What to look for during inspections

Review Contract of Sale

The vendor ie. the seller of the property is required by law to make a declaration with all necessary information that all consumers should be aware of when considering purchasing the vendors property. This should be available from the vendors real estate agent when requested. You should use your legal advisors to make sure everything is in order.

It should contain

  • A copy of the title, showing the boundary measurements of the block, nearest street and easements/convenants registered on the title.
  • Planning information, what can be built on this particular block
  • Building restrictions.Building permits for any building or renovation done in the past 7years.Any existing mortgage on the property, you can take over the mortgage if you want to.
  • Outgoings, e.g. Council rates, water rates etc.
  • Any other agreements with neighbours over fencing etc.
  • If this information is not provided a purchaser can stop the buying process or sue the vendor for misinformation.

Inside the house

  • Look for indications of water damage usually near bathrooms, laundries and kitchens
  • Check that all the floors are level and there are no gaps between the floor and skirting boards. Jump lightly on wood floorboards to assess their stability
  • Look for signs of rising damp, including rotting carpet, mould on the walls or ceiling and musty odours. Check the walls and ceiling for warping and cracks. Fresh paint or wallpaper may be hiding problem areas.
  • Assess whether doors and windows are square
  • Make sure light switches and power points are in working order. You can do this with a powerpoint tester available from hardware store.
  • Test the water pressure in both hot and cold taps. Ideally, turn on several taps simultaneously. Partially fill the bath or sink and observe the drainage of this water. Sluggish flow could indicate damaged or blocked sewer drains.

Outside the house

  • Inspect fences and gates for strength, stability and check if base is rotten. Check roots of large trees near the house, they can cause structural damage if they are close.
  • Check that the land’s water runoff drains away.
  • Inspect all outside walls. Are they straight, rotten or cracked? The state of the mortar between the bricks must also be checked. Make sure there is adequate sub-floor ventilation.
  • Check the condition of the eaves and gutters.
  • Look at the line of the roof to make sure it is straight. Are there any broken tiles?
  • Check the stumps for rot or termite attack.

This list of hints is by no means exhaustive, you should always arrange a professional pest and building inspection before you purchase.

Professional Inspection

If you feel you do not have the practical and technical knowledge required to perform an inspection yourself, get it done professionally. An inspection costs little in comparison to what you could actually save.

Professional inspectors will examine every accessible part of the home, including the roof space and sub-floor. They will check for poor structure, leaking roofing and guttering, subsiding footings, faulty wiring and plumbing, dampness, rot and many other faults. Comprehensive inspections will take 2 to 4 hours.

Following the inspection you will be given a report that will inform you of any property defects and faults. It will gauge the severity of these faults and a guide to the costs of repairing them. Inspectors can advise you on any home improvement ideas you may have also.

With this information you can decide to buy and will be able to negotiate more effectively.

Hint:- Be present at the inspection so that you can visualise the faults personally and discuss any concerns you have with the inspector. Remember you have paid for the report the inspector should not give this information to anyone else or tell the agent of their findings. This report may become a negotiating tool for you and the agent is working for the vendor not you.