Property purchase checklist

When you’re thinking of buying, your requirements will vary depending on your personal circumstances and on the sort of property that will suit your lifestyle. You may be looking for a family home, a holiday home, an investment property, a “tree change” or “sea change” property. Once you have found the property of your dreams, you may want to pause for a while and reflect before you sign on the dotted line. Does the property fit your wants and needs?Consider the following checklist:

  • Does the neighbourhood suit?
  • Is the house sound? If you have any doubts; hire a building and pest inspector to check.
  • Is it in an area likely to hold resale value or benefit from capital growth?
  • Are there any long-term costs or issues, eg body corporate fees, jointly owned driveways?
  • What type of Title is the property? Is it Torrens Title, Company Title, Strata Title etc. Ask your solicitor to advise on what these different Titles mean.
  • Does the entire house, including alterations, have the required Council permits?
  • Is it built for the climate, eg warm in winter, cool in summer? Is it insulated?
  • Have you asked your local council about planning issues, eg the possibility of any big developments or new roads nearby?
  • Are big changes needed to make the property comfortable? If so, you might want to get a good idea of costs before you make an offer.
  • Are the house and land suitable for the purpose?

Then think about the details of the property:

  • Does the house have enough bedrooms?
  • Are you happy with the garden – or its potential?
  • Will you have good access to the facilities you need? eg schools, doctor, shops.
  • Are there enough bathrooms?
  • Is there enough garage space? Is the garage accessible from inside the house?
  • Will you have problems with traffic or noise?
  • Is the kitchen serviceable?
  • Is it safe for your family, eg children, the elderly or disabled?
  • Is it suitable for pets?
  • Are you happy with the building’s security?
  • Check under the house – is it dry?
  • Is the block well drained?

For holiday properties, “sea change” or “tree change” properties, many of the questions will be the same as above but if you are buying in a rural area, you may wish to consider other practical issues, such as:

  • Is there a good water supply?
  • Is there any risk of flooding or erosion?
  • How much maintenance work will you need to do – or pay someone else to do?
  • Are you likely to be bothered by nearby farming or orchard work?
  • Are there any industries in the area that could affect you?
  • Will you still have easy access to your family, friends, work and recreation?