What to look for when buying a house?

How to secure finance when deciding to buy a home

What to look for when buying a house?

It’s the dream to own a home, and sooner or later the time will come to take the leap and begin your journey to home ownership. It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming at times and it’s extremely liberating!

You are about to embark on the biggest purchase of your life so naturally, there needs to be a significant amount of thought, planning and research. There is more to buying a home than just picking your favourite listing and moving in. It’s important that you understand what to look for when buying, what questions to ask and even hidden costs to prepare for.

As exciting as it may be to finally start viewing homes with your real estate agent (or by yourself), it’s not wrong focus on the size of the yard or kitchen, or square metres etc. However, there are other features to a home that may be even more important to take into consideration. A home is an investment and with any investment, you need to be sure that your investment is sound (cross your T’s and dot your I’s). In the case of home buying, you need to avoid properties/homes that have any major problems that may be costly to repair.

Things to look for at the home inspection

*Enlisting the services of a professional building inspector can save you money and headache in the long term.

Potential for flooding

Weather is unpredictable and severe weather events are a part of life here in Australia. It can’t always be avoided, but you CAN avoid being directly in its path. You might fall in love with a home close to water, that can seem like the ideal, but must do also need to consider the potential risks of this proximity. When doing your pre-purchase due diligence, a good idea would be to utilise council resources (and other resources) to check the potential flood risk of the area/home. This will save you from higher insurance costs and the costly repairs should flooding occur.


No home will be perfect and small repairs like a new paint job and light fixtures are not deal breakers. However, one such deal breaker is damage or problems with a house’s foundation. Foundation repairs are extremely costly (not ideal unless you have a limitless budget).

  • How to spot foundation problems include (but not limited to);
  • Look for sagging floors and ceilings
  • Test the doors and windows (if you notice many are harder to open and close, this could be due to foundation)
  • Look for signs of bowed walls (this is a sign that the foundation has shifted or is shifting) Check for cracks in the wall and/or floor

It’s ok to love the house, but do you know what lies beneath? To really know what state the house is in, you need to look deeper (literally). Problems with plumbing are not exactly the easiest to fix and for this reason, should be at the top of your list to properly inspect.

What to check;

  • Sanitary and storm sewer (camera inspections can be done)
  • Water meter and valves
  • Water heater inspection
  • Faucets, sinks, and toilets Septic system (if applicable)

Pay attention to the roof when you inspect a roof and be sure to ask about its age. A roof may look fine from the ground but you can only be sure once a thorough inspection is conducted. Getting a roof inspection will cost far less than having to repair (or replace a roof).

  • Roof issues to look out for can include (but are not limited to);
  • Structural issues (deflections in the roof lines)
  • Improper installed gutters
  • Check for rust on gutters
  • Check that downpipes run to stormwater drains
Mould, water damage

Look for signs of water damage, this can display as discoloured walls, ceiling and floors. Take a peek inside cupboards for signs of mould growing around pipes. Mould can look harmless when cleaned, but these should set your alarm bells off. Mould occurs when moisture can’t dry properly is actually bad for your health and can aggravate respiratory issues. Moreover, it could be present as a result of a bigger problem (mould could be growing behind the walls – plumbing issues)

As exciting buying a house is, don’t get caught up in the excitement and forget your due diligence. Thinking ahead and performing the proper inspections can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

If you are looking to buy your dream home, take the first step today and contact us here at First Step Homes.

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