Property inspections: key points to check

March 12, 2024

Property inspections or open homes can be lots of fun but home buyers who already have their ducks in a row, including pre-approval, need to be smart at these events.

While a building and pest inspector should pick up a home's worst issues and some problems may only require a cosmetic fix, others won't.

So when attending an open home, serious home buyers should bring a list of key points to check along with a list of sales agent questions.

Let's take a look at some of these crucial details.

Property orientation

The main living areas and gardens of Australian homes should always face north with the next best orientation being east.

This orientation will give these spaces plenty of sunshine in winter and loads of shade in summer.

This will help with energy efficiency including heating and air conditioning costs.

Storage space

Although cupboards and wardrobes can be added to a home later, it's best if kitchens and bathrooms already have ample storage space.

Also prioritise bedrooms with built-in or walk-in wardrobes.

Larger families: don't forget to check laundry space as well.

Natural light

Homeowners in naturally sunshineless locations such as Melbourne should aim to have abundant large windows in their new property.

Either way, test every room for sunshine by turning off its lights.

Talking electric lights, large windows will reduce the need for turning them on and thus decrease electricity bills.

Finally, check all windows' ease of use as well as any cracks and gaps in the seals.

Quality of walls, ceilings, floors

Look around every room in the house very carefully cracks and gaps in plaster or tiling - and don't forget areas behind couches and other furniture.

Don't forget to check floor carpeting for any damage.

Cupboards and drawers

Look inside all cupboards and drawers, especially in wet areas such as underneath or near sinks, and check for cracks, gaps, mould and ease of use.

Wet areas

Bathrooms, kitchens and laundries are some of the most expensive areas in a house to renovate so ensure you thoroughly check these spaces for mould or any other damage including tile cracks and gaps.

Also, check the vanity and sink seals for damage.

Water pressure and toilets

While you're in the home's wet areas, turn on the taps to check the water pressure and temperature.

Low water pressure may be easy to fix - or not.

Don't forget to check the toilets' flush systems too. 

Property Inspections: Key Points to Check
Inspecting every detail at a property inspection, from property orientation to water pressure, can make a significant difference in your home buying journey.

Smells and safety

Check the locks on all doors and windows and in wet areas, keep your nose well-peeled for smells which could indicate mould or similar.

Roofs, gutters and drain pipes

These details can be easy to forget but they're another crucial part of every home.

If they look old or damaged, ask the sales agent about such issues and make a note of the issue to check with the building and pest inspector.

Exterior walls

Another detail that's easy to forget, exterior walls and footpaths should also be checked for cracks and gaps.

These problems can be a sign of structural damage and/or a low-quality build which can cost thousands or more to correct. 

Electricity and hot water system

Check that every power point and light works and check the size, age, type and quality of the hot water system.

The latter generally needs a full replacement every eight to 10 years.

Don't forget to check what gas system is used in the property ie natural gas or gas cylinders.

Outdoor areas and gardens

Patios, balconies, decks and similar should also be checked for cracks and gaps and while you're at it, check garden footpaths too.

Unless you're a savvy green thumb or have the time and energy to get your hands dirty, stick to basic lawned spaces rather than gardens needing plenty of help. 

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