When you are on the lookout to purchase your first property, it can be easy to get swayed by the tricks of the trade home owners apply. After all, they will do all they can to present their home in the best manner to encourage a sale. Styled décor, overflowing bowls of fruit, sweet smelling flowers and of course the standard scent of freshly brewed coffee. The ambience pulls you in and before you know it, your rose coloured glasses have allowed you to take one step closer to signing on the dotted line. But wait!
Whether you are an experienced property buyer, or a first homeowner, there’s a lot to consider. Here is a list of everything a first home buyer needs to know before you commit to you largest financial investment. By taking the time to consider all aspects, you’ll be in total control.
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Walk into the open house with the confidence to buy your first home at the right price. It’s not just about market movement, being able to identify the signs of a poorly maintained or problematic home will save you time, money and the stress of breaking off an offer. The agent knows you’re a first home buyer and knows that you feel inexperienced and out of your depth. Don’t. Feel 100% empowered to make the right decision with our free, comprehensive first home buyer’s guide to inspections.
Getting your financials and mortgage in order
As a first homebuyer, knowing how much you can afford is essential. With the help of a financial planner or your lender, crunching numbers and gaining an accurate idea of how much money you can borrow is key. Don’t forget too that when it comes to a mortgage, there are so many options on the market so it’s important you do your homework. Spending time up front to get your financials in order will ensure that you purchase a home that is within your reach and most importantly affordable.
Inspecting the property with a keen eye
When you organise to inspect a property for the first time, there’s a need to look beyond the furniture and freshly mowed lawn, and really look closely at the elements of the home that could be the first warning signs of problems to come. Here is a list of some key areas within the home that you should keep an eye out on.
Water damage – bathroom and kitchen
When you are wandering through the wet areas of the property, look out for any signs of water damage. It may be water stains, evidence of rust around taps or timber that has warped or is stained due to the absorption of moisture. These signs, however minute, could be an indication of water leaks inside the wall cavities and this could be a sign of a structural defect that may end up costing a small fortune to repair.
Look up, not just around
Make sure you look at the ceilings also. Can you see any cracks, sagging or signs of damage? Consider all aspects of the home from all angles and levels, especially if you are bringing pets and children into the home too.
Focus on the smell
Whilst the scent of coffee and flowers may be present in the air, tune your nose in to smelling for moisture. Any presence of damp, mold or mildew will be clearly evident if it’s there.
Whilst an untrained eye can pick up many imperfections, if you are serious about buying the property, it’s a smart idea to pay for a professional opinion. A pre-purchase building inspection can be carried out, with or without your attendance, to give you the cold hard facts about the home. A professional inspector can see past the fresh coat of paint, knows what to look for and certainly has experience to know when a property is quality or not. By avoiding the hassles before you buy, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money and heartache.
Organising a professional home inspection
It’s probably the last thing on your to-do list but a professional pre-purchase home inspection is actually one of the more critical steps in your home buying process. In fact it does not matter how experienced you are or how large your property portfolio is, you should never buy a home without a professional inspecting it. Seek the help of a qualified/licensed professional before you buy.
Here are just a few of the key areas that a qualified, accredited and professional building inspector will look at when viewing a property.
• Walls – The external walls of a property will be checked for cracks,that may indicate subsidence and a failure of footings or draining issues. A walk around the external perimeter of a property will allow an inspector to check for signs of excess water flow, previous flooding and poor drainage.
• Beneath the property – Where possible, an inspector will examine the foundations and look out for structural concerns too. Where possible, the inspector will check for deteriorating bearers and joisted, and sinking stumps etc.
• Roof – The roof is just as important as the walls of a property and all aspects will be inspected. The inspector will look out for any areas where there may be obvious damage that could allow water damage. The condition of the gutters, flashing and chimney are also inspected. Broken tiles or loose roof sheets could allow substantial damage to occur.
• Carport/Garage – Any other buildings on the property are also inspected; these include the garage, carport and even a pergola, patio and verandah. A building inspector will also consider the local building regulations to ensure that any external structures are built according to the required regulations.
• Wet areas – All areas in the home including the bathroom and kitchen are inspected thoroughly for visible leaks. Plumbing in the shower, taps, drains and water pressure are also checked. Ventilation is also assessed, especially in a laundry where there is a dryer present and within the bathroom adjacent to the shower.
• Walls – The structure of a property is inspected from the inside too, including walls, floors, ceilings and any cracks or damage is noted. Major structural concerns can be a significant safety hazard. Doors and windows are tested for operation and walls and ceilings are checked for cracks or distortion.
• General unsafe areas within the home – A pre-purchase building inspection will give the property a detailed once over and look out for any areas within the home that may be deemed unsafe.
Independent pest inspection
In addition to a building inspection, it is highly recommended that first home buyers also organise for an independent pest inspection to be carried out. The key is to ensure that each inspection is completely separate and undertaken by highly qualified, specialised professionals. By securing the services of independent inspectors you can be guaranteed that a thorough job will be carried out.
Detailed inspection report
Your chosen home inspection company should then provide you with a detailed report listing the condition of all areas inspected including recommendations for repairs.
The power of a pre-purchase building inspection
If the pre-purchase building inspection comes back with a clear slate, you can have every confidence in the quality of the property you are seeking to purchase. If not, there are still a few options for you to consider. In fact, a pre-purchase building inspection actually gives you the power to achieve two key things:
1. Budgeting for repairs
By knowing in advance what the problems are with your potential new home, you can do your best to budget for any recommended repairs. If you are seeking a renovator’s dream, it’s still worthwhile to get a professional opinion so you know what you are up against. Even if the property is for sale at a discounted price due to the work that is needed, following through with the purchase without an inspection could mean big costs for hidden issues.
By opting for a pre-purchase building and pest inspection, you are in control. You will know exactly what work needs be completed and you can then seek the advice of professionals to gain more accurate quotes for repairs.
2. Purchase price negotiations
Depending on the severity of the defects noted, you might still be keen to proceed with pursuing the home. With the pre-purchase building report in your hands, you have the power to enter into negotiations regarding the purchase price. The current homeowner may be willing to discuss a possible price reduction or work to repair many of the problems noted before the sale takes place. Either way, it can work in your favour. We’ve saved buyers tens of thousands of dollars on purchase price. Find out more:
Choosing the right pre-purchase building inspection company
When it comes to hiring a company to undertake your inspection, it is very important to be aware that not all building inspectors are qualified to offer a service that you deserve.
Here are a few of the key qualities your pre-purchase building inspection company must offer:
• Qualifications – You should hire a qualified person, such as a licensed builder to provide you with a thorough building inspection. Qualifications and experience mean everything. It will ensure that nothing is left unchecked and touch ups made by homeowners are noted especially where it is has been done to potentially mask a greater problem.
• Accredited – The building inspection company should be professionally accredited and Licensed Building Inspector.
• Compliant – It is essential that all pre-purchase building inspections are carried out to comply with the Australian Standard 4349.1. (2007 Inspection of Buildings Part 1: Pre-Purchase Inspections; Residential Buildings). There is a strict code of ethics that must be followed. Failure to adhere to these can result in an inspection that does not hold ground.
• Ongoing support – Long after the pre-purchase inspection is completed, it is comforting to know that your chosen company is still around to support you should the need arise. Find a service that includes free ongoing support.
• Up to date equipment – It is hard to know exactly what a building inspector should be equipped with however keep a look out for the most up to date tools including thermal image scanners and moisture detection equipment. It is also a bonus if the service includes the taking of color photographs. These stand as evidence of a point in time documenting any faults or damage noted and become a great bargaining tool also.
• Independent – One of the most important elements of a high quality service is to ensure that your chosen building inspection company offers you an impartial, independent report. This needs to be completely separate from any association with real estate agents and, without doubt, entirely confidential.
Brisbane First Home Buyers Beware
As a first home buyer, it is essential that you take all necessary steps to prepare yourself for your future investment and ensure that the property you ultimately call your own is of the highest quality possible. Action Property Inspections, servicing the greater Brisbane area, specialise in pre-purchase building inspections. The team can also organise for an independent specialised pest inspector to visit the property and carry out a thorough property check.
When you choose Action Property Inspections, you’ll not only receive a service that is more thorough than you’d expect but you’ll also receive a service that is second to none.
Every comprehensive property inspection report prepared is unique to your property and guarantees you are in total control. Purchasing your first home with an Action Inspection pre-purchase building inspection is a smart move.
Renegotiate your contract price on your perfect home when you hold the results of your building inspection.
Contact Action Property Inspections to organise a pre-purchase building inspection before you buy your first home.