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Your step-by-step guide to home inspections


Make sure your dream home doesn’t turn into an expensive nightmare. With this house inspection checklist as your guide, you’ll have a better idea of what to look out for as you house hunt your heart out.

Do a pre-inspection check

Before you even look at a property, it’s important to think about whether the location ticks all your boxes. Checking out the neighbourhood is something you can do before a home inspection and can help you determine whether or not the property remains on your shortlist. You might even want to check out the neighbourhood at different times of the day to get a good idea of what living there might be like.

Depending on what your priorities are, whether it’s schools, supermarkets or solitude, here are a list of things you might want to consider.

  • Is the property close to schools, supermarkets, parks and other amenities?
  • Is public transport easily accessible?
  • Is there sufficient parking?
  • Is there heavy street traffic?
  • Is there a lot of noise in the neighbourhood?
  • Is the area prone to flooding?

Make the most of a home inspection

If you’re serious about buying a property, a home inspection is your chance to try to avoid any potential issues that could cost you down the track. It can be daunting if you’re unsure what to look out for but don’t worry, our step-by-step guide to home inspections will help give you the confidence to make an offer on the right property for you.

For a more detailed, room-by-room guide that you can print and bring with you, download the ANZ House Inspection Checklist (PDF).

Set out below are five areas where there could be potential issues with a property and some things you may want to look out for.

1. General appearance


  • Check if there’s damage to the walls, roof, windows, porch or decking
  • Is the fence in good condition? 
  • Are the railings and handrails sturdy? 
  • Does the roof have any cracked or missing tiles?
  • Are any extensions or external structures, such as sheds or carports, built well? Were these approved by the council? Ask to see the building permits
  • If there’s a pool, make sure there’s no damage to the pool or the surrounding paving. Also check the filtration, heating and see if the fence meets council regulations. 

Landscaping and trees

  • Is the garden well-maintained?
  • Are there any large trees on the property or on the neighbour’s property that might damage the house or power lines if they were to fall? 
  • Are there any large trees that you would like to remove? Some trees may be protected and you might need council approval and an arborist.


  • Check the plaster on walls for hairline cracks
  • Are the kitchen cabinets and benchtop in good condition?
  • Are wardrobes, cupboards and other built-ins in good condition?
  • Are there flyscreens where needed and are any damaged?
  • Check carpets for wear and tear
  • Check bathrooms for damaged fixtures or broken surfaces
  • Look for signs of pest trouble, such as traps, poison, blisters or bubbles on the paintwork, springy floors and hollow-sounding beams.

2. Structural

  • Check the roof line is straight with no deflections
  • Check if ceilings are sagging or uneven
  • Are there large cracks in the walls, both internal and external?
  • Do the walls look like they might be buckling?
  • Are the floors uneven, sloping or bouncy? Check the edges where the floor meets the wall
  • Check if the mortar between the brickwork is falling out
  • Is the foundation cracked, wet or leaning badly? You can get a foundation repair specialist to check it out
  • Do windows and doors open easily?
  • Check under carpet or rugs for rotting or damaged floorboards.

3. Water-related issues

Gutters and downpipes

  • Check external pipes for rust and leaks
  • Check gutters for rust, leaks and signs of overflow
  • Check that all the roof downpipes discharge into stormwater soak wells and not just into the ground.

Damp and mould

  • Check for water stains, water marks and paint damage
  • Check for mould especially in the bathrooms
  • Check ventilation in the bathroom
  • Open all cabinets in wet areas to see if there is any smell of damp, mould or mildew
  • Check floorboards for signs of rotting
  • Are there tiles that are cracked or lifting away from the wall or floor?
  • Is there any peeling paint or pools of water in wet areas?


  • Flush toilets and run all taps to check for leaks, drainage and water pressure
  • Does hot water come through quickly?
  • Look under the sinks to check the condition of the plumbing.

4. Electrical and appliances

  • Test all switches and power outlets to make sure they work
  • Check if switches are old-fashioned to get an idea of how old the electrical system is
  • Are there enough power points?
  • Make sure the fuse box is modern and meets safety requirements
  • Ask how old the hot water system is and check the service records
  • Check the heating system. The thermostat might give you an idea of when it was installed.

5. Liveability

A liveable home, or an energy efficient home, can deliver health, efficiency, comfort and connection to community. A liveable home  may save you money on power bills and even has the potential to earn you money if it has solar panels and you sell rooftop solar electricity back to the grid. If buying a liveable home is important to you, you might want to pay attention to these areas.

  • Does the property have an energy efficiency rating?
  • Does the orientation make the living area too hot or too cold?
  • Check the condition of insulation in the roof
  • Ask if walls are insulated
  • Are the windows double glazed? 
  • Check for draughts coming from closed windows and under floorboards
  • Are the appliances energy star rated to reduce energy bills? 
  • Are the shower heads, taps and toilets star rated to reduce water bills?
  • Are there solar panels?
  • Is there a rainwater tank and wastewater management system?

Note: The above checklist is not an exhaustive guide. You should consider your own enquiries and consider your own circumstances.

Call in the professionals

Before you make an offer on a property, consider a building and pest inspection.

Some of the issues with the property might be obvious enough for you to pick up but other issues can only be uncovered by a qualified building inspector, architect or surveyor. What’s more, you’ll get a detailed report of the property’s faults and estimated cost of repairs.

What to do if you find issues

If you’re buying an existing home, chances are you will find some issues with the property and some renovation and repair work is to be expected. 

Doing the proper checks before making an offer means having a clear idea of how much work is required and factoring that into your budget. If you don’t have the budget, you might decide to pass on a property. Or you might decide to negotiate the selling price based on the cost of repairs. You can also ask the seller to rectify the issues.

Take our checklist with you

The ANZ House Inspection Checklist  is a handy printable list that you can take with you on your next home inspection.

Download House Inspection Checklist (PDF)

Your step-by-step guide to home inspections
Home Loans Specialist

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