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Guide To Buying Real Estate

Guide to buying Real Estate


If you are serious about getting involved in real estate ownership then you must protect yourself!

The key things to investigate will include the following points which may be more relevant to purchasing existing apartments but most will apply to near new stand alone homes as well.

With near new apartments you’ll be looking for major defects as in NSW at least the builder is liable to repair minor defects for up to the first six years.

Major defects though can be very serious so let’s look at what you need to look out for:

  • Concrete cancer… look out for rust stains on the outside concrete surfaces as an indication.
  • Water leaks… these are common so look out for water penetrating from outside the building from areas such as doors or windows or balconies or just as often from poor internal waterproofing in wet areas such as bathrooms or laundries or kitchens. The cost of these problems being rectified can often be very high and very inconvenient.  Look very carefully as any sign of this could be a “red flag” for other hidden problems.
  • Cracks in walls both internal and external… look for more than normal superficial cracks… can indicate severe problems with faulty building or design…. can be very expensive to repair and possible litigation as to “who pays”
  • Fire doors/compartments can be a problem if the building has been built by a shonky builder or has been poorly supervised and these fittings were not installed (to save money) …if these fittings are not there and have to be retro fitted the costs and inconvenience will be very high.
  • Look out for corrosion of aluminum windows after a few years particularly where the windows are in contact with raw concrete.

So how can you protect yourself?

  • Pay for a Professional Building Inspection from an experienced building inspector. These people will pick up on most potential problems as they are highly experienced, particularly at seeing problems that a novice might miss.
  • Check out the builder (whether an apartment or a near new home) and do some due diligence. Sound out their reputation, talk to others who have used them if possible and get a feel for their “track record” – take a look at their website, look for industry awards and conversely any bad reviews re quality or follow up service.  Of course if the developer is not the builder then it is prudent to check out the actual builder in the same way.   Take a thorough look at the Developers previous projects… sometimes these projects will tell you a lot about just how well built these projects were (or not).
  • If you are buying in a Strata Titled complex then get hold of Strata Report and take a look at the Strata records. These will tell you about the financials of the Body Corporate and will alert you to any ongoing correspondence re Owners Corporation or maintenance or possible liabilities for things like external cladding removal or replacement. The condition of these reports will also indicate just how competent are the Strata Managers at doing their job.

So while there are many things to look at we don’t mean to frighten you – just do your due diligence as these are often large transactions involving large amounts of money.

If you need advice or just want to have a conversation feel free to contact me anytime on 0418 828 782 or

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