Australian Houses, How to Avoid Buying a Dud

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Before making offers to buy Australian houses you need to organise building and pest inspections to make sure you are purchasing a good, solid property.

Real estate prices  vary a lot. They are less influenced by the size, age and the looks of a house and more by the location.

The closer to the heart of the city, to the beach or to wealthy neighbourhoods, the more expensive they are.

But the structural condition of a house is important and can influence the future maintenance costs.

So it is good to consider these future costs when you evaluate the asking price of the property.

Once you make up your mind where you want to buy and what, the next step is to make sure the building has solid bones and is free of pests.

building a house in australia

The First Inspection

Start with a visual inspection.

When real estate agents take you through open homes, take a hard look at the building and its structure.

Walk around the house, look at the walls, the roof, the windows, the pipes:   

  • Is everything aligned and in good order?    
  • Are there any cracks in the foundation or walls?    
  • Are there visible signs of rising damp, aging,  lack of maintenance?   
  • Does the roof look good or is it tired? 
  • Is the backyard appealing or will it need a good cleaning and landscaping?

If all seems right enter the house.

  • Are the walls straight and ceilings free of stains? Stains or spots on walls and ceiling can be an indication of rising damp or leaky roof. 
  • Are there any bad odours in the house? Musty smells can come from mould or lack of ventilation. 
  • Lift the carpets if you can and check whether the floor is dry. You don't want any moisture and rotting timber. 
  • Flush the toilets and open the taps. Does hot water come quickly? Is there any noise in the pipes? 
  • Are the kitchen and bathroom looking tired?
  • Do the doors close tight?
house being built in sydney

If the house is brand new, everything should look spic and span.

With an older one, your visit is not only to assess whether you like it and can imagine yourself living there, but also whether you should invest in further inspections.

Australian Houses, Building and Pest Inspections

If you liked what you saw, the next step is to organise proper building and pest inspections.

Qualified builders and tradesmen will book a date with the owners of the house, visit and check it all for you and then give you a written report about the structural condition.

Organise the inspection after you make the offer to buy the property.

Unless it is an auction sale.

Then you should inspect before you bid. Because if your bid is accepted, there's no way out. You can't say you didn't know the property had structural damages.

If it's not an auction but a private treaty, consult your conveyancer and make the contract conditional on the results of the reports. If you are not satisfied with the reports you should be able to cancel the contract during the cooling off period.

The reports will also provide you with an understanding of the future maintenance costs or any upgrades or renovations that may be needed.

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