Protect your finances by ensuring you have had a property sufficiently inspected before settling.
Buying an established property either for investment purposes or to live in is one of the most important financial decisions a person is likely to make in their lifetime.
Maintenance issues should be a key consideration when buying an established home. Fixing a simple electrical plug outlet costs the home buyer more than $100. Even a home that is less than 10 years old requires careful inspection before you make a property purchase.
As a purchaser you are entitled to, and should take advantage of, a pre-settlement or final inspection of the property before you make the final payment and take occupation of the property.
The ideal time to do the pre-settlement inspection is immediately before the settlement; however, this is usually not very practical. It is usually done the day before the settlement. This way if there is a problem there is some time to sort out the problem before settlement. If you have some concerns that something may go missing or damage is done between the inspection and settlement then you have no alternative than to re-inspect just before settlement takes place.
When making the final inspection of the property, home buyers should include the following items:
- Electric and gas hotplates
- Electric/gas ovens
- Check pool pump and equipment there are working
- Check if dishwasher is working
- Remote controls for garage doors and security gates are there and work
- Check if reticulation is working
- Water pressure in taps
- Check power points
- Check TV antenna/satellite dish are still there
- Make sure if there is an alarm that it is owned and not under a monitoring contract
- Owners remove the rubbish and personal belongings
In terms of the electrics, a practical suggestion is to employ a reputable electrical contractor to check all of the electrical outlets for a small fee.
If you are buying an older home and want to ensure the structure of the property is sound, then you could also consider a building inspection report.
A good building inspection will inform the home buyer on whether the property is structurally sound and whether the buyer can expect major expenditures in the near future, such as repairing the roof. A satisfactory building inspection report can be included by the home buyer in the contract as a condition of buying the property.
Ideally, the building inspection should be tailored to the age of the property. When you buy a newly built home it makes sense to have a thorough inspection of the property's fixtures and fittings, such as the quality of the cabinet-making and tiling in addition to the structural report.
When you are buying an older home you should expect normal wear and tear, but your primary concern is with structural faults that can lead to expensive repairs such as damage to the foundations. A reputable building inspector will discuss these issues with you and tailor an inspection that suits your needs, including your budget.
Remember when buying an older home you can quite often be paying mainly for the land value of the property, with the building itself being an extra bonus.