Key property inspections when buying a house

Key property inspections when buying a house

Apr 7, 2022 | by DiJones

One of the key steps to buying a house is ensuring you have thoroughly inspected the property and used the services of trained professionals to help you inspect the areas you can't do yourself.

Here is a look at the key inspections potential homebuyers are advised to conduct and what to look for during these inspections.

Open home inspections

This is your first real contact with a potential home, and for many of us, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the experience. That gorgeous garden, fabulous stovetop, and impressive view are all wonderful, but it’s important to look closely at the real bones of a place, even at this early stage. Of course, a professional building inspector will carry out a thorough assessment of your prospective home, but you are not likely to get one on board until you’ve decided to make a move on a particular property. At this early stage, it’s up to you. A great idea is to have a checklist of things to look for when inspecting a house.   

Check outside and in 

As you wander around the property, run your eyes over the whole outside of the place. Check for any cracks, sagging, signs of damp, corrosion, or other defects on the roof, gutters, and exterior walls. Are there any big trees near the house? Check that their roots haven’t lifted any paving or buckled walls and fences.  

Once inside, keep your eyes peeled for tell-tale signs of damp, recently cleaned mould might still leave a faint, cloudy mark on ceilings, walls, or grouting. Or perhaps you will notice a whiff of mildew in a bathroom, laundry, or kitchen cupboard, don’t be afraid to open them to check! 

Have a look, too, at the state of the under-sink plumbing. How old does it look? Is it rusted or corroded? Do the taps run well? How is the water pressure? 

Scan the walls and ceiling for any big cracks or distinct sagginess, both of which could indicate structural problems. Also, try opening windows and doors to make sure that they work smoothly and are hung correctly.  

This first inspection will help you to decide if the house is really a potential home for you. If you think it might be, it’s a great idea to get some professional advice. Which takes us to… 

Professional inspections

Building and site inspection 

A professional building inspector is trained to identify faults that might not have even registered as you carried out your initial inspection of the property.  

They know exactly what to look for when buying a house and where to look for it.  

Qualified professionals will be able to spot structural issues that may have been covered up (or caused) by renovations and will access areas that you couldn’t at the open house inspection, such as under-floor spaces if it’s possible to. They will also be able to look over the wider site, checking the condition of any retaining walls, driveways, or outbuildings and pinpointing any issues with surface water drainage, wiring, or plumbing that you might have missed. 

Pest inspection 

Some building inspectors might also offer to conduct a pest inspection for you. If not, it’s highly advisable to have a professional come and check the property for any pests or damage that they might have caused. 

These professionals will look for termites, borers, and other vermin and help you to determine any immediate or potential repairs that might be necessary.  

It’s highly advisable that as a buyer, you get objective pest and building inspections done before you exchange contracts. If there are any serious problems with the property, you have the opportunity to rethink, and if everything is hunky-dory, you can move forward with confidence.   

Strata inspection

 Townhouses or villas might be part of a strata scheme, and if you are planning to buy into one of these, it’s a good idea to request a strata report, too. 

Strata reports generally provide information about the history of the building(s), financial and operational information about the body corporate, and any past problems with the property, including pest infestations, structural repairs, or maintenance issues. 

Inspections done?

Knowing all the things to consider when looking for a house and drawing on the expertise of professionals will help you with your search for the perfect home.  

Armed with all the information from your open-house and professional inspections and reports, you will be far better placed to make a confident decision about the house you hope to buy. 


Other buying real estate articles and resources

Guide to buying a house or an apartment in NSW 

Buying a house or apartment in NSW eBook

Buying a house or apartment in NSW FAQ's 

8 key steps to buying a house or apartment 

Using superannuation to buy a house or unit, can it be done?


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