Having a building inspection is absolutely crucial, especially if you are a first property buyer. Purchasing a property is a major financial move and you need to be certain of your decision before you sign any contracts. In your first initial viewing of the home or building, there are some basic areas you should always check to determine if the property is worth purchasing. Unless you are an experienced builder, you should always have a building inspector view the home as there are many important areas which are commonly overlooked. By conducting a minor inspection yourself following the below checklist, you can feel confident enough to know whether to progress to the next stages of purchasing.
Check the exterior of the building
ROOF: The roof of a property is one of the most important areas and ensures the rest of the building is kept in a stable condition. The roof protects the building from weather damage and keeps the home itself and its occupants safe. When viewing a property, you won’t be able to inspect all elements of the roof due to limited access, however you can check to see how old the roof looks and look for simple defaults such as missing shingles or any leakages. Try to obtain enough of an understanding to know when the roof will require maintenance or replacing next.
FOUNDATION: Similarly to the roof, the foundation of the property is absolutely vital to check. You must have a home which is structurally safe and secure. Look for any cracks or holes in the walls, any uneven surfaces or excessive mould. If you do see any concerning areas, contact a building inspector to take a look and determine whether or not it will be a major issue to fix.
YARD: Another area which you should pay careful attention to is the yard. Look at the walkways and driveways, are they any cracks or holes which could potentially be a safety hazard? Trees are also another potential safety hazard. If the there are rather large trees which look unstable, or large roots, these could pose further risks in future and cost you more money in the long run. Have these areas inspected by a professional if you are unsure.
Check the interior of the building
ELECTRICAL: You won’t be able to check all electrical components of the property (unless you are an electrician yourself) however you can check for simple defects. Check to see if light switches work, ceiling fans operate to each speed setting and power points are fully functioning. It’s best to leave the major electrical components to the experts to inspect as there could be dangerous electrical faults you are unaware of.
PLUMBING: Plumbing is another area of the home or property which is extremely important to inspect. If areas of the home have plumbing concerns, this could set you up for major costs in the long term. Again, there are only certain areas which will be safe for you to physically inspect yourself. Check all taps work in various areas of the home and that there is a sufficient amount of pressure. You should also check toilets flush properly and look for leakages throughout the kitchen and bathrooms.
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS: The structural elements on the inside of the building are just as important to inspect as the outside. Look at various areas and if they don’t look right, chances are they probably aren’t. Look at the ceiling and determine if there is any sagging or mould, water stains, wall cracks or any poorly done plastering work over cracks. All these factors may seem minor but could cost you thousands in the future to fix if they worsen over time.
Whilst you may not be a professional house or building inspector, you can still provide yourself with a general understanding as to whether or not property requires a great deal of maintenance or not. You can check for minor defaults; however you should always contact an experienced building inspector the view the property beforehand to conduct a thorough inspection.