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Buying a home

What to look for when inspecting a house

9 November 2018

This article is part of the Suncorp Home Buying Guide. A handy selection of articles, calculators and services to help you on your property buying journey. 

If you’re thinking of buying a property, inspecting it before you sign on the dotted line is vital. You might think that you’ve found the perfect place, with the right number of rooms and a backyard big enough for a homemade minigolf course, but without giving it thorough once-over you could be investing in a ticking time bomb.

Why should I inspect a house before buying?

Inspecting your potential new home in person is an important part of the purchasing process. If you discover an existing issue after signing a contract, you could be stuck with it, and the repair costs. If there’s an issue that could’ve been discovered early, you’ll be kicking yourself.

Do you need a professional inspection?

Even if you conduct a thorough personal inspection of your prospective new home, it’s still a very good idea to organise an inspection by a professional, qualified building inspector.

Professionals have the experience and the knowledge to look for things you may be unaware of. Getting a professional’s opinion will also give you the confidence in knowing you have bought the right home for the right price.

What should I look for?

The first thing you should keep an eye out for is any signs of obvious defects. These could include:

  • Cracks in the wall or ceiling, especially larger ones (small cracks are pretty common and not necessarily a sign of structural issues)
  • Leaks, or signs of leaks such as mouldy patches or water damage in the ceiling
  • Doors and windows that stubbornly refuse to open or close
  • Flickering lights, which may indicate a haunting but are more likely a sign of electrical issues
  • Sagging ceilings.

You should check the property for features relating to your lifestyle and preferences, such as:

  • Number and size of rooms
  • Noise (or lack thereof) from the neighbourhood and nearby streets
  • Car parking
  • Proximity to facilities like schools, public transport, parks, shops and cafes
  • Yards and gardens, consider size, usefulness and maintenance

Should I bring someone along?

If you have a willing friend or family member, try bringing them with you to your house inspection. A second set of eyes means you’re more likely to notice smaller details, and if they’re not thinking of buying the house themselves, they’re less likely to let emotion get in the way of their critical thinking.

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The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.