sure to ask the seller if the house comes with any additional features such as a security alarm system or CCTV cameras. 

Electrical issues

Besides causing inconvenience, electrical issues are also a serious fire hazard. Check for non-working electrical outlets. If you see sparking anywhere or notice the smell of burning plastic, then take it as a big red flag. Electrical work is so sensitive that it’s recommended that you should never do it yourself. If you suspect that the previous owners might have done so, then ensure that it has been done properly as damage caused by negligent or amateur electrical work may not be covered by your home insurance provider. While you are at it, check the smoke detectors too. 

Read: Data-driven building management ushering in the next generation of sustainable real estate in Dubai

Bathroom and kitchen fixtures and pipes

Leaky faucets and clogged pipes should never be ignored as they can cause mold, mildew, flooding and structural damage. What’s more, it can cost a lot to replace worn out bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Another issue to watch out for is reduced flow of water as it can be an indication of blockage in the pipes. If the house comes with bathtubs, ensure that they function properly. You should even flush the toilets and run water in the bathrooms to check for clogged pipes and drains. 

Air conditioning and heating systems 

It’s important to thoroughly check the air conditioning and heating systems, because in addition to facing inconvenience after moving in, you may have to pay a lot of money to get them fixed. You should also inspect the water heater and AC pipes as leakage from them can flood and damage your home as well as belongings. Make sure the AC is cooling properly and isn’t making any noises or emitting smells. Another thing you should check is the accuracy of the termostat.     

Read: Dubai property prices fall to 7-year low as transaction volumes touch record high

Pest control 

To avoid having to deal with an infestation right after moving in, you should watch out for signs of common pests like cockroaches, rats, mice, bed bugs, ants and termites. Keep an eye open for damage to wooden structures, eggs and droppings. Pests can do a lot more than causing diseases and inconvenience. For example, rodents can cause fires and termites can seriously damage the structure of your house as well as furniture. Sometimes pest infestations can go undetected, so even if you don’t notice anything, you should still book a pest control service before you move in.     

Mold and mildew

Due to the UAE’s humid weather, mold and mildew can be found in many homes. But there are also other reasons such as leakage and dampness that can cause mold and mildew. Whatever the reason, it’s something that you should be wary of as it can be very difficult to get rid of it and it can cause health problems like allergies and asthma. Remember to check the basement, bathrooms, kitchen, and storage areas. 

Check and scrutinize the documents 

It goes without saying that it’s very important to make sure each and every document that’s part of the process is properly checked and verified. For example, you can use Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) e-services portal for ownership certificate validation. Only sign documents after you’ve carefully read and understood them.

While it’s necessary to inspect the house for maintenance issues before moving in, you should also take steps to make sure that it remains in good condition. The easiest way to do so is by signing up for an annual maintenance contract in Dubai, which allows you to get your home inspected periodically by a professional maintenance company and also make a number of emergency calls. You can easily find the most affordable and suitable annual maintenance package through ServiceMarket.