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Real estate tips for home inspections

15 Aug 13

When you're about to buy something of considerable value, it's important to take a good long look at it beforehand to make sure you don't end up with a very expensive problem on your hands.

For something like a car, the process is relatively straightforward - you kick a few tyres, take it for a test drive and get a mechanic to check out the nuts and bolts.

However, when the item you're buying is a half-a-million-dollar house, it pays to do thorough assessment of the building, both inside and out, before you sign anything.

Of course, it is crucial to take simple real estate advice and get a professional to compile an inspection report before you buy any house, but here are some warning signs you can look out for yourself to identify major problems:

Roof

If you see cracks, loose tiles, flaky paint or rusted guttering, these should immediately bring up red flags.

Also check the ceilings when you're inside the house - do they appear to be sagging?

These signs could indicate that the roof may need replacing soon, which is not a cost you want to be burdened with just as you move in.

Walls

Have a look at the walls from both the inside and the outside. Do you see any cracks or peeling paint?

The type of wall the house has, for example weatherboard or plaster, can affect its durability, so ask your real estate agent if you're not sure.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be one of the most problematic areas in a house, due to the plumbing and varying temperatures involved.

Try out every tap and flush the toilet to check that there are no issues.

Also have a look for mould and mildew, which can be a sign of poor ventilation.

Electrical

Inspect the main electrical components of the house, including the main panel and meter, to make sure that everything is in order - are there any loose wires or switches?

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