Download our handy house inspection checklist before you fall in love with your new home.
1. Rooms and layout
This might seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re inspecting a house you need to carefully consider the number of rooms AND the configuration. Got a growing family? Then you may not want kid’s rooms right next to a high traffic living area. If there’s an odd-shaped room, can you see a functional way you could use it? Make sure you can utilise all of the space, leaving nothing wasted.
2. Put the full house to the test
From the light switches to the taps, you need to see with your own eyes how everything works. If even small features like these are not up to standard, replacing them could be an unwelcome (and unplanned) future expense. Check the water pressure and temperature, and check water quality too. Switch lights on and off to make sure they’re in good working order. If the house is furnished, do an appliance check - you can take your phone charger with you to test out all the outlets throughout the property.
3. Check the insulation situation
Good insulation will save you a lot when it comes to keeping your home cool in summer and cosy in winter. In some properties, you might be able to pop up into a manhole to check the ceiling, but be sure to find out about the walls too. On the subject of climate control, where applicable, make sure any heating or air-conditioning units aren’t super old and potentially in need of replacing. This can help with budgeting for repairs before you move in.
4. Expensive issues - what to look for
This is your structural check. Cracks in the walls, mould or peeling paint can point to several different issues. Even a fresh coat of paint could mean the sellers are masking a bigger problem. Make sure you inspect the house in good light, look out for discolouration or bubbling, and thoroughly check the basement, if there is one. Follow your nose – if there’s a musty smell it could be rising damp which can be an expensive structural problem to fix. Kitchen and bathrooms are the most costly rooms to upgrade, so check conditions of the tiles, tapware and look out for water stains.
5. Open and close everything!
Try the windows and check the doors – make sure they open and close easily. What are the pantries like? The bathroom and bedroom cupboards? Is there adequate storage space? Leave no stone unturned and no rusty hinge undiscovered. As well as being annoying to fix, they could also pose safety issues for you and your family.
6. Become a measuring maestro
Whether it’s your fridge, your bed or your favourite couch, make sure each room has the space you need for your things to fit within them. Don’t just measure the actual room, either. You’re going to have to factor in the width of stairs, doorways and hallways as well. If a beloved belonging isn’t going to fit, think about reselling it and putting the funds towards a new one for your new home.
7. Pesky pests
If you’re getting serious about making an offer on a property, you’ll need to get a pest inspection report done by a third party. Pest and termite control is the last thing you want to deal with after you’ve moved into your new home, so don’t skip it. Yes, it will cost you a few hundred dollars to have the inspection done, but it could save you thousands of dollars down the track if something like termites are discovered.
8. Check out the neighbourhood
It’s not just the house you need to inspect. Your location is going to have a huge impact on how you live. Noisy neighbours, high traffic areas, new developments – these can contribute to unnecessary frustrations. So be clever – check out the house at night/on weekends and take a drive around the surrounding blocks of the neighbourhood, or even a walk. This is the best possible way you can ‘try before you buy’ when it comes to your new location.
Do our house inspection tips have you feeling home loan ready? Have a look at our home loan rates to see how we could turn you from house-hunter to home owner with our competitive rates.