I remember how exciting it was to purchase my first home. It was hard to stay objective when inspecting a property, because the emotional aspect of the inspection would take over, especially if it was a property that I really liked. A friend recommended that I take a checklist with me when I started inspecting properties, and this was definitely a saviour in helping me remain objective during this exciting buying process.
If you are looking to buy a house, I would suggest that prior to any inspections, you write your own property checklist. Your list should cover both the key areas in a house that you need to inspect thoroughly, and also any additional features that you are looking for in a house.
From my experience, I believe the following things are key areas that you should add to your checklist when inspecting a property:
1. Look for any cracks or warping in the walls or ceiling on either the inside and outside of the property. Cracks can indicate problem areas, and may be costly to fix dependant on their cause
2. Check the bathroom and kitchens thoroughly. What condition are they in? Do they need much work?
3. Check the water pressure – turn on a tap, or multiple taps at a time, to see how it impacts the water pressure
4. Assess the floor – dependant on whether there is carpet or floorboards, you must assess the condition they are in. If there are floorboards – test how stable they are. If you can look at the floor boards from a lower level, you might be able to see if there has been previous water or termite damage. If there is carpet, check the condition of all carpeted areas
5. Room size – the size of your living room or bedroom is vital, in making sure that your furniture will fit. The last thing you want to realise on moving day is that nothing fits in the house! Don’t be shy to take a tape measure to any inspections (I always keep one on standby in my handbag!)
6. Privacy – if you are looking at buying a house, check how secure and private your house is. Can you hear your neighbours? Are they able to see into house? If you are buying an apartment, check how many units are in the complex, and again be conscious of the noise levels
7. Look for signs of mouldy walls, rotting carpet or musty odours throughout the property that could mean long term damage and may be very expensive to repair
8. Ceiling heights – take a tape measure and check that the height from floor to ceiling meets the minimum requirements of the local authority. For example, in QLD an agent can’t legally count a room as a bedroom unless the ceiling height meets the minimum council requirements and it has windows
If you take your checklist along, and the property passes most areas, I would recommend doing a building and pest inspection, this will indicate if there are any major problems with the property. Also, as it’s a big investment, you should think about doing some searches with the local council to make sure nothing negative stands out with the property.
So if you are at that stage of your life – and are looking at buying a property – I suggest you starting writing that checklist today.