Having a Look
Searching for your ideal home will quickly lead you into inspecting prospective properties. When looking over these prospective homes, be sure to:
- Make notes on each property
- Review any Purchase Agreement
- Perform a comprehensive inspection
- Arrange a professional inspection
Because you are likely to be seeing many properties, it is a good idea to write down your impressions of each property you visit. This will help you to compare properties easily and assist you in your recollections of the various features of each property.
Print out copies of our Property Scorecard and take these with you when viewing properties. Make sure you record all the details, including the property address, date of visit, real estate agent's details and price range, as well as the property location details.
Quick TipsDraw a rough floor plan of the property, and if possible ask the real estate agent for a photograph of the property.
Ask the Real Estate Agent to provide you with a copy of the Purchase Agreement to review, and to show you the following documents to sight:
- A copy of the Land Title, showing the boundary measurements of the land, location from the nearest streets and any easements or covenants registered on the title.
- Planning information, defining what the land can be used/developed for (e.g. residential or commercial purposes)
- Details of any existing mortgage on the property, in case you agree to take over the mortgage.
- Outgoings, e.g. taxes, body corporate contributions, village common area costs.
- Building restrictions.
- Any other agreements which the vendor may have entered into with other parties in relation to the property (e.g. regarding fencing or building over easements).
It is in both the vendor's and the Real Estate Agent's best interests to provide correct and sufficient information to the buyer.
If you are really keen to buy a particular property, it is advisable to retain the services of a good legal representative to review the Purchase Agreement and all other documentation.
It is difficult to imagine buying a motor car without checking the engine and taking it for a test drive. However, many people do just this when buying a home, which costs significantly more.
It is imperative that you perform a comprehensive inspection of any property you intend to purchase, in order to ascertain the exact condition of the property. This should ensure that there are no major repair surprises that come to light once you have taken possession of the property.
Read through the list below for just some of the aspects that you should consider when inspecting a property.
INSIDE THE PROPERTY
- Check that all the floors are level and that there are no gaps between the floors and the walls.
- Jump lightly on wood floorboards to assess their stability.
- Check tiled floors for any loose tiles.
- Look for signs of rising damp, including rotting carpet, mould on the walls or ceiling and musty odours.
- Check the walls and ceilings for warping and cracks. Fresh paint or wallpaper may be hiding problem areas.
- Check whether doors and windows are square. Jamming may indicate structural subsidence.
- Make sure all light switches work. Also check each power point by using a power tester.
- Check the circuit breakers/fuse box.
- Test the water pressure in both hot and cold taps, and check the shower hot water systems.
- Partially fill the bath or sink and observe the drainage of the water. Sluggish flow may indicate damaged or blocked drains.
OUTSIDE THE PROPERTY
- Inspect any fences and gates for stability.
- If there are any large trees near the property, check for any possible root damage to the building.
- Check that any water runoff will drain away from the building.
- Check the condition of the brickwork, concrete work and plastering on the building.
- Check the condition of the eaves, water staining may be an indication of damaged rain water gutters.
- Check the line of the roof to make sure it is straight, check for any broken tiles.
- Check the woodwork/timber and any stumps for rot, borer or termite attack.
If you do not feel comfortable or competent enough to check any of the areas detailed above, then arrange for a professional inspection.
If you feel you do not have the practical and technical knowledge required to perform an inspection yourself, then hire a professional inspector. The cost of a professional inspection will be minimal relative to what you stand to save.
Professional inspections should cover every accessible part of the building, including roof space and sub-floor. It should check for poor structure, leaking roof and guttering, subsiding footings, faulty wiring and plumbing, dampness, rot and many other faults. A comprehensive inspection should take 2 to 4 hours.
Inspections are not designed to disclose cosmetic deficiencies (e.g. paint chipping in the kitchen). You will need to decide for yourself whether these types of items need attention.
You should receive a written Inspection Report following the inspection, which will inform you of any property faults, how bad they are and a likely cost to repair them.
Armed with this information you can then decide whether you wish to purchase the property. If you do decide to make an offer on the property, you will be in a far better position to negotiate.
If possible, be present at the inspection so that you can discuss any concerns you may have with the inspector.