What to really look out for when viewing a home for the first time

Whether you’re looking to rent or purchasing an established home, here are 10 important things you should always check before making an offer.

1. Keep an eye out for any signs of water leaks, damp or mould

One way to tell if the plumbing is not up to scratch is if you notice watermarks on walls and ceilings, flaky plaster or a mouldy smell. 

f you notice sagging floors or ceilings, this could indicate there is a leaking or burst pipe. Make sure to run taps and showers to check water pressure as well as the hot water. 

2. The cracks have begun to show

It’s probably nothing to worry about if you spot a few small cracks on the walls around the house. 

However, what you need to be weary of are larger cracks or ones that are discoloured, which can indicate structural problems or leaking pipes.

If you notice cracks in exposed brick walls, this indicates there is movement and could be a sign of serious structural issues. Cracks larger than 2.0mm in width are a cause for concern.

3. Notice a fresh coat of paint?

Apart from a terrible paint job — brush marks and noticeable uneven layers of paint — what you really want to know is why has it been repainted. 

If you do notice fresh paint and the rest of the home hasn’t been renovated in a while, this could indicate something was fixed or covered up. 

The location of the damage is vital, as it may have been from black mould, damp or termite damage. Make sure to ask why it was repainted.

4. Check the ceilings for sagging

Watermarks and sagging ceilings is the first sign there may be a water leak. 

The best way to test for sagging ceilings is to shine a torch light across the ceiling, which will reveal any deflections or defects and will look like a ‘parachute’. 

5. Inspect all cabinets and cupboards in moist areas

Make sure to open up and inspect all storage areas in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry for any strange smells of damp or mould. This can be an indication of water leaks.

6. Take note of any large trees in the yard or out front

Large trees may seem harmless at first and are not usually part of the inspection. That said, giant trees can pose all sorts of risks, like falling over during a storm or catching fire. 

Not to mention all the smaller things that add up such as leaves clogging up the gutters and downspouts, roots getting to underground plumbing, and of course a breeding ground for insects. 

Attempting to remove a large tree further down the track can be quite costly, so you might want to factor that in before you make an offer.

7. Suss out the external roof lines

You may not necessarily need to get a ladder and jump on the roof, however, take a look at the lines of the roof to ensure they are straight and free from deflections. 

8. Make sure all power points work

Bring your mobile phone charger with you to inspection and test out every port. If your mobile phone charge symbol comes on, it means the power point is working. 

9. Check to see if the roof downpipes run to stormwater drains

As you inspect the perimeter of the home, check to see if all the roof downpipes are connected to a stormwater soak well and not just onto the ground. 

Any past signs of flooding or excess water could indicate the soak wells are either not suitably sized, require cleaning out or don’t even exist. 

Cleaning or installing storm water soak wells on an established property isn’t cheap, as it may require extensive landscaping to install the drains.

10. Don’t be fooled by staging

We’re not going to lie, stepping into a home that immediately feels like you can move in without having to do any additional renovations is the dream. A dream that can quickly turn into a nightmare because you were fooled by staging techniques. 

From strategically placed mirrors and lighting, to pleasant fragrances and fresh coats of paint, these are all tricks sellers will use to make their home more appealing.

A good trick to use if the place has been staged is to take a photo of each room and ask the seller if those beautiful light fittings or boujee curtains are included in the sale.


Now what?

Are you ready to sign a lease or purchase a house? Here are a few articles to help you through the process so you are prepared for anything: