When you’ve found the property you want to buy, it is strongly recommended you invest in a professional building and pest report, if there is not one already available; and it is often a condition in the contract.
It is the buyer’s obligation to organise the building and pest inspection with a licensed inspector and bear all the associated costs. However, there are some elements you can assess/inspect on your own prior to engaging the professionals.
Inside the Property:
- Check water pressure and plumbing: turn on all the faucets to check, colour of water, pressure, and drainage.
- Check for water damage – examine the walls to see if there is any evidence of water damage on all walls in the house.
- Moulds and mildew – look for evidence of this, it is usually found in damp areas with poor ventilation or water damage.
- Check the walls, ceilings, & floor – for any potential structural movement or subsidence. Check for cracks, bumps and unevenness, including under carpets and rugs.
- Check condition of windows – including glass and screens.
- Check for potential electrical damage – old wiring, switches and sockets must be replaced.
- Enquire about heating and cooling systems of the property – age and recent maintenance.
- Look for signs of pest infestation – are there any holes in corners of the walls where mice may pass through. Knock on wood beams and walls to check if they are hollow inside, if they sound hollow there may be termites in the structure (professionals can confirm).
Outside the Property:
- Check the fuse box and electrical wiring outside the property – make sure fuse box meets safety standards, and look for loose or broken external power points, or poorly wired electrical fittings.
- Inspect the water pressure and plumbing – also check for leaks or rust.
- Check gutters for leaks, warps, holes, clogging, rust or signs of gutter overflow.
- Check for presence of asbestos
- Examine trees – age and proximity to house, will there be any issues in the event of a storm.
- Check external structures – sheds, garages, pergolas, pools, spas, fencing etc.
After your DIY inspection, have a complete assessment of your discoveries. Document all of them and have a rough estimate of how much it would cost you for repairs. You can now bring in your hired professional building inspectors. Report all findings to them for briefing.
This saves everyone a lot of time, and you get to communicate your issues to them.
After which, you can compare the benefits to the costs and decide whether the property is worth it.