Advice and learnings

Avoid Buyer’s Remorse – 5 Things To Look At Before Making An Offer On That “Perfect” Property


So you think you’ve found your dream home? After months of searching, you seem to have stumbled upon a property that ticks all your boxes. You’re just about ready to sign on the dotted line …

Buyer beware! When you think you’ve found the perfect place, the temptation to jump in with an offer is great, but watch out – a recent Me Bank survey discovered that 58 percent of Aussie house hunters spent less than an hour viewing a property that they eventually bought.

More than a quarter of buyers discover problems that make them wish they spent more time looking at the property, and comparing with others.

Problems included:

  • Construction quality
  • Gardens and fences
  • Paintwork
  • Fittings and channels

Buyers are taking a massive risk if they immediately act on that gut reaction on that property they’ve fallen in love with. Rose-coloured glasses can obscure issues that may represent pain and money down the road.

The good news is that these problems can be foreseen with the help of expert opinion and basic due diligence. The following is a checklist of things to look for when you’re inspecting that property that you think might be the one, but first:

Consult a professional

plans and swatches

Hiring a trusted property inspector is an investment that pays off in terms of peace of mind. Says Brett White, director of Inspect East in Melbourne:

“Most people would never dream of buying a used car without getting a mechanic or a RACV check. Having a building inspection done by an experienced building inspector, even on a new-build home, should be one of the highest priorities for a buyer because it will assist in making an informed purchase decision.”

Buying a home will probably be the most important purchase of your life – make sure you do your homework.

Things to Check

Grounds and Boundaries

Water issues can be a nightmare, now or in years to come. The condition of surrounding trees and shrubs can be a good sign. Look at retaining walls. Check for standing puddles.

Look at surrounding structures; pathways and driveways, garages and garden sheds. There should be no cracking or structural problems.

Check out the boundaries – fence and railings structure and quality.


The most essential part of any building, the foundation must be tip-top. Ensure that everything is sound – the sides must be straight, the windows and door frames must be square.

Problems with the foundation can be discovered by a thorough interior inspection.


The last thing you want is a shower in your living room. A comprehensive property inspection includes checks for signs of rain leakage. The inspector will also ensure there is no damage to electrical wiring, chimneys and other external structures, and that ventilation is adequate.

splitting timber

Many interior checks you can spot yourself. Look up: stained ceilings may be a sign of water problems. Open all the cupboards. Make sure you look closely at the paint job – turn on the lights! A professional can examine the walls and flooring for more subtle signs of water damage and mould.

Plumbing and Bathrooms

More that you can do yourself that many people forget – flush the toilets, turn on the taps and showers. Inspectors can check piping, water pressure and water heaters.

Knowing what to look for before you make that most crucial purchase will mitigate the risk of paying for problems occurring down the road. Don’t make your pride and joy a pit of drama and expense – getting a full and thorough property inspection may be the key to making sure your dream doesn’t become a nightmare.

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