PRD Canberra

"Evoque" U1/24 Girrahween Street, Braddon ACT

02 6262 5232

Important Things to Look for When Inspecting a Property to Buy

When inspecting a property, it’s easy to fall in love with freshly painted walls and professionally styled décor, but it’s important to look beneath the surface and be on the hunt for any potential downsides. Whether you’re a first home buyer, or looking around for a new family home, it always helps to know what to look for when buying a house. At PRD Nationwide, we have hundreds of property listings throughout Canberra, and we understand that buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions many of us will make. So what are some of the important things to look out for to save you from purchasing a potential money pit? Read ahead for our suggestions.

Large Cracks in the Walls

Inspect all internal and external walls to see if there are any large cracks. Properties with a large number of cracks greater than 2.0mm in width are cause for concern as it may indicate structural damage or movement in the property. A Canberra property with such cracks should be further inspected by a qualified building inspector. 

Mould and Dampness

Check for stains, water marks and paint damage on walls, skirting boards and ceilings. Open all cabinets to see if there is a smell of damp, mould or mildew. When preparing to sell, homeowners will sometimes paint over damp to hide it, so use your sense of smell. Any damp smells can be an indication of water leaks or even rising damp. Mould and damp is not only bad for your health, it can be an expensive exercise to get rid of it and keep it from coming back. If there’s mould in the bathroom, it’s usually a sign that there’s a ventilation problem that needs to be fixed.

Electrical Issues

Old-fashioned switches and sockets can be signs of old wiring that could need replacing. This might mean the whole house needs to be re-wired which can be expensive. Check that there are enough points in the right places and think about whether you’ll need to add more. Also make sure the fuse box is modern and meets safety requirements. If you have any doubts, ask a licenced electrician to inspect the wiring before you buy.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Canberra can be blisteringly hot in summer and freezing cold in winter so good heating and cooling is essential. Find out what systems are installed in the property – is there ducted heating and cooling? A split system? Gas or electric? Also inquire about the age of the units, whether they are in good working order and if they have been regularly serviced and maintained.


Turn on the taps in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Check the water pressure and see how long it takes for the hot water come through. In the bathroom check for broken surfaces, loose grout and cracked or lifting tiles which can all be signs of water damage. Check the external pipes for leaks and rust. Take a look outside for wet or muddy patches in the garden as this can indicate poor drainage.

Roof and Guttering

Look at the lines of the roof to check if they are straight and free from deflections. A sagging or undulating roof can be a sign of underlying structural issues. If the roof is tiled, checked or missing or cracked tiles which may be a sign of a leak. Check the gutters from their top side to see if they are corroded and in need of replacement. Look for leaks, rust, warps, holes and signs that the gutters overflow. Also do a quick walk around the external perimeter of the home to check that all roof downpipes are discharging into stormwater drains and not just onto the ground.

Signs of Pests

Look for signs of termite damage - sagging floors, springy floors and steps, as well as hollow-sounding beams, can all be an indication. Also check for signs of other pest trouble, such as rat or mousetraps or poisons. If you’re serious about buying a property, a professional pest inspection is a wise investment.

Other Notable Things to Check:

·       If the property has been recently renovated or extended, ask to see council approvals and be thorough when checking the workmanship

·       Check the general condition of the garden and consider how much work will be required to maintain or improve it.

·       If the property is overlooked by neighbouring houses or apartment buildings, it can affect your privacy and therefore the use of your outside spaces. If the neighbours can see in, consider if screens, fences or high-growing plants would be able to solve the problem. 

After you have inspected a property, it’s important to reflect on what you’ve discovered and note down your findings. That way you can estimate how much any repairs will cost and weigh up whether the costs outweigh the benefits of buying the property. PRD Nationwide are Canberra’s leading real estate experts. Browse our Canberra property listings today and if you need any advice on buying property or to inspect one of our properties contact our team today on (02) 6262 5232 or send us an enquiry online.