After working out exactly what it is you want, your list is complete and you know what your dream home looks like, the challenge is to find the property that ticks all the boxes, or at least the priority ones.
Once you have scanned the best online sites (www.realestate.com.au, www.domain.com.au, www.onthehouse.com.au) and subscribed to email newsletters from your local real estate agents, it is worth doing a quick drive-by of the ones on your shortlist.
You should take note of the streetscape, ambient noise and neighbours’ yards (do they look noisy/friendly/neat?) Is the place near shops and schools and is that what you are after? Is the traffic noise loud and is it on a flight-path?
Also keep an eye out for undesirable things like proximity to pungent restaurants (might smell delicious at first, but really nauseating after a few hours) or utilities, agricultural ventures or big overhead electricity pylons.
If that all passes the test, then go ahead and arrange that inspection.
When the big inspection day comes, it is worth checking off the desirable things from the list you created when you identified our dream home attributes, but also keeping half an eye out for less desirable features.
Buying and Selling Your Home for Dummies by Karin Derkley is a great book with handy tips, and it suggests some of the less desirable things to look out for includes:
- Rising Damp – Is the paint flaking off and does the place smell a bit musty? It may be rising damp.
- Building out of Alignment – Open and close a few doors and you should soon see if the building is out of alignment
- Cracks in walls – this may indicate subsidence in the earth – in other word, the ground has moved and sunk a bit.
- Plumbing problems – Turn on the tap. Any strange sounds or colours?
- Faulty wiring – this is hard to establish when you are not an electrician, but an ancient fuse box, it often a good sign of faulty wiring.
- Tree root damage – Are there any large trees too close to the house where the roots may get into plumbing pipes or sewers?
If you are really serious after that, it is worth getting your building inspection done by a specialist. These can be costly so limit it to properties you genuinely want to purchase.
Many people make offers conditional on building and pest inspections, but some get it done before they make an offer and use any defects as a leverage to reduce the price when negotiating a sale.
Regardless of which way you do it, it’s always best to be in possession of all the information (good and bad) in order to make the perfect decision for your circumstances.