Property knowledge series: What to look out for when buying a property

  1. Here are some considerations when buying a property and what you should look out for:
    1. Location – This is always important. Is it close to schools, public transport, shopping centres, CBD? At the same time, you don’t want your property to be located on a busy intersection otherwise it can make the logistics of getting in and out of the property very difficult. Also consider the demographics of the suburb. Is it in decline or is it trending and growing?
    2. Land size – nowadays new developments are being built on smaller parcels of land. While it means less maintenance, it can also mean less backyard space. Historically, properties on larger land sizes appreciated faster in value than properties on smaller land size.
    3. Building structure- Brick and tile is the best. Weatherboard is generally a safe choice. Plaster cladding and monolithic cladding have some more risk but if you have to go that way, make sure you get a building report.
    4. The layout of the property is also important. Does it have an internal garage or covered car parking? Are the bedrooms large enough? Are their adequate bathrooms? I once saw a house that had 5 bedrooms but only one bathroom. It was originally a three bedroom house but the previous owner had added 2 more bedrooms but did not add another bathroom. This can be a very awkward layout and configuration.
    5. Have a look at the roof and ceiling. If you notice the ceiling sagging, it could mean that there may be a water leak in the roof which would be expensive to fix if there is water damage in the ceiling.
    6. Beware of properties being sold “as is”. Usually there are some hidden problems such as weathertightness issues or structural problems or the property would need a lot of work.
    7. Beware of properties on unstable ground. Aside from the insurance costs, it may be difficult to fix.
    8. Beware of unconsented works on the property. These types of properties are usually sold “as is” and the vendor will usually declare there are unconsented works and that the prospective purchaser will be purchasing “as is”. This is undesirable unless you have some experience and with dealing with councils and enough funds to get the unconsented work up to Council’s standard.


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