There are few purchases in life as significant as renting or buying a new apartment which is why it is so important to choose the right property that suits your lifestyle.
Apartment inspections can be a daunting experience, but with the right information, you will know exactly what to look for to ensure your new home is ready to move in.
To help you through this process Urban.com.au has arranged a checklist of ‘5 Things to look out for during an apartment inspection’ to help you secure an apartment that meets your standards with minimal stress.
Urban.com.au has also compiled a step by step checklist for house inspections.
The first thing you will notice during an apartment inspection is the floors.
Check to see if the floors are shining or mopped and/or if the carpet is clean, stained, missing any pieces or smells. Also look for any uneven or out of shape lines and bumps, especially on the edges where the floor meets the walls.
The next step is to inspect the walls, by checking out the paint jobs or wallpaper. Ensure that painted walls are consistent throughout the apartment as well as corners and window frames. The paint should not contain poisonous materials or be chipping.
Wood-panelled walls should not be loose or have rotten boards, and wallpaper should not be moulding or peeling off.
The walls should not be stained or have any holes, as it is required for previous tenants to fill any holes in the walls before moving out. You can also check under paintings and posters for anything the owners/previous tenants are trying to conceal.
It is also important to check for damaged baseboards and look for cracks on the internal wall plastering which could be due to poor application, as such damage can cause issues in the future.
Wall closets should be checked for mould and shelves should not be loose.
Apartment kitchens should be inspected for hygiene, damage and smell.
Although there may not be an initial smell in the kitchen, bad odours can be found in cabinets and drawers due to mould or poor ventilation.
In most apartments, stoves and ovens are electric rather than gas, therefore it is important to check that switch and burners ignite well. And that there is no wiring out of place.
Floors should be mopped in kitchens and bathrooms, and tiles should not be missing or popping out.
Water damage, drainage, sinks, toilets and showers should be check-in bathrooms during apartment inspections.
By running taps and showers you will be able to check the pressure, hot and cold temperatures and if your water is clean. Bathtubs should also be checked for cracks and faucet issues.
Under the sinks should be checked for mould and other smells.
Toilets should also be clean and hygienic, they should be easily flushed to check for any leaks and drainage.
Bathroom windows and door frames should have small holes which allow water to escape rather than penetrating the walls.
Apartments should always be inspected for fire safety hazards and prevention features such as opening windows and doors, access to safety exits, fire alarms and extinguishers.
Opening and closing windows is a good way to check for draughts, leaks and broken glass. The windows should also have clean screens and glass free of mould and mildew. Blinds should also be checked as well.
Fires spread quickly through the roofs of apartments and so fire alarms, the best way to prevent them should be installed in each room, kitchen, and hallways. Fire alarms should be checked and refreshed with new batteries once you move in. You may also purchase a fire extinguisher or blanket for your apartment.
The electricity in an apartment should be checked during an apartment inspection. You can do this by flicking switches on and off for lights and electrical items. You may also want to try to charge your phone for a moment in an outlet.
Fuse boxes should be checked to ensure they are not overloaded.
Appliances such as air conditioners, dishwashers, kitchen stoves, water heaters, washing machines and dryers, and any other appliances included in the apartment should all be checked for damage prior to purchase.
The last part of an apartment inspection should be for insects and rodent droppings. Although this may seem disgusting, it is necessary to ensure the apartment is free of pests before you move in. You may want to bring your own torch to check the gaps in walls, ceilings, near the bathtub, plumbing, utility wires, kitchen stove and cabinets.
A typical apartment inspection will only last between 10-20 minutes, and will most likely have an agent present. It is important to keep a note of the above areas mentioned during your inspection and ask the real estate agent if you have any inquiries.
If you do encounter any issues with the inspection and have the time, you may be within your rights to ask that it is rectified, as all properties need to pass an inspection before they are sold.
If a seller refuses to address non-structural issues, you may request a lower price for the property, as you will have to spend an additional sum to repair the damage yourself.
This method of decreasing the price may not always work, as in a competitive market, another buyer may be willing to purchase the property and deal with the repairs themselves, thus becoming a more attractive sale for the seller.
Whilst it is the responsibility of property inspectors to investigate whether a property is safe and suitable for inhabitants, they usually work off visual cues such as flooring issues.
Inspectors do not check for termites, site contamination and asbestos or inspect inside walls, pipes, sewer lines, chimneys, and behind electrical panels.