Things to Look Out for in when Inspecting a Property to Buy

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Investing in real estate can be a lucrative endeavor, but it requires a keen eye and due diligence to ensure you make a sound investment. When viewing a property for potential investment, there are several crucial factors to consider beyond the aesthetic appeal. This guide will walk you through what to look out for, helping you make informed decisions and maximise your returns.

Location, Location, Location

Neighborhood Quality

The quality of the neighborhood significantly impacts the value of your investment. A property in a good location is more likely to appreciate in value and attract reliable tenants.


  • Crime Rates: Check local crime statistics. Lower crime rates typically indicate a safer, more desirable area.
  • Schools: Properties near good schools are often in higher demand, particularly for families.
  • Amenities: Proximity to parks, shops, restaurants, and public transport can increase a property’s attractiveness.

Future Developments

Investigate any planned developments in the area. Upcoming infrastructure projects, new businesses, or public transport upgrades can significantly boost property values.

Questions to Ask:

  • “Are there any planned infrastructure projects or new businesses in the area?”
  • “What are the local government’s future plans for this neighborhood?”

Property Condition

Structural Integrity

The structural integrity of a property is paramount. Look for signs of wear and tear that might indicate deeper issues.

Red Flags:

  • Cracks in Walls: Small cracks are common, but large or growing cracks can indicate foundation problems.
  • Damp and Mould: These can signal water damage or poor ventilation, which could lead to costly repairs.
  • Sagging Roof: A sagging roof may indicate structural issues or the need for significant repairs.

Check out “Why Get a Building and Pest Inspection? Everything You Need to Know

Maintenance and Upkeep

A well-maintained property is less likely to have hidden problems and may require less immediate investment.

Things to Check:

  • Roof and Gutters: Ensure they are in good condition and free from debris.
  • Paint and Finishes: Peeling paint or worn finishes can indicate neglect.
  • Garden and Exterior: A tidy garden and well-maintained exterior suggest the property has been cared for.

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Layout and Design

Functional Layout

A practical layout is crucial for tenant satisfaction and can affect rental yield.


  • Flow of Rooms: Ensure the layout makes sense and offers a good flow between living spaces.
  • Natural Light: Properties with ample natural light are more appealing and can save on energy costs.
  • Storage Space: Adequate storage is a key selling point for tenants.

Potential for Improvements

Look for properties with potential for value-adding improvements, such as renovations or extensions.

Questions to Ask:

  • “Are there opportunities to add value through renovations or extensions?”
  • “What is the local council’s stance on property modifications?”

Financial Aspects

Rental Yield

Calculate the potential rental yield to determine if the property is a viable investment.


  • Gross Rental Yield: (Annual Rental Income / Property Purchase Price) x 100
  • Net Rental Yield: (Annual Rental Income – Annual Expenses) / Property Purchase Price x 100

Capital Growth Potential

Evaluate the potential for the property to increase in value over time.

Check out “Investment Property Strategies: How to Grow Your Real Estate Portfolio

Factors to Consider:

  • Historical Price Trends: Research the area’s historical price growth.
  • Market Conditions: Assess current market conditions and forecasts.


Be aware of all potential expenses associated with the property.

Costs to Consider:

  • Stamp Duty: A significant upfront cost when purchasing property.
  • Maintenance Costs: Regular maintenance and unexpected repairs.
  • Property Management Fees: If you plan to use a property manager.
  • Insurance: Landlord insurance to cover potential risks.

Legal Considerations

Zoning and Permits

Ensure the property is correctly zoned for its intended use and check for any required permits.

Questions to Ask:

  • “Is the property zoned for residential, commercial, or mixed use?”
  • “Are there any restrictions or required permits for renovations?”

Title and Ownership

Verify the property’s title and ownership status to avoid legal complications.

Steps to Take:

  • Title Search: Conduct a title search to confirm the legal owner and any encumbrances.
  • Boundary Check: Ensure the property boundaries are clear and match the title deed.

Tenancy Agreements

If the property is already tenanted, review the existing tenancy agreements.


  • Lease Terms: Check the length and terms of existing leases.
  • Tenant History: Review the payment history and reliability of current tenants.

Market Analysis

Comparable Sales

Research recent sales of similar properties in the area to gauge the market value.

Steps to Take:

  • Property Listings: Check online listings for comparable properties.
  • Agent Insights: Speak to local real estate agents for their professional opinion.

Vacancy Rates

High vacancy rates can indicate oversupply or low demand, which can affect your rental income.

Questions to Ask:

  • “What is the current vacancy rate in this area?”
  • “How long do properties typically stay on the market?”

Economic Indicators

Economic factors can influence the property market. Keep an eye on local employment rates, population growth, and economic development.

Things to Monitor:

  • Employment Opportunities: Areas with strong job markets attract more residents.
  • Population Trends: Growing populations can increase demand for housing.
  • Local Economy: A diverse and robust local economy is a positive indicator.

“Get your Access to our Fully Customisable Investment Property Research and Analytics Tool Now!”

Personal Considerations

Investment Goals

Align the property with your investment goals, whether they are focused on capital growth, rental yield, or a balance of both.

Questions to Reflect On:

  • “What are my long-term investment goals?”
  • “Does this property align with my investment strategy?”

Risk Tolerance

Consider your risk tolerance when investing in real estate. Higher-risk properties may offer higher rewards but can also lead to greater losses.


  • Financial Stability: Ensure you have a financial buffer for unexpected costs.
  • Diversification: Avoid putting all your resources into one property or area.

Exit Strategy

Have a clear exit strategy in place. Know when and how you plan to sell the property or cash in on your investment.

Questions to Ask:

  • “What is my timeline for holding this property?”
  • “Under what circumstances would I consider selling?”

Final Thoughts

Investing in real estate requires thorough research and careful consideration. By focusing on these key areas—location, property condition, financial aspects, legal considerations, market analysis, and personal goals—you can make more informed decisions and increase your chances of a successful investment. Take your time, ask the right questions, and seek professional advice when needed. With the right approach, real estate can be a rewarding and profitable venture.

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