Inspecting a house - What to look out for


Finding the right house for your investment can be a difficult task. Narrowing down a few potential buys from numerous 'for sale' or 'auction' signs is harrowing enough. But once you've found that potential gem that's in a good area and close to amenities and transport, what else should you look out for?

The first step to inspecting a property is to do it yourself. It may sound simple; however, you'd be surprised at how many people just let agents walk them through the motions without inspecting the property themselves.

So what are the things to look out for?

• Cracking - This can be on the walls, the roof or the floors. If the cracking appears to be affecting the brickwork or destabilising the structure of the house in any way, there's a problem

• Worn floorboards - Often in older houses the floorboards will rot or become loose or weak. In carpeted houses, the best thing to do is to lift the corner of the carpet so you can see the condition of the floorboards and step on the floorboards throughout the house to see if they're stable

• Proper plumbing - Check the taps and flush the toilet to see if there are any leaks. If you're not sure how to tell whether the plumbing is adequate, bring in a plumber

• Light and electrical wiring - Make sure the light switches work and that they're connected properly. Also check to see whether the power points are in working order and they aren't a health hazard

• Proximity of trees to the house - If there are trees that are within two metres of the house, you should be cautious. When the roots grow, they can potentially cause major cracking and destabilisation

• Pests - This can be hard to determine from just a couple of inspections but obviously, look out for things like cockroaches and ask the neighbours whether they know of any pest problems

• Dodgy guttering - Make sure to check that the guttering is connected to the downpipes properly

* In the Northern Territory and the ACT, it's compulsory to get a professional inspection carried out before a property is purchased.

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