So you’ve found your dream home but haven’t yet made an offer! Before you make an offer, there are many simple checks that you can do yourself before calling in a builder to go through the house with a fine tooth comb to check out all of the places that you may not be able to get to and to check out the really technical side of property inspections.
Armed with a notebook and a pen or pencil and a tape measure you can make a start.
Before entering the property, stand back and cast your eyes over items such as the fences and gate/s; do they appear to be in good condition? Do the gates work properly? Look at downpipes and gutters from the front property line; are the gutters even in their fall? Are the downpipes in good condition? Check out the roof. Is the ridge even or does it have unevenness, with ups and downs? Do the tiles appear to be in good condition? If there are chimney pots or flues, are they damaged? Is the driveway good and sound? If there’s a garden path, what is the condition like? Is there a garage or carport? Keep jotting down your comments accurately, they’ll enable you to possibly reduce the asking price of the property when you can present the agent or owner with a list of the problems.
Now approach the building and check the windows. Is there any glass damage? What are the window frames and surrounds like? Is there rot or missing or loose putty, or if the frames are steel is there evidence of rust or corrosion?
Look closely at the outside walls for evidence of leaking gutters or downpipes; look for staining. Check the fascias and soffits for rot or peeling paint or any staining that would indicate leaking gutters or downpipes. If there are paths around the house moss is quite often an indications of leaks from gutters or downpipes.
Check doors and door frames for damage by rot or staining from water. If you already have access to the inside of the building, check that doors and windows open and close properly.
Inspect bricks, sidings or timber boards for obvious damage. Is the mortar between the bricks all present? Are there bricks flaking or powdery? Are their cracks? has the damp proof course been bridged by garden beds?
Most of these inspection tips are basic, but it’s easy to overlook some things that could later turn out to be expensive to fix. Of course, when signing a contract to purchase, it’s always necessary to sign subject to a professional building inspection, but your own basic inspection may reveal too many problems to warrant even getting to the contract stage.