If you’re house hunting there’s a lot to check when you’re looking at each property. Not just the room sizes and colour of the walls, but a lot of important details that can cost you money or time in the long run. This home buyers inspection checklist can help you get the most out of a property inspection.
The big picture:
How many rooms do you need? How many bathrooms? Do you want stairs or are they difficult or dangerous for your family? What size garden do you need for you and any pets? What are the things you can’t compromise on?
Room sizes and the floor plan
Wander around the property to start with and get a feel for how well the floor plan works. Is there room in the dining area for everyone to sit down? Is the kitchen layout functional for the way you use it? Will the rooms fit your existing furniture? Or if they won’t are you willing to spend money on furniture that fits?
Orientation and light
Check how much natural light comes into the house. Be aware of any trees or buildings that block out the sunlight. This might be a great thing in the middle of summer, but in the middle of winter you want as much natural light as possible coming in through your windows on the north side. Does the house look bright because all the lights are switched on? You might want to turn them off and take a second look – if you have to keep the lights on all the time it will increase the power bills for you or your tenant.
Can the neighbours see into the windows? Talk to the local council to see if any development applications have been lodged (in case that’s why the property is on the market!). Take a walk around the neighbourhood to see whether the other houses are looked after and whether there are any noisy pets.
Are there enough parking spaces at the property? Look at the street signs for any details about parking restrictions and check with council for the cost of a resident or visitor parking permit, if required. Visit the property during peak parking times to see if there is a problem finding street parking.
Heating, cooling, ventilation and insulation
Check that any heating or cooling systems work and whether they have been serviced lately. Ask how old they are. Check that the extraction fans in the kitchen and bathroom areas work. Remember that the bigger the rooms are and the higher the ceilings, the more expensive they can be to heat and cool. Ask whether the property has insulation as this can save significant money on heating and cooling costs.
Test the water pressure in the shower and make sure it warms up. Also check what size water heater the property has – is it big enough or will there be constant complaints about running out? Flush the toilet to make sure it’s working well.
If there are built in wardrobes, check that they’re suitable, or if there are no wardrobes, is there room for a free standing wardrobe? Is the garage big enough for your car and anything else you want to keep in there? Is there other storage space, like a shed, if you need it?
Does the property have enough power points? And are they in the locations you need them? If there is furniture in the rooms the power points could be hidden behind it so have a good look around. Any window coverings, light fittings and other fittings should be working and clean.
Notice the noise in the property. If there are shared walls, ceilings or floors, or stairwells close by be aware of any noise. Also notice whether the doors and windows are well fitted, and whether there is double glazing or carpet to block out noise. Is there traffic, trains, shared garden spaces, schools or sporting facilities that will increase the noise at different times?
If there is a garden how much upkeep is involved? Decide whether you are happy to clean a pool, mow the lawn, prune the fruit trees and weed the garden beds.
If there is a security door is it in good condition? If the property has a shared entrance check whether the main door closes and locks and whether other residents keep it closed.
Free Printable Checklist
Using this list you can check all those other things that aren’t covered in a building inspection. This will help you make an informed buying decision and avoid any unwanted surprises when you finally move in!
If you would like a printable inspection checklist with tickable boxes to make it easier to use during inspections just send me a message through our Enquiry Page and I will email it to you.
Is there anything I’ve missed from the list? Have you ever moved into a property and then found out about something you hadn’t noticed when you bought or rented it?