7 Signs a property isn’t what you’re looking for

Don’t buy with your ‘rose coloured glasses’ on

By David Cairns

When you want to buy your home, it’s important to remember that it’s a very emotional decision. You want to see the property, both inside and out, and think ‘this is my home’.

With that in mind, here are 7 things red flags that you should look out for:

  1. 1. Structural issues

Check that the walls are in good order, and that there are no obvious cracks or damage. Check if the property has had a building and pest inspection. Wooden retaining walls require special attention, as this can be a nightmare with the council and neighbours.

2. General clutter

It’s important to consider a property’s staging, and the effort the seller is to present it in its best light. Some people over-cram properties or have old-looking furniture; try to see a home’s layout practically.

3. Irregular sinking fund

If considering a unit or apartment, make sure there’s a healthy rainy-day fund available. An empty fund is a definite warning sign. It suggests recent damage or mismanagement.

4. Water damage

Making sure a property is well irrigated is important; water damage from that once-in-a-blue-moon storm can be disastrous. Rain inundation is a rare occurrence, maybe once every several years. Do your research.

5. Poor sales history

Sometimes a house simply doesn’t sell, for whatever reason. Do some further research to find out why. Check out the neighbours, or other developments, or anything else wrong with the house or area. Having said that, don’t be discouraged by a bad sales ad. It might just mean that the house is poorly marketed. Unless there’s something you really don’t like, it might be worth checking out the property in person in case you find a hidden gem.

6. Vacant block next door

A classic cause for pause, it can be very uncertain to see a vacant lot next door. Sometimes it’s impossible to know what will be built next to you. It could be a huge apartment block. Check with the council and the area’s zoning.

7. Bad street appeal

There’s actually real value in assessing a home from the car. Sometimes the street or layout is impossible to fix and comes with the home. Get a feel from the house from the minute you see it.

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