How to inspect property – Top tips when buying a house

Apart from the important aspect of location, these are my top 10 things relating to the physical aspects when buying a house, new or otherwise:

  1. Termites / pests – always obtain a pest inspection report from a licensed builder and pest inspector to ensure the house is free from termites and other pests which may fester behind walls, wardrobes, floor and roof. These pests cannot be visually detected during routine inspections.
  2. Rising damp – a building report will also reveal possible rising damp which may damage walls, floorboards and the long term structural integrity of the building.
  3. Roof and building structure – Certain houses in Australia which are built before the 1980s may contain asbestos materials which can be harmful to human health. Some houses from earlier periods are also built on concrete stumps underground without adjustment joints and should there be extreme changes in temperature due to climate conditions, may cause cracking to brick or concrete walls.
  4. Concrete cancer – this is a serious problem which is caused by rusted reinforcing from within the steel. Rusting causes the steel within the concrete to expand and allows water to seep into cracks and joints. Over time, this causes concrete spalling and will affect the structural integrity of the building.
  5. Land subsidence – this is caused by a number of factors which include, poor water drainage, the type of soil and by water movements underground.
  6. Aircraft, train or traffic noise – houses which are on flight paths, close to train tracks and main roads will experience noise and will affect its saleability.
  7. Neighbouring developments – always check neighbouring houses to ascertain the type of residential dwellings such as proposed apartment blocks commercial development which may positively or negatively affect future values.
  8. Zoning of land use – check and understand the type of land use which the house is built upon. Some residential zonings may also include industrial use and this may positively or negatively affect future values.
  9. Streetscape – walk around the streets within the neighbourhood at different times of the day, talk to locals and find out how they feel about living on the particular street, whether there are any adverse aspects of living in within the local surrounds.
  10. Feng shui – this is a more personal issue and depends upon individual tastes, beliefs and values. To me, the basic principles of feng shui attempts to apply common sense to living in harmony with our environment.  If applying such principles does not cause unnecessary costs or inconvenience, I am a firm believer of adopting good feng shui to achieve harmony and balance between yin and yang.

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