Whether you love them or hate them, property inspections are a necessary part of the real estate buying process.
Property is one of the largest purchases you are likely to make in your lifetime, you need to make sure you review the goods before buying.
However, it simply isn’t enough to walk through a property and get a ‘feel’ for it. You need to know what to look for.
For experienced property professionals, this becomes second nature – however, for the average buyer, it helps to have a systematic approach to make sure you weigh up all the pros and cons of a property, and then be able to compare it against another.
That’s exactly why we have developed this Property Inspection Checklist for you to use at your next property inspection.
Download the Property Inspection Checklist Here Now.
But before you dive straight in, here are a few tips on what to look for as you use this checklist.
Curb Appeal & Layout
When it comes to a house or apartment there are many things you can change to add the look and improve value – but it’s hard to change a bad layout or street frontage.
If your prospective apartment is part of a complex with a shabby unmaintained exterior, where everything else is new or updated then this may be a problem.
If it’s a house you are looking at, its easier to improve the street appeal by repainting or by adding gardens and landscaping. However, if the rest of the street looks run down, then your efforts won’t go very far.
A well planned, flexible and light-filled layout is any homeowner or renters dream. If your property ticks this box then you are off to a great start. If it doesn’t then maybe you can improve the flow of the floorplan by removing an awkward wall?
Structural and Maintenance Issues
Structural issues can be hard to spot by the untrained eye and can cause big headaches down the road. Be on the look-out as you inspect the home for any signs of sagging, cracked walls or crumbling masonry. These can indicate a serious problem beneath the surface.
The same goes for maintenance issues such as faulty wiring, leaky ceilings, and plumbing. Sometimes even the smallest drips from a loose tap can cause serious damage.
For example, one investor purchased a newly renovated home and didn’t realize that there was a small leak in the waterproof lining of the bathroom. Within a few months a cavity behind the bathroom wall filled with trapped water and caused serious structural damage.
That’s why it pays to look for even the smallest watermarks and investigate closer. However, any buyer should still use a professional pest and building inspector to do a thorough check before settling on any property.
Explore the Area
Don’t just visit the property on the inspection day. Make sure to drive by the area at a few different times and see how the neighborhood differs. Does the area suddenly experience a lot of traffic at certain times?
Do a walk of the neighborhood and take a closer look at the neighboring properties and residents. What sort of demographic lives here? Are they house proud with trimmed lawns and manicured gardens? Or is the landscape bleak, low maintenance, and minimalist? A tell-tale sign of a high rental suburb and possibly high rental supply.
How close are amenities like schools, shops, gyms, and transport hubs? Are they within a 15 minutes’ walk or 5-minute drive?
While nobody likes an eyesore, investors shouldn’t be so quick to judge. That eyesore or irregular feature may just be your foot in the door to negotiate a better price – or add value.
It’s important to not get over emotional when buying real estate. When assessing a property look at in the light of its potential, not its current condition.
By doing this you can find great gems that others overlook and can add $10,000’s in value. For example, old bathrooms don’t need to be ripped out. You can simply repaint the tiles and cupboards and add some economical touches like new handles, rails, and lights for a fraction of the cost.
The fact is that while everyone has a picture of their dream home in their mind, 99% of people (buyers and renters) settle for what’s practical.
That means that if you can make sure your property certain basic boxes (clean, practical, comfortable), you will find buyers or renters for it.
Get the Checklist
So now that you have a bit of background on what to look for during a property inspection, make sure to download your Property Inspection Checklist here.