It pays to be critical when inspecting a potential new property, say the experts

Andy Fell, general manager retail banking at St.George said it’s no surprise many Australians are on the lookout for their next purchase.

“The record low interest rates are attracting a lot of investors into the market and people looking to upgrade their home, however we’re also expecting that more first home buyers will be on the look-out from early next year.

“It’s the perfect time for those thinking about purchasing a property to make a move. To help people get started, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips to consider when inspecting properties. St.George’s PropertyMate App is also a great way to access property and borrowing information as well as calculators in the palm of your hand while racing between inspections,” he said.

St.George’s top tips to save money for a home deposit are:

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 before making a final decision to purchase

Consider the orientation of the property – north-facing homes are most popular as they guarantee good sunlit rooms

Measure the bedrooms – consider if the house has enough bedrooms for your needs and they are big enough to comfortably live in, especially if you have young kids

Check the plumbing and ventilation of bathrooms – repairs in this area can be costly so check the toilet flushes properly and the water pressure is okay. Inspect closely for any signs of mould or dampness as this could be a bigger issue

Inspect the kitchen appliances – what appliances are included? Is the oven and cooktop gas, electric or induction? Everyone has a different preference so it’s best to see if the set-up matches your needs rather than having to change it in a couple of years’ time.

Consider the parking, storage and security – is there enough parking space for your cars? Will there be enough storage for your belongings? What security is there to keep your home and valuables safe?

Look for the heating and cooling systems – it’s important to consider if the heating and cooling systems installed in the home are energy efficient to keep household bills lower. Also ask if the house is insulated, which greatly increases the effectiveness of temperature control and will decrease your reliance on expensive air conditioning

Check out the local neighbourhood – think about if this is an area you’d like to live in. Are there local shops, schools and services nearby? Is the neighbourhood safe and are the people friendly? If you have a home-based business, check there is a quality option for internet in your street.

Work out your finances before committing – purchasing a property you can’t really afford is only going to decrease your quality of life and create stress. Speak to your lender first to work out how much you can afford and get approval on your home loan limit.

“Spending some time to plan your purchase is the most important first step. The PropertyMate tab on the St.George mobile banking application is a great way to calculate your borrowing power, loan repayments and stamp duty. You can also save your own shortlist of property inspections so you can review, rate and compare your top picks.

“There are a lot of fantastic deals on fixed and variable rate home loans at the moment, making it the perfect time to get into the property market,” Mr Fell said.