Buying your first house is an exciting milestone. You will have made what, for most people, is the largest financial investment of your life. You’re no longer at the mercy of landlords and you’re free to turn your house into a home.
In all the excitement, it can be tempting to rush the purchase process and overlook some important steps, like properly inspecting the building. Look at it this way: You shouldn’t buy a used car without giving it a test drive and getting a qualified mechanic to give it a look over.
Well, a house is a much larger investment and if you buy a lemon it can be much more expensive to fix. That’s why it’s important to complete a thorough personal inspection, building inspection and pest inspection before making an offer.
Once settlement takes place, any problems with the property immediately become your responsibility. And that could mean tens of thousands of dollars in repair and maintenance work that you have to shell out on top of the purchase price.
To help out all the first home buyers out there, we have some useful information about how to get the most out of your inspection opportunities before buying your first home.
Once you’re seriously considering buying a property, your personal inspection needs to reflect this. It’s a different process to the initial open inspection.While it’s important you still like the overall feel of the house, this is the time to take a serious and focused look at the potential trouble areas and money pits around the house. Read our another blog post on What’s a Dilapidation Report?
Some key things to look out for are:
- Water stains, dampness or mould on walls and ceilings
- Sagging ceilings or buckling and cracking walls
- Windows and doors opening and closing easily
- Light switches working
- Outside drainage areas
- Taps working
- Rotting floorboards that may be hidden under carpets
- Any obvious damage and issues, like exposed wiring or evidence of pests
Be critical about the place, as much as you may love it. Finding faults with a property before you buy can save you a lot of stress in the long run.
While it’s important to look the property over yourself, unless you’re an expert you won’t have a good idea what you’re looking for. What may look like a great house in perfect condition could be hiding a whole bunch of structural issues. That’s why it’s vital to get a professional building inspection from a licensed building inspector.
A building inspector will thoroughly check the property inside and out. They will examine all accessible structural elements, outbuildings like sheds, and external structures like fences and retaining walls. Once the inspection is complete, they will provide a detailed report that highlights any major damage or essential repairs, as well as recommending other minor repairs and even documenting any potential repair or maintenance risks.
Your building inspector should always be a third-party professional – that is, someone not recommended by or affiliated with the seller or their agents. This way you can be assured of a completely independent and unbiased report.
Any major issues with the property should be presented to the seller before purchase. You can then negotiate to have these issues fixed before purchase or adjust the purchase price accordingly.
A pest inspection is another vital pre-purchase step. These can be packaged in with your building inspection or carried out separately. Pests like termites and other wood borers can do devastating damage to a property. A professional pest inspection will not just look for evidence of pest activity. It will also look for traces of previous activity, as well as at-risk areas and conditions conducive to pest activity.
A good pest inspector will also check for pest proofing around the property and make recommendation for the best ways to protect the property from infestations.
If infestations are identified, the inspector can assess the extent of the damage and provide quotes for pest eradication as well as the necessary repairs.
Don’t take the risk
If you think you’ve found your dream home, you can’t afford the risk of it turning into a nightmare. Hiring the professionals to carry out the building inspections and pest inspections can help you to make the most informed purchase and avoid the massive repair and maintenance costs that come with buying a shoddy property.