The Complete DIY Building Inspection Checklist

Buying a house is a major financial commitment, so the last thing you want is to move in and then find a major problem that could be extremely costly to rectify and not have the budget to fix. Having professionals conduct building and pest inspections on every property you are interested in would also be an expensive exercise. One solution is to take the time and trouble to do a thorough DIY inspection of each property yourself using a building inspection checklist, eliminate the properties on your shortlist with the most obvious or potentially costly problems, then call in the professionals to do a full inspection of the property of your choice. 

Doing building checks yourself also has another advantage. Should you find flaws that you would be prepared to live with or can deal with in your budget, you are in a stronger position to negotiate the asking price downwards. 

Here’s a checklist to print out and take with you when you go to inspect a property. 

What to take along with you

A print-out of the checklist

Safety boots

Sturdy gloves

A good torch

Flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers

A power point tester (this can be purchased inexpensively from a hardware store)

A ladder (if the current homeowners don’t have one you can borrow) 

On the outside

If you can access the roof, take a look for broken or missing tiles, rust patches in tin or faded colour in concrete tiles that may indicate the need for new sealant. A sagging or undulating roof could be a red flag indicating underlying structural problems.

Check the guttering for rust, leaks and warping and that downpipes and drainage are in order.

Check all external plumbing for potential leaks or rust.

Ask if any asbestos has been used in the house and, if so, where. If you are planning renovations, asbestos can be very expensive to have removed professionally.  

Check for termite damage. This will most likely show up where timber touches the ground, e.g. the base of walls, pergolas and decking. 

Check all timber, such as veranda flooring, decks and window surrounds for signs of damp and wood rot. 

On the inside

Turn on each tap in the house to check the water pressure, water colour and drainage.

Check all walls and ceilings for mould, stains, water marks and any other signs of ventilation problems, damp or roof leaks.

Check for cracks in walls or doors that stick when you try to open them as these could be signs of subsidence or serious structural problems.

Check that all windows open and close properly and note any cracked or broken panes that will need replacing. If the windows have timber surrounds, then check these for wood rot.

Check that there are no problems with loose grout, cracked or lifting tiles that may indicate water damage in bathrooms.

Check the hot water service for leaks and rust and ask when it was last serviced.

Ask if the roof and walls are insulated and check in the roof cavity if possible.

Inspect all electrical switches and sockets and check all power points with your power point tester. 

Ask for permission to turn on any heating or cooling systems to check they are running well. 

Check over floors carefully and lift all rugs to check they are not hiding problems.

Around the house

Check any trees around the house and in neighbouring properties that could pose a danger and damage the property if they fell down or dropped large branches. 

Check if there are taps in the garden and their condition. 

Check the condition of all fences, gates and external structures such as sheds, carports, pergolas and garages. 

If the property includes a pool or spa, check for cracks or bulges in the bottom or sides, and inspect the filtration system, heating system and lighting. Check the condition of all surrounding paving or decking. 

Check for any wet or muddy patches in lawns that could indicate poor drainage. 

Once you have completed your inspection, go through your notes and consider your findings. What problems did you uncover? How much would they cost to fix? If the problems seem overwhelming then it could be best to move on. If you think the problems are fairly minor and you love the house and think it could be perfect for your needs, then it could be time to put in an offer in writing (citing that it is pending a full building and pest inspection by professionals). 

Taking the time and effort to carry out an inspection using the above DIY building inspection checklist is a great way to consider a property purchase in greater detail and allows you to take off the rose-coloured glasses and make a considered purchase rather than a purely emotional one. For further information about buying property, please speak to a local member of our team now. 

Posted by Administrator on 17/05/2017 at 3:59 PM | Categories:

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