Pre-purchase Home Checklist: Adelaide Buyers’ Guide to Essential Inspections

home property inspection checklist

Purchasing a home in Adelaide requires careful consideration and meticulous examination of various factors to ensure that the investment is sound and future-proof. Potential homebuyers are advised to conduct a thorough pre-purchase checklist to identify any issues that may affect both the liveability and the resale value of the property. This examination spans structural integrity, pest infestations, and compliance with local building codes.

A key element of the pre-purchase process is the scrutiny of the property’s condition, including checks for damp, structural damage, and the state of the roof and foundations. Additionally, it’s essential for buyers to review the electrical systems, plumbing, and any appliances included in the sale. The local environment and neighbourhood amenities also play a significant role in the decision-making process, influencing the quality of life for potential buyers.

It’s advisable for buyers to consult with professionals who can carry out detailed building inspections and provide comprehensive reports on the property’s condition.

Assessing structural integrity is essential when considering purchasing a home in Adelaide. Prospective buyers should pay close attention to the foundation, walls, roof, ceiling, doors, and windows, as these elements are crucial for the safety and longevity of the property.

Foundation and Walls

house structural damage

Inspect the foundation for any cracks or shifts that could indicate ground movement or settling issues. Walls should be examined for vertical and horizontal cracks, dampness, or bowing.

Visual indicators of concern:

  • Cracks wider than 5mm
  • Signs of water damage or moisture

Roof and Ceiling

roof mortar cracks

A thorough inspection of the roof includes checking for missing, broken, or loose tiles and assessing the condition of the flashing and guttering. The ceiling should be free from cracks or water stains that could suggest leaks or structural strain.

Essential points to inspect:

  • Structural beams for sagging or strain
  • Evidence of leaks, such as water stains or mould

Doors and Windows

All doors and windows should open and close smoothly, indicating proper alignment with the frame. Any noticeable gaps or drafts could point to warping or foundation issues.

Checklist for functionality:

  • Locks and seals in good working order
  • Frames without cracks or rot

Internal Systems

Before purchasing a home in Adelaide, buyers should carry out a comprehensive assessment of the internal systems, which includes evaluating the electrical wiring, checking the plumbing and water supply, and ensuring the heating and cooling systems are in good working order.

Electrical Wiring

Buyers should inspect the electrical wiring for compliance with Australian Standards (AS/NZS 3000:2018). Key inspections include checking for visibly damaged wires, ensuring that power points and light switches are functioning, and confirming that the electrical box has safety switches installed.

  • Visible Wiring: Look for exposed wires or signs of wear and tear.
  • Functionality: Test all power points and light switches.
  • Safety Features: Check the electrical box for the presence of safety switches.

Plumbing and Water Supply

The state of the plumbing system is crucial to a property’s functionality. Buyers should look for any leaks, water damage, or corrosion in pipes. They must also test water pressure and ensure hot water systems are in operational condition.

roof leak
  • Leaks: Examine under sinks, around toilets, and near appliances for wet spots or drips.
  • Water Pressure: Turn on taps to gauge if water pressure is consistent.
  • Hot Water System: Confirm age and last maintenance date; it should deliver adequately hot water during testing.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Heating and cooling systems are vital for comfort; therefore, checking their efficiency and maintenance history is essential. Systems should be tested to confirm they operate effectively and efficiently across all settings.

  • Operation: Activate the heating and cooling system to ensure it reaches desired temperatures.
  • Maintenance Records: Look for documentation of regular professional servicing.

Interior Condition

When inspecting the interior condition of a home in Adelaide, prospective buyers should pay close attention to the state of floors, wall finishes, and the fit-outs in the kitchen and bathroom. These areas can be indicative of the overall maintenance and can involve significant cost if refurbishment is required.

Floors and Floor Coverings

It is vital to inspect all floor surfaces for signs of wear, damage, or movement. Adelaide buyers should:

  • Look for any unevenness in flooring which may suggest subsidence or poor installation.
  • Check carpets for wear, staining, and odour that could require replacement.
  • Examine tiles and hardwood for cracks, chips, or discolouration.

Paint and Wall Finishes

The condition of paint and wall finishes can reveal past water damage or neglect. During an inspection:

  • Observe walls for cracks, mould, and peeling paint.
  • Consider the need for repainting, which might reflect in the negotiation of the price.

Kitchen and Bathroom Fit-Out

These areas are subject to moisture and heavy use, making them critical to inspect thoroughly. For both kitchen and bathroom, potential buyers should check:

  • Cabinets and drawers for functionality and signs of water damage.
  • Benchtops for scratches, cuts, or burn marks.
  • Fittings and fixtures including taps, showerheads, and toilets for their condition and operational efficiency.
  • The presence of silicone sealant around sinks and bathtubs, ensuring it’s intact and mould-free.

Safety and Security

smoke detector activated

When inspecting a home in Adelaide, potential buyers should thoroughly assess the safety and security features. These checks are crucial for ensuring a safe living environment.

Locks and Alarms

Buyers ought to examine all exterior doors for sturdy, functioning locks. It’s advisable to check for both deadbolts and window locks, as they provide an added layer of security.

  • Deadbolt Quality: Ensure deadbolts are in good condition and properly installed.
  • Window Locks: All accessible windows should have secure locks.

Alarms play a vital role in home security. Assess the property for:

  • Alarm System: A working alarm system should be present, with sensors on doors and windows.
  • Brand and Age: Note the brand and check if the system is up-to-date.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are a non-negotiable safety feature. Each home must comply with Australian standards, which require smoke alarms to be:

  • Functioning: Test each smoke alarm to confirm it operates correctly.
  • Placement: Verify that smoke alarms are correctly positioned throughout the home.

Asbestos and Lead Presence

asbestos roof

The presence of asbestos and lead can pose severe health risks. Homebuyers should be aware of:

  • Asbestos: Look for areas that might contain asbestos, particularly in homes built before 1990. Professional inspection is recommended.
  • Lead Paint: Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Areas of flaking or deteriorating paint require attention.

A professional building inspector can confirm the absence or presence of these materials, with sample testing if necessary.

Outdoor and Leisure

When inspecting a property in Adelaide, potential buyers must evaluate the outdoor space for its condition and potential upkeep. This encompasses landscaping, structures like garages and sheds, as well as leisure amenities like swimming pools and spas.

Landscaping and Garden

  • Grass and Plant Health: Prospective buyers should check for vibrant, well-maintained grass and gardens, looking for signs of neglect such as dry patches or overgrown areas.
  • Irrigation Systems: If present, they should verify that the irrigation system is functional and efficiently covers all planted areas.

Garage and Sheds

  • Structure Integrity: One should ensure the garage and any sheds are structurally sound, with no evidence of water damage or termites.
  • Functionality: Doors and windows should operate smoothly, and the space should be adequate for storage or vehicle accommodation.

Swimming Pool and Spa Condition

  • Surface Condition: Cracks or discolouration in the pool’s surface could indicate a need for future repairs.
  • Equipment Check: The filtration system, heaters, and pumps should be in good working order and free from leaks.

Local Amenities and Services

When considering the purchase of a home in Adelaide, prospective buyers should thoroughly evaluate the surrounding local amenities and services. These elements are crucial for convenience and quality of life within the community.

Transport: Buyers should examine the availability of public transport services, including buses, trains, and trams. Proximity to major roads and access to bike paths can also influence commuting times and lifestyle.

  • Public Transport: Adelaide Metro services
  • Major Roads: Accessibility to A1, A2, etc.
  • Bike Paths: Availability and safety

Education: The location of educational institutions is particularly significant for families with children. Assess the types and reputations of nearby schools.

  • Schools: Public and private options
  • Universities: Distance to Adelaide Uni, UniSA, Flinders Uni

Healthcare: Access to healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, GP clinics, and pharmacies, ensures timely medical attention when needed.

  • Hospitals: SA Health services
  • GP Clinics: Local availability
  • Pharmacies: Conveniences and hours of operation

Shopping and Leisure: The convenience of local shopping centres, grocery stores, and entertainment venues contributes greatly to the living experience.

  • Shopping Centres: Location of nearest complexes
  • Grocery Stores: Major chains and local markets
  • Entertainment: Cinemas, parks, restaurants

Community Services: Facilities like community centres, libraries, and government services are important for social interaction and support.

  • Community Centres: Courses and events
  • Libraries: Access to resources and programs
  • Government Services: Council offerings and assistance

Prospective Adelaide homebuyers should investigate these amenities to ensure they align with their lifestyle needs and expectations, thus making an informed decision about their potential new home.

Future Developments

When purchasing property in Adelaide, prospective buyers should investigate planned future developments in the area. This knowledge can impact both the value and the livability of a home.

  • Local Council Plans: Buyers should consult the local council’s development plan. These documents detail zoning changes and future infrastructure projects which can affect property prices.
  • Commercial Projects: Proposed shopping centres and office complexes can boost convenience, yet may also lead to increased traffic. This information is typically accessible through council publications or planning notices.

Transport Upgrades: Future upgrades to roads and public transport can enhance accessibility, potentially making an area more attractive. However, these projects can also cause temporary disruption during construction.

Educational Facilities: New schools or expansions to existing ones can be a sign of a growing community and can be appealing for families.

To obtain accurate information, buyers can reach out to:

Property near planned developmental sites may benefit from an increase in amenities but may also face risks of construction noise or changes in the area’s character.

Financial Considerations

Before purchasing a home in Adelaide, it is crucial for buyers to carefully examine their financial commitments. This includes understanding ongoing costs such as council rates, utilities, and insurance.

Council Rates

In Adelaide, council rates are a significant annual expense calculated based on the property’s value. Prospective buyers should review the current rates for the specific council area to budget accordingly. For example, a property valued at AUD $500,000 may incur around AUD $1,200 to $1,500 in council rates annually, though this can vary.

Utilities and Service Costs

Buyers should anticipate the costs of essential services, such as water, gas, and electricity. Average monthly expenses for utilities in Adelaide might range as follows:

  • Electricity: AUD $100–$200
  • Water and Sewerage: AUD $70–$140 (quarterly billing)
  • Gas: AUD $40–$80

These are subject to change based on consumption patterns and provider rates.

Insurance Estimates

Home insurance is imperative to protect the new asset against unforeseen events. The cost can vary widely based on the property’s value, location, and level of cover. To illustrate, a standard home insurance policy in Adelaide might cost from AUD $500 to over AUD $1,000 per year. Buyers should obtain quotes from multiple insurers to secure the best rate and coverage for their needs.

Legal and Compliance

Before purchasing a home in Adelaide, buyers should conduct a thorough review of legal documents and compliance records. This ensures that the property meets regulations and has clear title and boundaries.

Property Title and Boundaries

Buyers should check the property’s Certificate of Title to verify ownership and ensure there are no undisclosed liens or encumbrances. A professional land survey should be considered to confirm the boundaries of the property and its dimensions.

Zoning Regulations

Adelaide’s home buyers must examine local zoning laws. The property should align with the Local Council zoning requirements that dictate the type of structures permitted, land usage, and restrictions.

Building Permits and Restrictions

Prospective buyers should request and review any existing building permits related to the property. It’s crucial to verify that modifications to the property are compliant with local building codes and that there aren’t any outstanding building restrictions or work orders.


In conclusion, as a prospective homebuyer in Adelaide, you are making one of the most significant investments of your life. To ensure that your investment is sound, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough pre-purchase inspection. From checking the structural integrity of the property to ensuring that there are no hidden electrical or plumbing issues, a comprehensive evaluation will provide you with peace of mind and could save you from costly repairs down the line.

Don’t take any risks with your future home. Contact a professional building inspector today to perform a detailed assessment of your potential new property. With expert guidance and a meticulous approach, you can move forward with your purchase confidently, knowing that every essential aspect of the home has been examined.

Ready to take the next step towards securing your dream home in Adelaide? Reach out to our experienced team of building inspectors. We are dedicated to providing you with a complete and accurate picture of your property’s condition. Book your pre-purchase home inspection now and invest with certainty.


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