Use a checklist when inspecting a property

Each property you inspect will be different from the previous one.

It may be in another suburb, on another street, double-story, rendered walls, or have off-street parking. Trying to remember what each property had to offer and what was good and not so good about it may not be as easy as you think.

That’s why it’s important to go armed with a simple property inspection checklist that will help you outline what each property has and you can jot down some comments along the way. So over a period of weeks or even months, you’ll be able to remember what you liked and didn’t like about certain properties. After each property inspection, the process of knowing what to look for and getting closer to the “right” home should become easier.


When inspecting properties it is important to take a property inspection checklist with you, so that you can remain objective. Sometimes we can fall in love with a property based on the way it is decorated, music playing in the background, or the smell of baking biscuits – even though it doesn’t match our list of criteria. Keeping a property inspection checklist handy can help you avoid this trap.

Make sure you inspect the property more than just once (if possible); a rainy day is perfect as you will see if there are any leaks. Taking along a friend or family member is a good idea, as he or she may be able to spot problems that you do not see. When you have found a property you are really interested in, visit it at different times of the day/night and week so you can gauge traffic levels and noise levels.

The criteria for your property inspection checklist might include:

  • If buying a house, what is the property size and land size?
  • If buying a unit/townhouse, how many units are there in the complex?
  • What is the condition of the kitchen/bathroom?
  • Is there room to extend the house?
  • Are there any easements running through the property? (it might prevent a swimming pool being built)
  • Are the rooms big enough? (e.g. Will your king-size bed fit into the bedroom and will there be enough room for a wardrobe?)
  • What are the neighbours like? (You’ll never know for sure, but you can get an idea by looking at the way they maintain their gardens by peeping over the back fences!)
  • Is there room for expansion/scope to renovate?
  • What is the council zoning for the block? (that will impact what can and can’t be done to the land and the property)

You also need to look out for signs of damage in the property:

  • Are there any cracks in the walls (interior and exterior)? Cracks may indicate shifting foundations and costly underpinning work may be required.
  • If it is an old house and the carpet is lifting up in places, have a look at the state of the floorboards. You may see signs of mould, white ants, borers or other problems.
  • Is there a musty smell? (which may indicate rising damp or water damage)
  • Check the walls on the other side of the bathroom for signs of water damage/rotting wood.

This will give you an idea of the condition of the property, however, it does not replace getting it professionally inspected by a building and pest inspector.

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