Top Tips for House Hunters

By Nick Reade Chief Executive Bank SA

Important things to consider before signing on the dotted line

 Buying a home is one of the most exciting times in our lives, but it’s also one of the most stressful.

From searching the online real estate listings and flicking through newspapers, to shortlisting properties and making appointments with agents, there’s no doubt that finding the home of our dreams is no easy feat.  And even once you think you’ve found it, there are mortgage repayments and building inspections to consider before signing on the dotted line. With interest rates still at record lows, first home buyers and investors are busy trying to firm-up their position in the market, so we’ve come up with our top tips to make the inspection process that little bit simpler.

Be thorough with pre-purchase inspections

Look out for cracks, watermarks and mould. Always get a building and pest inspection report, and a strata report (if required) from a qualified professional.

Consider the orientation of the property

North-facing homes are most popular as they guarantee good sun-lit rooms. Not only does this mean reduced electricity costs in winter, it generally means a better re-sale value.

Measure the bedrooms

It sounds obvious, but it’s important to consider whether the house has enough bedrooms for your needs both now and in the future. Are the bedrooms big enough? Are they in appropriate proximity to other things in the house? Will they suit a growing family?

Check the plumbing and ventilation of bathrooms

When it comes to plumbing and bathroom repairs, it’s generally a costly exercise. To save costs down the track, make sure the toilet flushes properly, the hot water system works and the water pressure is okay. Be sure to look closely for any signs of mould or dampness as a signal of any leaking pipes or drains.

Inspect the kitchen appliances

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to kitchen set up and appliances. Is the oven and cooktop gas, electric or induction? What appliances are included? Is there a dishwasher? Will the set-up of the kitchen match your needs in the longer term? Do all the appliances work?

Consider the parking, storage and security

Off-street parking is a big selling point for properties in inner-city suburbs, while carports to house numerous cars or garages to store your belongings are important for others. When inspecting a property, consider whether your cars will fit in the space provided, whether there is enough room to store your odds and ends, and how secure your house and your valuables will be.

Look for the heating and cooling systems

If you’re already forking out a considerable amount of money for the house, it’s unlikely you’ll want to be hit with enormous power bills once you move in. That’s why it’s always important to consider if the home’s heating and cooling systems are energy efficient and working properly.  You’ll also want to check that the house has insulation – as it will increase the effectiveness of the heating and cooling systems.

Check out the local neighbourhood

It’s easy to find a house that you may like if you’re not invested in the area that you want to live in. It’s important however to look at the big picture, think about what you need now and what you might need down the track. Are there local shops, schools and services nearby? Is it an area you feel safe in and a community you would like to be a part of?

Work out your finances before committing

Think about how you want to live your life before committing to a property that you can’t really afford. Speak to a lender to work out what your capabilities are and how you can best manage your budget and repayment options to live in the house you want while also maintaining a good quality of life.


Ultimately, finding the time to sit-down and consider exactly what it is you need in a property, at the same time as addressing some additional wants or luxuries, will help you on your way to finding a house that’s ideal for you.

BankSA has additional tools to help in the process. Visit or drop into a local branch.