Typically when you think of a house inspection you think of physically eye-balling the property for its good and not-so-good features. However, the process can begin long before you step foot in the potential property so let’s take a look at what we mean…
LOCAL MARKET FACTORS AND SUBURBS
As well as the general outlook of the economy, to ensure that you are buying in the right location, you will then analyse more local market factors.
Things like, demographics, owner occupier percentages, land to asset ratios, and suburbs with scarcity.
School catchments, public transport and infrastructure should also be very high on your radar.
Almost always, it will be our capital cities that will have higher demand for housing as they are producing the most jobs.
Target suburbs that are close to these major employment hubs, with good infrastructure, transport and schooling.
The street itself
From the comfort of your desktop you can investigate things like flood reports, zoning and even contours of the land.
The physical part of the inspection then starts as you are driving to the property and understanding what is happening at street level.
You should be looking to get a feel for things like;
Noise – Are you too close to a busy road, train line noise corridor. Neighbours?
Neighbourhood – How are houses kept? Lawns mowed? Untidy gardens?
Apartment towers – Are they staring into the back yard or blocking sunlight?
Streetscape – Are there many new builds, renovated homes or derelict properties?
Property price pressure will continue where old tired $600,000 houses are being improved or demolished and replaced with newly renovated or constructed homes that are now worth anywhere from $1mil upwards.
This is a sign of gentrification.
Alternatively, you never want to be the pioneer, so if the street or location you are considering does not have these attributes, you do not want to be the first to test the water.
THE EXTERNAL INSPECTION
Once you arrive at the property and park up, your external inspection commences. Consider some of these:
Can you find a park easily?
Is there a lot of traffic?
Is access to the property by foot and car fairly straight forward?
Charm and character will first be established from street level and is always an important factor as it is the first impression.
If it does not tick this box, are there things we can change to make it look more appealing?
The slope of the land here is almost just as important and cannot easily be judged from a picture on the internet.
A flat or slight slope on most homes would be ideal, but it’s best to be avoiding large sloping blocks, especially if they slope from front to back.
This type of slope can lead to stormwater and runoff being directed towards the garage or front door.
A quick stroll around the outside and underneath the property may also establish any major cracking or structural issues that may be costly in the long run.
Termite activity is also something that could be spotted at this time.
Things like weather damage, gutter and roof condition and boundary fences are not deal breakers, but should be noted and allowed for when considering the price.
As you enter the property, a staircase or entryway may provide a further opportunity to assess the property.
THE INTERNAL INSPECTION
This is the time to sort fact from fiction!
Do the agents inspection photos match the property’s appearance?
With the help of high resolution images, wide angle lenses and photoshop, an old run down shack can look a million dollars with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Question marks are always raised with large amounts of cracking, bowed ceilings or hollowed out walls and floor boards.
However, many unpleasant or unappealing things internally can be easily changed or upgraded.
You are not, however, able to change the location! Or the distance to the train or the school catchment, which is why these considerations are paramount before any inspection takes place.