Open House Red Flags
Brisbane Building and Pest Inspections, Building Inspection Tips, Purchasing a House

Buying a House? Here’s Your Three-Step Red Flag Open House Inspection Checklist! 

Falling in love with a property is easy when viewing professional photos. The next step is to attend an open inspection and ensure there’re no monsters lurking behind the fresh paint and staged furniture. Just like the inspection is open, you need to keep your eyes and mind open to issues with the property that may break your heart and the budget. There are some obvious open house red flags you can look for before starting the process of putting in an offer. And booking a pre-purchase property inspector can be the difference between a dream home and a money pit.  

Step 1: Visually Inspect the house for red flags

Not all problems can be spotted with an untrained eye, but here are some red flags to look out for. 

  • Check the outside and the foundations. Look for large cracks, moisture retention, and salt dampness.  
  • Check the eaves outside for signs of water damage or large leafy trees near the roof. Check that gutters are maintained regularly. Are they currently blocked?  
  • Inside, run your eyes over the walls looking for cracks in the wall linings and water damage or mould to the ceiling linings. Also look for door openings that run out of alignment or doors that don’t close correctly.  
  • Open cupboards under taps, check for water damage or mould, and smell for musty odours that signal hidden mould. Look at the gyprock around the interior and exterior of wet areas to see apparent indications of internal wall leaks and water damage.  
  • Check the floor for waves or dips in the floor and look for gaps between the flooring and the skirting boards. Any sign of a sinking floor can be a big red flag.

Step 2: Do your research on the neighbourhood

So the house might be great, but are there hidden problems in your chosen neighbourhood? It’s time to expand your research to outside the fence. It is encouraged to drive around the area both during the day and at night. Are there yards full of car bodies with skid marks on the street? What about fences covered in graffiti? Check playgrounds for signs of being well maintained and cared for by the neighbourhood and council. Make sure to do the scenic drive at night and look for maintained streetlights, unusual activity or houses.  

What is the traffic like in the area and where is the public transport? For example, is there a train line running along the back fence?  

If you have a particular suburb in mind, it is a great idea to check the schools in the area and look for other children in the neighbourhood – keep an eye out for bikes, basketball hoops and scooters in front yards. Seeing kids toys in the front yard is also a good indication of an appealing and trusting neighbourhood.  

Step 3: Hire an independent building inspector

Having a visual look at the property yourself is a great idea; however, it can’t replace the non-negotiable pre-purchase property inspection. A professional building inspector will know the hidden and not so obvious problems that can turn a dream home into a nightmare, as well as look into any concerns you may have spotted at the open inspection.  A Pre-Purchase Report can save you and indicate issues that may not have crossed your mind. Read an example of how thorough our specialists are and what you can expect from one of our property inspectors that not only know houses but know the influencing environment around your house of interest.   

At Action Property Inspections, our licenced specialists will complete a thorough and professional inspection to ensure that you and your family purchase a house that will be a home and guide you to make the right and safe choice for you. Get in touch today. 


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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