August 21, 2019

There are many reasons why people decide not to buy a house like the quality of local schools, crime rates or heavy traffic. We have looked at a few key elements relating to homes and the problems you may face, especially if you are a first-time buyer. We always suggest to sellers to get a pre-sale inspection as this will highlight any issues in home performance to the current owner and those looking to purchase the home. Always ask the seller to tell you of any problems with the building, many will be upfront and honest, and this can save you a lot of time.

Solid Foundations

The earth we walk on moves, and the house you want your family to live in should be able to stand up to the ebb and flow of the ground underneath it. The foundations of a home are of the utmost importance as the cost to fix those kinds of problems can be more than the house is worth. Check that there are no cracks in the walls as this could be one of the signs that a house is suffering from subsidence (gradual caving in or sinking of land). If you notice any irregularities around the foundations of the house, get an expert engineer in to check the structural integrity of the building. Paying a comparatively low amount for that at the outset may save you thousands in the future.

A Fair Price

As with most things in life, price is perhaps the most crucial factor when buying a home. You want to make sure you are not overpaying for a property and that the seller is asking a fair price. House prices rise and fall depending on many factors, check the local amenities, and see if new shopping centers are being built as this is a good indicator that the area will thrive for a long time. Seek out a property valuation report as this will give you historical prices for the property you are looking at and the neighborhood. Additionally, you can get an insight into the sales and rental history (click her for Australian Property Reports) to put your mind at ease that the property is offered at a fair market price. Never stretch your budget to buy a home as this will lead to years of pain down the line, with unmanageable repayments.

Roof Problems

The roof of any building is almost as crucial as the foundations. If you have a bad roof, the problems will add up as moisture gets into the walls during adverse weather. Most roofs have a lifespan of over thirty years so you should ask the owners when the roof was laid. Check what maintenance has been carried out and whether the gutters are clean as overflowing gutters can cause additional damage. If the roof seems in poor condition you can use this to lower the price as fixing it can be time-consuming and expensive. Check inside the roof space for signs of dampness from previous issues and see if the tiles are all the same age as this will give you an indication that there have been roofing problems before. No roof will last forever, but you want to know that your home will be secure from rain and wind and that only minor fixes will be needed.

Water Damage

Regardless of where water gets into your home, it will cause serious problems, whether it is from a leaky roof, flooding, or even the type of insulation that is used in the house. Where possible, lift the carpets and check for water stains, especially near walls that have been recently painted as this may be covering up an existing issue. Stand outside and check the neighborhood to see if your home is the lowest on the block. If it isn’t, go and speak with the homeowners of the lowest property and ask about any flooding issues, as they will be hit the worst and will know the true extent of local flooding. You can also speak to the local authorities about flooding in the area; they will have detailed flood map for homeowners highlighting problematic areas.

Don’t get caught up checking minor problems like bad decorating or worn carpets, these can all be fixed, and there is no urgency. Stay focused on the major issues that will determine if you can afford the property and if the building will have significant repairs needed. Use common sense and always ask the seller what work they have done to the property. Perhaps the most important advice we can impart is to always get a specialist in to examine the home before proceeding. Once they have provided a clean bill of health, you can then venture forward with your home ownership plans.

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Bethany Seton is a real estate agent and freelance writer from Melbourne.