HOME > BLOG > Buying and Selling > Signs your property could be a lemon

It may be difficult to find a property that is 100% perfect; however, there are big problems that you should look out for before signing the contract.

A lot of these problems can be found by a building and pest inspector, but there are also certain things you can look for when you go to the open house inspection.

Exterior of House

While you are looking around outside the property, make sure you inspect both the landscape and building structure.

Landscape: It is important to assess the landscape from both a maintenance and safety point of view. Are there a lot of small bushes that would require regularly trimming? How big is the lawn area?

In regards to safety, if the house is in a bushfire prone area, make sure you check how close the trees and bushes are to the house. If there are large trees that hang over the house, it could be a safety risk if there is a storm or bushfire.

Roof: Check to make sure the roof isn’t uneven or sagging as this could be a sign of termite damage. Also, if the gutters are rusty, they will definitely need to be repaired.

Foundation:  Foundation problems usually occur in older homes, however you should still keep an eye out for them even if the house is new. Foundation cracks occur if the property is poorly built or engineered. Make sure to look for large horizontal cracks in the walls. If you can fit a screwdriver in it, it is a good sign that there might be a foundation problem.

Interior of House

Many home buyers focus on the appearance of the property and forget to look at the functionality.

Doors and Windows:  When you are looking around the house, test all of the windows and doors to ensure they open and close easily. If they don’t, it could be a sign of a foundation problem, so make sure you speak to the agent about it.

Kitchen & Bathroom: Even if you are planning to renovate the kitchen, you should still check that it is in a good condition. Take a look at all of the cupboards and floors for signs of water damage or rot. Also ensure that all of the plumbing is sealed sufficiently and there are no signs of moisture or dampness. Another important factor to check is the refrigerator space. It could be extremely frustrating if you purchase the house only to find out on moving day that your fridge doesn’t fit.

Mould and water stains: If you find water stains and mould, it means one thing – water has gone where it shouldn’t have and if this problem is left for a long time, it will be an extremely costly repair bill. When you are walking through the home, check the walls and ceilings for water stains and mould, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen. Also pay attention to any mouldy smells.

Even though you should get a professional building and pest inspector to look at the property before signing the contract, it is also a good idea to have a look yourself so you can make your own judgement on the property’s condition.