8 things you need to do before buying a property

Whether it’s an investment or your first home, buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make. So when you inspect a property, don’t let the decor be the only thing that sways your decision.

If you are serious about buying a property, it pays to be thorough during an inspection. A few simple maintenance checks can be the difference between walking into your dream house and buying a lemon. So we’ve put together this property inspection checklist, to make sure there are no nasty surprises once you move in.  

(1) Check wet area for leaks and dampness

Open all of the cabinets and cupboards in the wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, and see if you can detect any dampness, mould or mildew. If you can either see or smell anything, it can mean there is a leak or an issue with your waterproofing.

(2) Check for mould

Mould must be cleaned professionally and can therefore be an expensive and time consuming process, not to mention a health hazard. Therefore it’s important to identify any traces of mould growing in the property. Mould can look like dirty stains or clouds on the walls, ceilings and within cupboards if it has recently been cleaned – meaning it can be be hard to spot. If a property has traces of mould, it’s important to identify the initial cause and whether this can be mitigated in the future.

(3) Check the internal structure

Take a look at the ceilings to see if they sit flush with the wall, and that ceilings don’t bow or ‘parachute’ across the room. While you’re at it, check the internal walls for large and fine cracks. Any cracks that are larger than 2 mm should be checked by a qualified building inspector as they may indicate deeper issues with the property.

(4) Check the roof and gutters

Replacing or repairing a roof can be extremely costly, so making sure the property’s roof is in good shape is important. Make sure a qualified building inspector checks the roofs structure for any sign that all or part may need replacing. You can also check the external lines by sight for sagging, and to make sure they are free from deflections. Roof gutters can rust from the inside over time, so make time to check them from the top side as corroded gutters will need replacing sooner rather than later.

(5) Check the roof downpipes and flood issues

If the property is in a known flood zone your insurance may be affected, so it’s important to take this into account before you put in an offer. During the inspection, walk around the property to check that downpipes empty into a drainage system. A combination of flood prone land and poor on-site drainage can be a nightmare to fix, as existing structures and gardens may need to be excavated. For multi storey properties, check that perimeter walls have drainage holes above and below window and door frames, and along the suspended slab levels.

(6) Check the surrounding area at different times

In most cases agents will schedule open house inspections at quieter times, which doesn’t necessarily give you the usual feel of the surrounding area. Make sure you visit the area at different times more than once, so there are no surprises once you move in.

(7) Check the zoning

Knowing the current zoning for your property and the surrounding area is important if you want to add value through renovating. Also, if properties around you are zoned for high-rise units for example, you may not want to buy a family home in that particular area.

(8) Check out the neighbours

Finding out about the people you could potentially be living next door to seems like a no-brainer, but very few people actually make the effort. A good or bad neighbour can be a deal breaker as a potential buyer, so detecting any potential issues early can only be positive.

 

Using this checklist can help you identify any potential blind spots you might have when looking for a house. While the above list isn’t exhaustive, it does give you a good base of knowledge regarding a property to work from. Always remember to be thorough in checking the property, as once the contracts are signed and settled there is no turning back!