When you’re buying a house, there’s no substitute for a pre-purchase home inspection report from a certified professional. But performing your own inspection before you buy a house is a great way to ensure you spend your time – and money – on the right property. 

While a pre-purchase inspection report will list most fixtures and detail the current state of the property’s structural and decorative features, there are a range of other important items which are not included in the report, including termites, plumbing and carpeting. Knowing what to look for will mean you get everything covered before purchasing, and save you from potentially huge maintenance, repair or renovation costs.

Here are some tips on what to look for when buying a house from our team of professional property inspectors.

DIY house inspection checklist

To start with, we recommend you divide your inspection tasks into two main areas: inside and outside of the property, including the surrounding area. We’ll be providing tips on what to look for outside of the property in another article. 

Create a DIY inspection checklist using our tips below and tick off each item as you go.

What to look for when buying a house: Inside the property

  • Water pressure and plumbing. To check the water pressure, turn on all the taps in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry and see how strong the flow is. You should also look for muddy, unclear water – a sign of plumbing issues – and that the water drains well and doesn’t pool and overflow.


  • Water damage. Check the walls for brownish stains, watermarks, bubbling of paint or a generally sponge-like appearance. These are key signs of water damage.


  • Mould and mildew. Areas with poor ventilation and water access are more vulnerable to mould and mildew, which can be expensive to remedy. Examine areas near water outlets or in areas that get damp, such as the bathroom.


  • Walls, ceilings and floors. Check for wall and ceiling cracks, which are a sign of the structure’s movement and subsidence – are expensive issues to repair. Run your hands over the walls to check for cracks hidden beneath paint – especially new paint. Check for fractured enamel, uneven or cracked tiles, and broken surfaces.


  • Room layout and power plugs. Check that there are sufficient power stations and that they’re conveniently located. Consider where your furniture will go and if it will fit within the current layout.


  • Signs of electrical damage. Old switches, sockets and wiring will need to be replaced, so check what state they’re in. Check all the lights – lights that don’t work can be a sign of electrical damage. Ask about the property’s cooling systems – how old they are, and how recent any maintenance work on them was.
Termites are a common pest control issue seen by people when buying a house. Always look for signs of pest infestation during inspection.

Weatherboards damaged by termite infestation.


  • Signs of pest infestations. Look for mice holes – which can be as small as a fingertip – and any signs of rat poison. Check the density and surfaces of floors, steps and any wooden fixtures by knocking on them – if they’re hollow, there may be a termite infestation. Look for missing fibres from the carpets or places where the underlying thread is exposed – silverfish eat carpets as well as a range of household items that contain starch and adhesives, such as book bindings, wallpaper glue and plaster.


Once you’ve done these checks, it’s time to arrange a pre-purchase home inspection report from a professional. This report will set out, without any room for error, exactly what state the property and all its fixtures are in, and will become an important tool to help you decide if the house is worth buying or not.

So, if you’re buying a house, don’t leave important details to chance. If you’re ready to arrange your pre-purchase inspection report, contact us today.