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Property inspections: questions to ask yourself

26.07.23 | Marc Barlow | Blog

It’s a peril of house-hunting: getting carried away by your emotional response to a property: desperation and forgetting to ask yourself the all-important practical questions. It’s best to go in armed with a checklist keep yourself – and your finances – on track.

Do you need that spare bedroom? Does your dog need a backyard to dig holes in? Is an en-suite a must? Need a granny flat for a teenager or actually a granny? Write down your absolute must-haves as guiding principles.

Make sure you answer these questions when you’re looking through your potential new home.


How does the property fit you?

You don’t need to be a feng shui expert to feel the ‘flow’ of the property. Does the layout make sense? Are the rooms the right size for your needs? Will your furniture and major appliances fit (and if not, is it in budget to replace them)? If you’re a home MasterChef, is the kitchen up to scratch? If you’re an entertainer, is there enough space to fit all your friends around a table?


Is there enough light?

All the lights will probably be turned on during an inspection. Expensive! Switch them off to get a more realistic view. Where are the windows, and what is the property’s aspect? (North- or northeast-facing properties capture the most sunlight.) Check for trees or buildings that will block out the sun.


Is it well placed for public transport?

Where’s the nearest train station or bus stop? Is it on a well-served line? Think about how far you’re prepared to walk. Even if you don’t need to catch public transport, this may be an important question for potential future renters or buyers.


Is it noisy?

Does the property have common walls with neighbours? If it’s an apartment, are there neighbours above you can hear through the ceiling? Consider the property’s insulation – are there gaps in the doors and windows, is it carpeted and are the windows double-glazed? All these things will contribute to noise levels inside.


What’s the water situation?

There are few things as disappointing as a bad shower. Check the water pressure – can you get the right mix of heat and force? Is the hot water heater big enough for your needs (especially if you have a family), or will you need to splash out for this? Give the toilets a flush to make sure all is flowing well.


What’s heating, cooling and ventilation like?

Check that any heating or air conditioning systems work, and verify how old they are and if they’ve been recently serviced. High ceilings are lovely, but keep in mind that they’re expensive to heat. Check the extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms.


Is the outdoor space what you want?

It may be a must-have for you to start a veggie patch. You may be happy with a small patio or balcony. Or you may want to avoid mowing lawns at all costs. Think about what you ultimately want from the backyard or outdoor are and be sure that the property has the space you want, and that you’re prepared to put in any work that’s required to make it match your desires.


Are the fixtures and fittings in order?

Especially in older properties, power points can be rare or weirdly placed (check the bathrooms!). They may be hidden behind furniture, so look carefully. Make sure that blinds, curtains, flyscreens, light fittings and other fixed features are clean and in good working order.


Is the property secure?

Are there deadlocks on the doors? How secure are the window locks? Do you need a security door? If it’s an apartment, what’s the external security like – does the main door lock?

You may have other items on your personal list, but these are the basics. Anything else is a nice-to-have. The most important thing is to make your own list – yes, actually write it down – and to stick to it!


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