The task of buying, building or renovating is scary for most. But what is scarier is finding out that the home you’ve bought isn’t to standard through poor workmanship. Poorly built or renovated buildings and features of a home can severely devalue the property.
Most people are time and skill poor too. Here are a few tips on what to look for when buying your next property or considering a renovation project.
Termites can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. Termites leave little mud lines up wooden materials. These mudding tubes can be relatively easy to spot, but it’s advisable to do a perimeter check also.
Sometimes you can’t see the mud lines, so feel the timber, push the timber to see if there are any soft spots. Soft areas and hollow sounds may indicate termites or wood rot from moisture. The garden and property boundary can also be at risk so make a point of checking wooden fences and surrounding trees.
Brick and block homes can also be at risk of termites. Check the skirting boards and architraves of door trims of the house. This is soft wood that termites enjoy and destroy quickly. You can’t always see the termite trails or mudding, but they get access anyway they can. Therefore, it’s important that the house has a termite barrier in place.
Look for mould and peeling paint which are good signs of leaking roofs. Swelling in gyprock and discolouration in paint are also tell-tale signs of current or past water damage. If it’s a high set house, get below and look for rot and fungi. Look directly under the kitchen and bathrooms and also air con drains. Discolouration in the grout between the tiles can indicate there is a water issue behind these areas including bathrooms. Timber floors will show signs of bowing and splitting of the boards. If you aren’t confident doing these checks or would like a second opinion, engaging a qualified building and pest inspector is the next step.
Foundations aren’t always easily assessed given the style of home. Evidence of foundation issues in lowset houses can be simple cracking of concrete in the garage or cracks in the wall as well as the ceiling and cornice. It’s not irregular to have signs of movement in an established property but this should be checked out by a professional if in doubt.
Highset homes are prone to more movement given their design which doesn’t necessarily indicate the foundations are bad. Foundations can be easier to view if you can walk under the house. For homes with steel stumps, inspect the space between the joist and stump. Misaligned joist to the stumps and twisting of joists where the stumps meet the joist is an issue. Spacing between joists may also be an indication of bad foundations.