Home buyers and real estate investors are being warned to watch out for the hidden traps that may be lurking in their potential property purchases.
Leaky showers, cracked ceilings and self-opening doors are among the signs pointing to bigger and more costly “nasty surprises”, the Association of Building Consultants says.
Spokesman Chris Short says understanding a building’s condition and the likelihood of future repairs is vital when assessing a property purchase and managing a mortgage.
“Many homes are tidied up for sale, with the pre-sale spruce ranging from a basic clean through to bagging cracks, repainting, retiling and re-grouting, and even new floor coverings,” The makeover might look good, but it also masks what might be more sinister problems such as termite damage, salt damp, structural issues, unlicensed and dangerous electrical work, and more.
For example, a leaky shower might seem harmless on the surface but if the leak is allowing water to flow into the soil next to your home, it’s likely to attract termites.
Short says building inspections can be particularly valuable for investors who will not be living in the property they buy. You need to know it well so that you’re clear about urgent maintenance requirements to meet your obligations as a landlord – such as ensuring smoke alarms are hardwired – and the cost of long-term maintenance.
Property academic and author Peter Koulizos says beginners should always consider a building inspection.
He adds to make sure the report is a written one, rather than a verbal agreement. Some of my students have been able to negotiate the purchase price down by the repair amount or they have just pulled out.