Inspecting a property or building before you decide on buying it is essential. You are likely to need a professional building inspector to assess any potential property purchase. However, there are some things you can check and inspect the property yourself before bringing in these professionals.
If you have family members or friends who are willing to help you in examining your property, the better. They can give you some pointers or useful information which may guide your inspection.
If you are to inspect on your own, we recommended that you divide your property into two major areas – the inside and the outside and surrounding area. Here are some DIY inspection guides on what to look for and how to thoroughly examine the two areas of your property:
Inspect the inside of the property.
- Check the water pressure and plumbing.
Turn on all the faucets, including the taps in all the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. Check if the colour of the water is normal or muddy. Check if there is good drainage, water should exit continuously with no overflowing. Once you turn on the taps, listen to the flow of water through the pipes. Check that there is nothing out of the ordinary and that there are no leaks. Ask the seller about the age and recent maintenance of the hot-water servicing units. Also, note if there is any rusts on the pipes.
- Check for water damage in general.
Examine the walls if there are stains (usually brownish in colour), watermarks, or damage on the painted walls. This often makes the walls appear engorged and sponge-like. There will also be bubbling on the paint and the peeling of wallpaper. Some sellers will try to paint over these damp sites to hide them. In this case, use your sense of smell. The smell is often compared to that of old newspapers or box materials and cardboard.
- Examine the presence of moulds and mildew.
These are severe problems in the property. They are usually found in damp areas with poor ventilation or water damage. Additional painting and re-grouting are required. This can cost you a lot of money.
- Check the walls, the ceiling, and the floor.
Check for cracks. These are signs of structure movement or subsidence, which may also cost you a lot of money for repair, especially if the damage is too severe. Run your hands over the walls to further investigate if there are indeed cracks or bumps which are hidden under any new paint. Check for broken surfaces, fractured enamel, and uneven or cracked tiles. Inspect the carpets for wear and tear. Lift them up to uncover any hidden damages. Carpets and rugs can be replaced if they are dilapidated, but damage to floors can be harder to put right.
- Check if there is renovation required.
Check the condition of the windows, the glass, and the screens. Make sure they are robust and there is no replacement needed. Check the quality of the decor. Have an overall assessment of the paint or wallpaper and if there is a need for any replacement. It can cost a lot of money especially if you hire someone to do it. Inspect the quality of the cupboards and benchtops. Make sure they can accommodate all your appliances. If not, renovation may be needed. If it is possible, have a look at the insulation of the property. Ask the condition of the wall insulation, its age, and its recent check-up (and if it needs replacement).
- Double check the room layout, power sources, and furnishings.
Be sure that the rooms are placed where they should be with enough power stations. Check that your furniture will fit.
- Check for potential electrical damage.
Old wiring, switches, and sockets must be replaced. Check all the lights if they are working. Enquire about the heating and cooling systems of the property. Ask about their age and recent maintenance as well.
- Look for signs of pest infestation.
Look for any holes at the corners of the walls where mice might live or pass through. Check if there are signs of rodent poison. Termite damage is also serious pest trouble. Check the consistency of floors and steps. Knock on wood beams and walls to check if they are hollow inside. If they sound hollow, chances are, there are termites in the structure.
Inspect the outside and the surrounding area of the property.
- Check the orientation or the direction the building faces.
This will give you an overall understanding of the property and might guide you in your inspection. Note where the cool and warm areas of the building are (where the sun hits the property).
- Inspect the water pressure and plumbing outside as well.
Check the external pipes for any leaks or rust. Again, check for water damage. Have a look to ensure there is proper drainage. Check the gutters for leaks, warps, holes, clogging, rust, or signs of gutter overflow. Observe whether the leaves from nearby trees could cause gutter problems. Investigate where the water will flow (i.e., canal, drains etc.), and inquire if flooding during the rainy season is an issue.
- Check the fuse box and electrical wiring outside the property.
Make sure the fuse box meets safety standards and is up to date. Look for fire hazards, loose or broken power points, and poorly wired electrical fittings.
- Check for presence of asbestos.
Ask the seller if asbestos was used on the walls, roofing, or fencing. Materials containing asbestos release tiny asbestos fibres which become airborne and are readily inhaled. These pose a lot of hazards and can lead to diseases including asbestosis and lung cancer.
- Check the overall appearance of the building.
Look for damaged doors, windows, cement work, paint, or extensions. Check the roof for cracked and sliding tiles. An undulating roof indicates possible structural inconsistencies and is likely to need renovating.
- Look for signs of pest infestation.
Check for signs of pests like hornet nests or beehives. Double-check if there is termite damage within the premise.
- Examine the trees and garden nearby.
Check if their age, condition, and tree-type. These trees might have the potential to do damage to your property especially if they are prone to dropping branches or likely to fall completely. Check the condition of the garden if there is any. There are a lot of things to work on and maintain in having a garden such as irrigation and landscape layout.
- Check for external structures such as the sheds, garages, pergolas, pool, or spa.
Check if they are in tip-top condition. Check the decking, fences, and gates for any damage or finish that needs redoing. If there are pools or spas, check the filtration and drainage systems for leaks and required maintenance. Pool repairs are costly, so it is vital to double-check its initial state.
After your DIY inspection, have a complete assessment of your discoveries. Document all of them and have a rough estimate of how much it would cost you for repairs. You can now bring in your hired professional building inspectors. Report all findings to them for briefing. This saves everyone a lot of time, and you get to communicate your issues to them.
After which, you can compare the benefits to the costs and decide whether the property is worth it.
Contact Exceptional Building Inspections today!
We believe that every building and facility should stand firm for the safety of its inhabitants. With our thorough inspections, we give you the best value for the time spent. When it comes to your concerns, we’re responsive and reliable. Contact us today to resolve your building inspection concerns. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 02 4950 4197 and 0412 188 199.