10 home inspection tips
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Top 10 open home inspection tips

Owen Thomson takes us through some key tips for checking out properties at an open house.

1. Check for fresh paint

While a fresh coat here and there could have been added simply for presentation purposes, it could also be a sign that cracks caused by house movement have been disguised.

2. Open and close

Move any sliding or hanging windows up and down. Windows that fail to open and shut properly could also be a sign that the house has undergone movement.

10 home inspection tips

Photo by Tim Bradley

3. Test the pressure

Turn the taps on to ensure that the water pressure is adequate. If it’s below par, expect to have to pay extra to have the home re-plumbed if you end up securing it.

10 home inspection tips

Photo by Tim Bradley

4. Check the electricity meter

Make sure the home is equipped with a newer model complete with appropriate trip switches. A lot of older houses won’t have them, so bear in mind that this could also be an extra expense.

5. Sniff out any problems

Try and ascertain the presence of musty odors that could be an indication of rising damp or dry rot. Bear in mind that any plug-in smell deodorisers being used by the vendor could be intended to mask the problem.

6. Focus and fire safety

If the property shares a roof with another property, make sure the common roofline is fire rated. This will ensure that all adjoining properties won’t go up in smoke if one catches fire.

7. Be aware of the acoustics

Make sure that any shared walls are sound rated and that you’re not getting any noise bleeding through from the other side.

8. Ensure floor integrity

Look for any signs of unevenness or movement in the floor when you walk on it. Also ensure that beams and joists are in good order, especially in older houses.

10 home inspection tips

Photo by Tim Bradley

9. Apply the tape measure

Don’t rely on real estate agents’ room measurements – always take your own. If you’re planning on transplanting your existing furniture, you’ll need to know if it all fits.

10 home inspection tips

Photo by Tim Bradley

10. Ascertain water vulnerability

Take careful note of where the house sits. Is it on top of a hill or in the base of a valley or ravine? Is it on a flood plain? In short: is it vulnerable to a major rain or flood event?

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Owen Thomson

A regular contributor to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age for over a decade (sections include Good Weekend, Sunday Life, (Sydney) Magazine, Drive and My Career), Owen Thomson's journalistic work has also featured in newsstand publications including The Bulletin, GQ and Men’s Style.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.