- What is the zoning? Is it residential?
- Does the area have the amenities you need – shops, schools, transport, etc?
- Is the electricity, sewer connected?
- Are there any major developments going on in the area in the future – proposed motorway, shops, electricity corridor etc?
- Is it free from filling, excess seepage of water, steep grading, dense trees, loose boulders, etc? If you are considering extensions, an engineer’s report may be necessary to access the land.
- Is it free from landslips or is it within a geothermal zoning area? Check with your local council and if necessary obtain a geo-technical engineer’s report.
- Check the lawns for puddles as these can indicate poor drainage.
- Is the paintwork in good condition?
- Are the internal and external walls free from cracks & level?
- Are the roofing, guttering and down pipes in good condition?
- Is the building free from damp? Signs of damp, especially rising damp, are usually found around window sills, chimney-breasts, in ceilings and under floor coverings. Heavy condensation on windows can sometimes be a sign.
- Is the floor level and in sound condition? Using a marble is a good test for level floors. (An unlevel floor can indicate the need for foundation repair)
- Is the plaster in good condition?
- What sort of insulation do the walls and ceilings have?
- Does the house have good ventilation and natural lighting? Overgrown trees can cause dark and damp living areas.
- Turn on all the taps and check for water pressure, and that water drains away quickly.
- Turn on the lights to see if they are working. If they are not working, it may be just replacing the bulb or a more serious electrical problem.
- Check electrical wiring for condition. Many older properties were built with wiring which since install may show signs of degradation. Often power meter boards will be moved at time of repair. Always check with an electrician.
- Check number of power points and if they are suitably located.
- Establish exactly what is included in the price of the house – carpets, drapes, appliances, light fittings, etc.?
- Check that any appliances included are working: stove, air conditioning, heaters, and bathroom fans. If it has a fireplace, ask when it last had the chimney swept? If made of concrete does it show signs of cracking or does it have an internal chimney?
- Does the house have good storage?
- Will the house be expensive to maintain?
- Are doorways and passageways wide enough to move furniture through?
- EQC. Earthquake commission. Many types of council have requirements with regards to earthquake compliance. Factors to consider with earthquake compliance can be things such as multi level, age of building and construction type. Always check with your local council.
- What are the internal and exterior walls made of? Internal walls covered with scrim can be difficult to insure and be a hazard. Whilst exterior walls made of poorly constructed materials can leak or degrade quickly.
- Does the property require a warrant of fitness, fire sprinklers or council compliance certificates? Multi unit dwellings and boarding houses often require these types of regular safety checks and certification.
- Will the bedrooms be affected by light and noise – are they close to a street, to street lamps, stadiums, airports, etc.?
- Are the bedrooms located so they are reasonably free from living area noise? This is often important in flatting situations.
- Is there sufficient ventilation?
- Is there a wardrobe or storage space? Will bedroom furniture fit? Does the passageway and stair cases allow ample room to move furniture into and out of rooms.?
Bathroom and toilet
- Is there sufficient ventilation?
- Is there an extractor fan to remove steam?
- Is the shower recess or bathtub free from leaks and sealed soundly?
- Is there a power point?
- Are there towel rails, cupboards, mirror?
- Is the toilet in good condition and does it flush properly?
- Is the floor and lower levels of vanity units in good condition?
- Are there sufficient cupboards for storage, and adequate bench space for preparing and serving food?
- Do the cupboards open and shut properly and is there room to add more?
- What is the condition of the stove? Is there an exhaust fan? Try the elements to see if they work.
- Will a regular-size refrigerator, dishwasher and/or microwave fit?
- Is there sufficient lighting and ventilation?
Dining and Living Rooms
- Will the furniture fit?
- Is there room for an extended dining room table?
- Are there sufficient power points & internet outlets?
- Is there heating? What type – gas, electric – and is it expensive to run?
- Does it have a TV aerial & satellite antenna?
- Does it have a laundry tub?
- Is the hot water connected?
- Could a standard washing machine be installed without any problems?
- Is there room for a dryer?
- Does it have any cupboards or storage?
- Is there a floor waste (drain) or is the floor sufficiently graded so any overflow of waste can escape without causing damage?
- Are the paths and fences in good condition?
- Is there a garage or carport? If not, can one be put on?
- How much maintenance does the garden require? Tenants don’t tend to be good gardeners.
- Are the lawns easy to mow?
- Is there a place to store lawn mowers, bikes etc?
- Can the grounds be improved? Landscaping can be a cost effective way to add value. E.g. creating an outdoor entertaining area or deck.
- Is there a pool? If so, does it comply with safety standard regulations?
- Is there plenty of off street parking? Is there space to lay pavers to park on?
- Have you checked the boundaries and fences are located on the legal boundary?