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18 November 2010

What a Morpheus Agent looks for when inspecting a property? Your home or investment property!

Outside the Building

The first thing you should do as you arrive and walk up to any property, is to look at the roof from a distance. Does it look clean, in good repair or does it look poorly maintained and in need of replacing?

Inspect Decks, Verandas and patios.

The things to watch for here are:
• The quality and condition of all timber including the balustrades
• Ensure any footings comply with building standards and do not provide access for pests or opportunity for wood rot to set-in.
• The springiness of the floor boards could indicate they are spaced too far apart or are beginning to fail.
• External flashings to roofs and windows should be regularly monitored for water resistance
• Ensure good design principles have been followed and relevant Building Codes or legislation met by having a licensed inspector perform a building and pest report.

Underfloor space

Examine the condition of all building, shed and patio slabs, paying special attention to concrete cancer, dampness and damp damage. Underfloor space should have good drainage and ventilation in order to prevent timber rot. Common defects are dry rot or broken timber members. Steel members are unaffected by age, however could be affected by chemicals or heat. Look for concrete cancer and spot damage to slabs it is found.

Car lock-ups, ports and sheds

Check at the practical size of car spaces and the storage of other equipment particularly if there isn’t a shed. Conduct the same inspection you carried out on the timber deck, on any wooden car-ports.

See if the property has a shed and how practical it is in size and layout. The point to note here is that if the property lacks a shed or other appropriate storage then more than likely all that stuff that normally goes into a shed is going to end up in your garage. And this could mean that eventually your car ends up in the driveway or worse still, on the road.

Roofing - The wind and rain

The thing to watch for here are the quality of fixings for the battens and roofing, affixing roofing material to battens requires a special type of screw fixed in a particular way. If it is a tile roof, then the condition of the tiles, ridge cappings and points are the important issue.

Look for evidence of poor maintenance or damage to the roof, with the aim being to make sure that all water drains to storm water mains, road kerb and channel and rubble pits without damage to the building or nuisance to neighbours.

Looking at the quality and maintenance of guttering and drainage which if done properly will prevent water entering the house. Roofing should be bird and possum-proof.

Sewerage, drainage, guttering and roof plumbing

The main issues to look for in this area are the adequacy of the piping in place and how well has it been maintained? A coat of paint can hide a multitude of sins, so don’t confine your inspection to just how it looks. Scratch the surface and see what is revealed.

The number and capacity of down-pipes should reflect the size of the roof area. Make sure gutters are clear of leaves and branches. Ask questions about the sewerage and water pipes and see if there have been any tree root problems. If they exist, they should tell you about any material facts that affect the property.

Check any tanks are properly installed and whether they are gravity fed or serviced by an appropriately sized pump.

Electrical installations

The first point to be made is that ALL electrical work must be carried out by a licensed Electrician. Some points of note to make are that electrical items like air-conditioners are well maintained and clean.

Smoke detectors should be installed in all homes, regardless of their age or whether they are timber or brick construction. Double check all electrical leads, plugs and external equipment such as pool pumps. Outside electrical items can be damaged by wind, rain and constant exposure to the sun.

Check all outside lights and power points are well maintained and in working order.

Gas supply and bottled gas

The connection point of the gas supply to the house can suffer rust and other connection problems. Check bottles and gas fixtures & fittings for leaks and ensure that pipes supplying underground gas are not rusting, particularly at ground level.

All plumbing and gas work should be carried out by a licensed plumber and gasfitter.

House Interior

Bathrooms / En-suite

check all wet areas for adequate water resistant sealing. The cistern and pan should be checked for cracking, leaking and stability. Check the floor for cracking and if concerned in any way use water to test the gradient water flow. If the underfloor to the wet areas can be accessed, check the underfloor for water staining and damage.

Make sure the ensuite has good lighting and sufficient natural or mechanical ventilation. Check the operation of the taps and wash basin.

Things to look for? Check to see if:
• the location of kitchen appliances isn’t concealing any defects.
• The kitchen bench-tops for lifting laminate or water damage.
• The sink taps for water flow, leaking, dripping and water hammer.
• Tiled areas should be checked for loose or cracked tiles or defective grouting and sealant.
• Poor quality construction material isn’t hiding behind bench surfaces. Standard grade chipboard will be quickly ruined by any contact with moisture.
• Make sure all fixture appliances are in working order, including those often forgotten ones such as insinkerators etc …


Check the gradient of the floor and how well it drains to the floor waste. Ensure taps operate well and check water flow; leaking; dripping and water hammer. Tiled floors should be examined for loose or cracked tiles and defective grout or sealant. Adequate ventilation is required, either natural or mechanical.

Check behind appliances for damage to walls, floors and to appliances themselves. Full waterproofing around wet areas will help prevent damage by water entering the timber.

Internal roof framing

This inspection should be conducted by a licenced professional because you will have to get up into the roof cavity and know what you are looking for. Your professional should look for bowing and broken timbers. The position and condition of all internal bracing, which will affect the structural capacity of the roof. Roof battens may also be damaged, if there are excessive loads. This inspection should reveal any water leaking or damage from broken or displaced roofing tiles, lifting roofing materials or poorly secured sheeting.


Check stairs to ensure stringers, hand rails, posts, treads and risers have not been damaged by rot or rust. Be aware that patches and paintwork can hide defects. Any movement will need to be repaired, as a moving tread or balustrade may gain increased momentum and fail without warning. For external stairs, good protective coatings and weather-proofing will help prevent damage and failure.


Check the ceiling plaster for any evidence of sagging, nails popping, defective lining and surface cracks. Dampness often indicates roofing defects. In cases of severe water penetration, inspect the ceiling joists closely. Heat and humidity coupled with water near the timber, creates an ideal atmosphere for wet rot. Examine the plaster around cornices for looseness or cracking which may indicate structural defects. If in doubt get a licensed professional to make further investigations.

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry Cabinets, Appliances & Fittings

Check all permanently fixed cabinets and appliances in wet and high traffic areas, as they can hide defects under or behind them. All vanities, cupboards and storage systems should be checked for damage to doors and drawers.

Check Vacuum Systems for effectiveness and checked for blockages.

Floors, doors and windows


All floor types including concrete floors should be checked for cracking and even levels.

Wooden floored areas should be checked for springy and squeaky boards, rot, out-of-level boards, dampness and damp damage. Serious problems can occur where ground floor joists are poorly ventilated, so make sure you inspect sub-floor areas if possible.


Blemishes on the surface of newly painted areas may conceal corroded frames. Damaged doors are usually easy to detect / notice. Ensure doors and windows operate smoothly. All timber exterior doors are likely to absorb rainwater, as they are rarely painted there. Look for signs of blistering paint or varnish down around the bottom. In some cases the timber swells to prevent proper operation.


Check for adequate window flashing around mouldings and sills. Any water staining, peeling or loose paint could be indicative of more extensive damage. If a window frame is soft and easily penetrated, it could lead to rotting frames. External surfaces need to be maintained with waterproof flashings and coverings (paint, oils or varnish) so check for evidence of this maintenance.

Housing Build types

Brick & Brick Veneer

Ensure the weep holes in external brick walls are clear of debris. Ensure weep holes under windows and above the Damp Proof Course are visible. Check for dampness and damp damage. Ensure method of water proofing does not create more problems than it solves. A common problem is foundations failure and mortar build up within cavities.

Also look for the tell-tale mud tracks of pest infestation on external surfaces. Garden beds and timber products directly adjacent to the slab and external building walls are danger signs that should be investigated to their fullest extent.


Paint can be used to cover defects and the use of matte finish paints can be used to hide fresh paint work. Check for water damage and damage due to exposure to the elements. Ensure that house cladding is not covering up defective boards. Check timber stud wall frames for damage.

All timber boards should be examined for rot and pest damage. If there is superficial damage, then determine the cause and extent of the damage. White ant investigation should be done by a licensed Pest Inspector with attention paid to the presence of both physical and chemical barriers. Inspection of garden beds and loose timber or timber products against the structure of the house may reveal white ants or other pest’s problems covered.


Weathering steels may appear to have good structural adequacy but should be checked very closely. If in any doubt, seek professional advice from a structural engineer or master builder.

Yours in property
Morpheus Property

This article is for the general use of Morpheus Property, its clients. Neither Morpheus Property Group Pty Ltd nor any of their officers or employees gives any warranties nor accepts any liability for any decision with respect to investment or non investment, sale or purchase of property which is made as a consequence of the use of this article.

Morpheus Property Group Pty Ltd believes the statements, information and recommendations contained herein to be correct and not misleading but give no warranty in relation thereto and expressly disclaims any liability for any loss or damage which may arise from any person acting or deciding not to act partly or wholly on the basis of any such statements, information and recommendations.


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