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Check before you buy: How to avoid buying a Lemon

Here are our expert tips to help you avoid buying a lemon. There are flaws that building and pest inspections won't uncover. Systematically we continue to impress all home buyers of the importance of commissioning building and pest inspections to reduce the risk of a buying a problem that will cost you heaps to the relief of the vendor who has sold their problem on to you.


But while these common checks and balances offer crucial risk reduction against major structural problems and infestations, they do nothing to insulate a purchaser against a raft of more subtle problems.


There are a number of lemon issues that are often only discovered once you have moved in. Or bluntly put, when it is way too late.

Neighbours from Hell!

Open homes rarely give buyers a good sense of what the neighbours are like, but they have the potential to make our days and nights a literal living hell.


We highly recommend visiting the property on foot and having a good look around the area, at various times of the day. Are the gardens well kept and lawns mowed? Walk around the surrounding streets and take note of what you hear; are people playing heavy metal at full volume or are they listening to classical music? Can you smell anything from the factory in the next street or noise from the panel shop? You need to focus on smelling and hearing, rather than just seeing.


You need to check whether neighbours have lodged plans to demolish their homes to build apartments or townhouses, which could potentially affect your home.


OMG the Noise?

It is great living close to amenities and infrastructure, but the fast movement of a freight train at night seems much louder when there is no ambient daytime din to drown it out.


There is a big difference between being a street away and a few hundred metres from a major arterial road.


Try and be at least a few hundred metres away as you may still hear train brakes squealing and the occasional horn, but the benefit of living near outweighs that.


Furthermore, CBD commuters are less likely to take the parking spots outside your home if you are good few streets back.


Airplane noise is frequent, and flight paths can vary wildly from one part of a suburb to the next, depending on the direction of the wind. This something often nor thought about. Aircraft noise is strange in that you can be one street away in a different direction and not really hear it.


Body Corporate Nightmares

Purchasers who are buying into a unit complex, the problem neighbour will be hard to avoid at body corporate meetings. It is difficult to ascertain how “healthy” a body corporate is from the outside, so buyers should obtain information on the finances, long-term levies, resolutions and “personalities” of the group. It is a good idea to obtain of minutes from meetings as well as a copy of the constitution.


Looking at the minutes of the body corporate meetings to see if you can find evidence of conflicts and personal issues that have surfaced is a great idea. While a healthy body corporate is sometimes evident in the way the gardens and external buildings are maintained, you need to look deeper at any future financial spending. We have first hand accounts of people being stung amounts of $15,000, $22,000 and $31,000 via a body corporate levies significant maintenance issues in the complex. We encourage you get as much information on the body corporate as possible.

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