If you’re like most people, you probably think of a property inspection as a necessary evil. You know you need to have one in order to purchase a new home, but you don’t really want to deal with it.

In reality, though, a property inspection can be an incredibly valuable tool for figuring out whether or not a house is right for you. By inspecting the property thoroughly, you can avoid making a costly mistake in your property purchase.

Pro tip

There are three key phases of inspections – the preliminary stage, onsite viewings, and the professional inspection.  Searching and selecting property is a fast and nimble game, so if you use the inspection filters from the beginning of your search you will save yourself hours of wasted time looking at the wrong property, or missing details that you could have collected in the early phase of your search.

For example – when you’re looking at property online and preparing your shortlist, be sure to take a look at any aerials that might show the condition of the roof, or how straight the fence lines are.  Items noted during the prelim phase can be investigated further during the on-site viewing or you can direct your building inspector to a particular area of interest.

During all three key phases, make sure you check out the following main inspection filters.

Main inspection filters

The roof – One of the most important things to inspect during a property inspection is the condition of the roof. The roof is one of the most expensive parts of a home to repair, so it’s important to make sure that it is in good condition before you purchase a home. Be sure to check for any missing or damaged tiles, and look for any signs of leaks.

Foundations – Another important thing to inspect is the condition of the home’s foundation. This is especially important if you’re considering purchasing an older home. Be sure to look for cracks in the foundation, and have a professional inspector take a closer look if you see any signs of damage.

Water – ensure you check the property for any signs of water damage. Be sure to check the basement and crawl spaces for any signs of leaks, and look for any water stains on the walls or ceilings. Water damage can be a serious problem, so it’s important to catch it early.

Pests – The property inspection is also a great time to check for any signs of pests. Be sure to look for damage that could be caused by termites, mice, or other pests.  A professional inspection will be required to check activity, but if you notice damaged wood around the windows, doors or eaves be sure to investigate further.

Fences + pools – often missed in the mix of other items to check, ensure you have a look at the fencing – how straight is it, are there any retaining walls, and the general condition – new or old.  Check the condition of any pools including the decking and fencing around the pool, and always check the condition of the pump / cleaning system.

On-site checks

Each property is different however there 10 key items to check and observe during your onsite inspection.  We have developed a checklist which you can use to note issues for each property you view, then use it as a comparison tool when you’re looking at the pros and cons of each of your shortlisted properties.   

Use the results to help determine the price you will offer on the property and also to negotiate any discounts if you uncover expensive areas of repair. Access the checklist here.

About the author

Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline.  She has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing Australia-wide and has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics.  She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.

Follow us on facebook.com/ThePropertyFrontline for regular updates, or book in for a strategy session to discuss your property questions. 

Disclaimer – This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice.  We strongly recommend you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances. 

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