The Importance of Inspections
For most people buying a first home is a significant investment and to help safe guard you from buying a property with issues that might cost you thousands, it is critical you spend ample time inspecting the property yourself and asking the agent the right questions.
It is also recommended you get a professional building and pest inspection as the experts who carry these out are trained to identify any serious problems which can help you decide if you are making a wise purchase or not.
Attend Open for Inspections
The first step is to attend open inspections where you can check out the neighbourhood and the house itself. This will allow you to judge whether the property will be a good fit for you.
When looking at the property consider the following about the neighbourhood to help determine if it is a place where you would want to live long-term:
- What is the property's walk score - how close is it to amenities, schools, shops, services etc
- Is it is a safe neighbourhood?
- Is it a busy area? Check if the traffic noise spills into the house.
- Is it a tight-knit community?
- Are the neighbours next door renting?
- Where’s the nearest hospital or medical centre?
- Is there adequate public transport?
- Is there any parking?
- Are there parks and other public spaces nearby?
- In which school zone does this property sit? Where’s the nearest school?
- If you come across any neighbours, there’s no harm in asking what they think of the area too!
Inspecting the Property
Inspecting a home doesn’t just mean walking through it once to determine if it’s right for you. You’ll also need to check the condition of the interior and exterior and the features to see whether the price is a fair deal! Here is a handy inspection planner to help you manage and plan your inspections.
Take a camera with you so that you can review the property again later, but remember to ask the agent for permission before taking any photographs.
To help you do a thorough inspection make sure you download our free Open Apartment Inspection Checklist or our Open House Inspection Checklist here.
Questions to ask the agent
Don’t be afraid to ask the real estate agent whatever pops into your mind - they are there to help you make a decision. Here are a few you can start with:
- Is the property dry and warm?
- Is it insulated?
- What are council rates like?
- Does the property have any special restrictions?
- Are there potential zoning changes in the future?
If the property that you’re looking at is a unit or apartment, there are other pertinent questions you should ask:
- Does the body corporate allow pets?
- What are the strata fees?
- Does the body corporate allow barbecues and other outdoor events at the property?
- Is there car parking provided in the building?
- If you’re serious about making an offer on the home, it’s highly advisable you conduct a professional property inspection.
Professional Pest and Building InspectionsIf you are serious about making an offer on the property, it’s highly advisable you conduct a professional building and pest inspection as this could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
These inspections will reveal significant building problems or hazards and help identify if you have any pest issues in the property so you can make an informed decision if the property is really what you are looking for after all.
The people who inspect the property, typically a licensed builder and a licensed pest inspector, will check the condition of the interior, roof and roof space as well as the under-floor space of the home you intend to purchase.
They will look for any sign of rodents & pests, both current and in the past and provide a detailed report, usually in a checklist format once they have completed their inspection.
The price of a pre-purchase inspection depends on the property and the time taken to make the evaluation but as a rule of thumb the cost for a standard report on a typical residential property is usually around the $500 mark.
Just remember, you’ll need the vendor’s permission to have the property inspected, so be sure to give plenty of notice.
Inspection report exemptionsIn some cases the following list of items are not covered in a formal inspection report so it is worth checking with your supplier if you want them to look at these features also:
- Concealed damp-proofing
- Electrical wiring
- Watering systems
- Gas fittings
- Fireplaces or chimneys
- Television reception
- Wireless or internet connection