Stressed buyers warned over cursory attention to inspections

Portrait of desperate young woman feeling stressed checking online banking accounting home finances not able to pay off debts, mortgage, rent and expenses. In paying bills and financial problems.

A new ME survey has found that 61 per cent of home buyers later uncovered issues they’d overlooked when purchasing their home.

A new survey has warned half of Aussie house hunters give inspections the same attention as bingewatching Netflix, citing FOMO among reasons 61 per cent later uncover issues.

The ME survey found that 55 per cent of house hunters spend less than 60 minutes inspecting a property, the same amount of time as they do bingeing Netflix, even though it’s one of the biggest purchases of their life.

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Of those who later picked up issues, two out of five said they didn’t have the skills or experience to know what to look for, a third said they overlooked it because they fell in love with the property and 18 per cent missed the red flags because FOMO made them “impatient and concerned by rising prices”.

Realtor Opening Door at an Open House

Covid-19 restrictions also impacted buyers’ ability to give their new home a good once-over.

Around 65 per cent said Covid-19-related restrictions had an impact on their ability to inspect and buy their new home, with 45 per cent “doorknocking vendors to ask for an inspection on the sly, combined with looking at photos and/or videos of the property”.

Around a third of buyers did not arrange a professional building and pest inspection before they purchased, with the most common problems associated with construction quality, paintwork, gardens, fences and fittings.

ME general manager John Powell said emotions can cloud buyers’ judgement.

“Give weight to any niggling hunches that give you cause for concern and get a professional property inspector to do the looking for you,” he said in a statement.

young couple new apartment showing the door keys entrance door

Despite the issues uncovered after purchase, the vast majority said their new home was worth it.

“It is also important to know your borrowing capacity in advance so you can buy your home with full confidence knowing you’ve got solid financial backing.”

A massive 84 per cent of those who found issues had to spend more money fixing, replacing or improving them or planned to do so, while over half (58 per cent) said they would have paid less if they’d found the problems beforehand, and a third (34 per cent) experienced a degree of ‘buyers regret’ afterwards.

Despite the problems uncovered after purchase, the vast majority of buyers surveyed (94 per cent) said having their new home was still worth it.

Top problems identified post-purchase:

Construction quality 32 per cent

Paintwork 28 per cent

Garden and fences 23 per cent

Fittings and chattels 21 per cent

Neighbours 17 per cent

Services – hot water, heating/cooling etc. 15 per cent

Noise or lighting 14 per cent

Illegal building work 10 per cent

General floor plan 7 per cent

Valuation 6 per cent

Location 6 per cent

Zoning or title 4 per cent

(Source: ME survey of nationally representative sample of 1,000 property owners in

September 2021).


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