Think Like A Building & Pest Inspector:
What You Can Check Yourself On The Initial Viewing
Stay ahead of the competition when you go to property viewings. Buying a property can be a very emotional experience. The impulse is to walk around with rose-tinted glasses on. You start to imagine your own furniture placed around the rooms, what you’d do with the backyard and where you can maximise the space or add value.
And this is all good stuff, if you’re buying it to live in yourself you want to know you’re going to feel at home there. If you’re buying it as an investment, you want to feel confident it’s got potential. Plus, let’s be honest… this is the fun part!
Buying property, as we all know, is one of the most stressful things we do in life, but it can also be the most exciting. Imagining a new life in a new home for you and your family, or the thrill of owning your first property can get you swept in the moment. But you need to think with your head as well as your heart.
At the next viewing you go to, look around at the other potential buyers. The majority of them will be redecorating in their head and will likely overlook some key features. We’re going to give you some signs to look out for that can help you stay objective and realistic about the actual state of the property and what work will need to be done. If you still love it after seeing any flaws it might have – great! This can even help you when negotiating the price, so it’s a win-win.
Plumbing Inspection Around The Property
Check the external pipes for leaks and rust. This can be an indicator that works need to be done on older houses. Leaks will not only jack-up your water bill, but can cause problems inside and outside your house including drainage and damp problems which can be costly to set right. Use your eyes and your nose to check for stains, water marks and paint damage. You can smell damp and mould in a house, and discrepancies in the paint or wallpaper can alert you to ‘cover-up’ jobs done by the seller.
Turn on the taps and check the water pressure. Look at the colour of the water and any stains around sinks or faucets. Signs of rust or bad drainage can mean work needs to be done to get the plumbing up to scratch.
Electrics & Systems Inspection
Take note of how many power outlets there are and where they’re placed – will the current setup work for you? Or are you going to need an electrician to do some rewiring?
How old does everything look? A quick glance at the light switches and plug sockets and you’ll be able to gauge how long ago they were installed. If they look outdated, there’s a good chance the wiring is the same age so you might want to ask the seller about this, or get an expert opinion – rewiring the house electrics is not as simple as redecorating, but it’s incredibly important to know the property is safe and up to code.
How old is the aircon or heating system? And the hot water system? Test it – ask to switch them on, are there any signs of damage? Again, when it comes to these systems that are often built in, it’s not a simple or cheap job to repair or replace them, so be sure to know what state these items are in before you commit. If you’re happy to get them replaced or repaired, great, but you want to know that up front before you move all your furniture in and redecorate.
On that note, Is the property move-in ready?
Are you looking for a place you can move yourself or tenants into straight away? Really look at the bones of the house, will the current layout work for you? Or are you going to need to do some renovations and structural changes? This can add a lot of time to your move-in date, so think about the costs associated with that. Not just the reno costs, but will you have to rent another place while the work is being completed?
Exterior Inspection Of The Property
It’s definitely harder to self-check things such as roofs and guttering, but we would always advise people to keep an eye out as they walk around the property. Ask about asbestos, when the roof was last updated and look for overflowing gutters and signs of rust on pipes.
If there’s a pool, check it has a pool safety certificate. Can you see any signs of damage or leaks? Ask them to switch on the filtration system and have a good look inside the pool for cracks in the tiles.
Having your own pool in the backyard is the Aussie dream – paying to repair a damaged one is an Aussie nightmare.
So make sure it’s good-to-go before you even put an offer in!
Pest Inspection On The Property
Check for signs of infestation. This can be difficult to spot unless you know what to look for and where to look. It can often be hidden under the house, or alongside walls that aren’t visible behind furniture. But there are a few things you can look for; hollow sounding beams, sagging floors and general signs of pests or termites such as deteriorating wood or animal droppings.
While this is a great way to narrow down your property search, it’s still important to get a professional to perform a building and pest inspection before you commit to buying a home. Experienced inspectors know what to look for and can see the hidden signs of damage or wear you may not notice.