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Red Flags to Watch Out for When Buying a Brisbane Property

Purchasing an Investment Property in Brisbane? Read This!

Climbing the Brisbane property ladder is all about being prepared to get yourself a “good one”. Most investment properties are flawed in some way; it would be unreasonable to expect perfection. However, it is important to differentiate minor defects from more serious issues that could hurt your bank balance in the long run. If you’ve never seen the movie Money Pit, don’t watch it before you start looking! Arranging your family finances and purchasing an investment property in Brisbane is not just about location, location, location – it’s about recognising which items on your Brisbane building and pest inspection report are signs of big costs to come.

Property inspection checklist

A professional home inspection is usually performed before the finalisation of a sale. The findings of the inspection can help you to decide whether to proceed with the purchase of your investment property, as well as any negotiations you may wish to make regarding repairs.

After the inspection is carried out, you will have the opportunity to review the report and ask questions. A property inspector should be able to identify and explain to you the extent of damage, and how minor or major the associated costs are likely to be to fix it. Some items on your property inspection list can be overlooked, some you’ll need to put aside some repairs money before you’ll be able to put it on the rental market.

The Brisbane Property Inspection Red Flag List

  • Termites – Much more than just a household pest, a termite problem has the potential to wreak havoc on your home, not to mention your budget! Ensure you book both a building and pest inspection. If there is minimal termite damage, be sure to get information on preventing further damage, repairs and avoiding re-infestations. Termites like warm humid places, so Brisbane is their favourite place to nest!
  • Built in Appliances – How old are the built-in appliances in the house? Are they showing signs of damage or rust? Older appliances may prove difficult to source parts for and need total replacement down the track. Any appliance that is “built in” will usually be included in the sale. Dishwashers, ovens stoves can be especially costly to replace as there may need to be electrical and plumbing work done. There’s also the issue of space – if dishwashers and ovens have been set in a custom space, be sure that there are still models on the market similarly sized.
  • Foundations Walls – Depending on the size, cracks in the load bearing and external walls could signal a structural problem that may be costly to repair. Fine cracks down internal walls can often be easily repaired and are usually the result of shrinkage. Cracks to supporting walls can mean serious costs to repair. Cracks in footings or “concrete cancer” could be a sign that water has penetrated the footings of the home contributing to deterioration. This is a very expensive problem to fix.
  •  Kitchen and bathroom – the two most expensive renovations in an investment property are the kitchen and bathroom. Tired kitchens and bathrooms not only reduce the potential renting income but can make the whole home “feel shabby”. It’s smarter to buy a home with a modern kitchen and bathroom because tatty bedrooms can usually be fixed with a coat of paint or a floor polisher.
  • Sewage – A potentially large expense, it’s worth ensuring the sewage is running smoothly before proceeding with your investment property purchase. Look for signs of crude temporary repairs, potential blockages such as large, deeply rooted trees that sit on the pipe line, or evidence of past “issues” around drainage points. Just because a toilet flushes fine at inspection, doesn’t mean everything is OK. If in doubt, get a reputable Brisbane plumber to take a look!
  • Mould – Commonly found in areas without adequate ventilation (such as bathrooms), mould can sometimes signal a more serious issue. Previous water damage from roof leaks or plumbing issues can sometimes leave evidence with mould in plasterboard, wall and ceiling linings. It can also indicate rising damp or issues with water getting into insulation. Mould can be highly toxic to breath so it’s worth checking. Remember that the seller could have done a quick clean up or paint job before selling, so be sure your inspector looks for signs beyond spots on the ceilings or walls.
  • Extensions – If an extension is older than six years, it may not be covered by any remaining building warranty. Fixing a poorly built or un-approved extension (including extra bedrooms, enclosed patios, built in spaces downstairs etc) can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Standard conveyancing services do not cover Council checks on extensions. The right building and pest inspection company will check that extensions comply with Council and building regulations.

House inspections for new Brisbane homes

Did you know new homes need inspecting too? Unlike their older counterparts, new homes haven’t undergone previous inspections and are still open to structural and mechanical imperfections. If you’re considering a new home for your investment property, be sure to follow the same checks as you would with any other home. With the help of a qualified home inspector, you can avoid the pitfalls of unexpected expenses when purchasing your investment property.

Just for fun: Discover the numerology behind house numbers to see if your home is lucky!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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