8 Steps to Buying Property

3. Inspecting a Property

An agent will often provide a buyer with a brochure or some form of marketing material when they show a buyer through a property. This is a great way for a buyer to remember a property and also for them to be able to take any notes while inspecting the property.

Taking notes will make it easier for a buyer to compare properties through details such as the date the property was inspected, the address, the listed price or price range, and any key features of the property that caught interest.

Don't forget to ask the agent...

Remember to ask the agent if there are any special conditions the vendor wants to place on the sale, such as an extended settlement due to their next residence not being available.

Inspection Checklist

Some things to consider and look for when inspecting a property are:

 Inside the Property

  • Check for signs of rising damp, such as rotting carpet or mould on the walls and ceiling;
  • Check the walls and ceilings for warps, cracks and any obvious damage;
  • Test all light switches; and
  • Test the water pressure in hot and cold taps and check to see that water drains well - slow flowing water may indicate blocked drains.

Outside the Property

  • When attending an open house, a buyer will often be asked by the agent to provide their contact details. Agents are required under the National Privacy Act to have available for perusal a copy of their privacy disclosure, outlining how they collect, use and store any personal information that is obtained through such registers. Inspect fences for stability and any obvious faults;
  • Large trees around the house may have large root systems that can cause structural problems;
  • Check that the land’s water run-off is adequate and drains away from the dwelling;
  • Water staining on the eaves may indicate damaged or blocked gutters;
  • Look at the roof for any broken tiles or capping; and
  • If the property has a pool, check the legality of its fencing via the Pool Safety Council. Pools in a Community Titles Scheme (body corporate) are the responsibility of the body corporate.

Most agents will ask a potential buyer if they would like to be contacted at a later date if similar properties become available. If a buyer does not wish to be contacted for anything other than the attendance at the open house, they can clearly outline this to the agent at the time of the inspection.


Step four: Clarify inclusions