It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a cosy apartment in the city or a sprawling family home in the countryside, it’s important to do a thorough property inspection before you buy. But, how do you know what to look out for when doing a property inspection?
Before buying a new property there are many things to take into consideration and steps to take, such as arranging your finances, researching the area that you are considering buying in, and hiring a reliable real estate conveyancer. Whether you’re looking at a brand-new building or a heritage property, there are some key things to look out for when you do a real estate inspection. If you’re not sure about any aspects of the property, always seek expert advice, from the real estate agent, or a building professional if your question relates to the structural integrity of the existing building, or future building possibilities, or a property conveyancer if your question relates to the legal side of real estate ownership. A reliable conveyancer can make a huge difference in navigating the purchase of a property. If you’re looking for a property conveyancer for your exciting property purchase,
Remember, it’s always worth doing your homework before you buy rather than discovering inconvenient, and sometimes costly, surprises down the track. If you’re serious about buying a property, it’s worth making a detailed checklist to use at a property inspection to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed or distracted by clever home staging and miss something. Here are 10 key things to look out for at a property inspection.
1. Have a chat with the real estate agent
If you’re interested in buying a property, it’s worth having a chat with the real estate agent to see if you can garner any information from them that might give you an edge. Always ask why the current owners are selling, and how long the property has been on the market for, to see if you can get an idea of how keen they might be to sell, or what kind of offers they might consider. If you’re not particularly familiar with the area, it’s a good idea to ask the agent about nearby amenities such as where the nearest shops, schools and public transport stations are. It’s also worth asking the agent about whether there are any similar properties in the area that have recently sold, to give you an idea of what kind of price you’re looking at, and whether there are any similar properties in the area currently on the market that you should consider buying as an alternative.
2. Consider the aspect of the property and how much natural light is available
Most agents will turn every light on in a home prior to showing a house to potential buyers and will often try to choose an inspection time that will maximise the natural light in the property. This is important for several reasons, firstly because natural light can create a more pleasant, ambient feel to the home, but also because a home that has access to good natural light will be less expensive to heat or air condition. Don’t be tricked into thinking the home you are buying is always light and bright, consider whether the lights are on when you’re looking at the property as well as which time of year and day it is to gauge how much sunlight the house might get at other times. To this end, it is also important to consider how the property is positioned on the block and which way its windows face. In Australia, ideally, a north-facing backyard and windows are best, but a south-facing backyard can still work with a clever, thoughtful design.
3. Are there any easements on the property title?
When it comes to real estate, an easement basically allows someone who doesn’t own the land, a limited right to access or use the land. This can restrict where and what you can build in that area of land. Typically, reasons for easements include access for services such as electricity metres, water pipes, sewerage drains, or shared driveways. If you have easements on the land that you are considering buying this is not a reason not to buy, it’s just something to be aware of as it may restrict how you use or build on the land. If you’re not sure about easements, ask the real estate agent or your property conveyancer.
4. Check for any signs of water damage or mould
Have a look at the walls, particularly in the bathroom and bedrooms for any signs of moisture or water damage. Don’t forget to open cupboards or cabinets to check for signs of mould or water damage and use your nose to identify any damp smells. If you notice mould on ceilings or walls it can be cause for concern. Mould can be very bad for your health as well as being an indicator of poor ventilation.
5. Check the walls for large cracks
Many older homes have cracks in their ceilings or walls that are not the cause for concern, but it is always worth taking care to check any cracks that you notice at a property. Both internal and external walls should be checked. If a property has a lot of large cracks (greater than 2mm in width) should be inspected by a building inspector or someone with the appropriate qualifications to ensure it’s not an indication of something more serious. Significant cracks in walls or ceilings can be an indicator that the foundations of the property may have moved considerably, but an experienced building inspector will be able to identify anything that is cause for concern.
6. Check the condition of any fixtures, electricals and appliances that are part of the Contract of Sale
If you are getting serious about buying a particular property, it is important to check the electricals, such as lights, fans, switchboard doorbell, heating and air-conditioning units and any fixed appliances such as dishwashers, ovens or stoves.
It’s also important to check all the taps are working and that the water pressure is good. Make sure you turn on every tap, including garden taps and flush any toilets. Check that they are all in good working order and that there are no significant leaks.
7. Check doors and windows
Check all doors and windows open and close properly and, if they’re fitted with locks, check the locks are also in good working order. Don’t forget to also check the lockable doors or windows in the garage or shed if there is one on the property.