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Topic # 84634 3-Jun-2011 20:13 Send private message

I'm thinking about buying a house.  I will be getting a full building survey of course if we decide to go ahead but wondered what sort of things I should bee looking for as a layman that would set off any alarm bells.
e.g. where you look for to check for rot? what are signs of leaks? bad wiring? etc

It's an old villa/bungalow from the 1920s/30s. looks in good condition from our quick viewing at the open home, but want to go back next week to have a closer, less emotional inspection. 

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  Reply # 477584 3-Jun-2011 20:20 Send private message

Get into the ceiling to check for leaks that have caused rot, and also under the floor if do-able, also to check for water damage, and for both the ceiling and underfloor, the general state of the woodwork. Check the weatherside, where the bad weather and rain usually comes from. Here in ChCh its the southwest.

Bathroom and kitchen for leaks, repairs. How is the roof, in need of replacement, or ok. Bouncy floors means failed piles or failed wood.

I assume you arent here in ChCh, thats another story!

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  Reply # 477590 3-Jun-2011 20:37 Send private message

Here are a few things I can think of:

1) Turn the water taps on then off as fast as you can - listen for thumping sounds in the pipes (water hammer). Also check the that the water pressure is OK - not too high that it can cause problems to the plumbing, and not too low either.

2) Depending on the garden - check that it has good drainage, and that water doesn't pool or flow towards places that could become inconvenient.

3) Check that the ceiling space is decently insulated - otherwise it is one of the first costs that you'll want to factor in after your purchase.

4) Check the age of the hot water cylinder - older ones have poorer insulation and are less efficient. Check for leaks there too.

5) If there are downlights fitted, check that they are CA (close abuted) approved - meaning that they are mostly sealed and don't vent air to the ceiling space. Otherwise they result in major heat loss during winter.

6) Check out the neighbours if you're able to.

7) Drive by in the evening/weekends, and have a look at how parking is on the road.

8) Check on DSL availablility in the area - is there a waiting list to get connected? has a roadside cabinet been installed? Use Telecom Wholesales' "Broadband Service Availability Tool" to find out.

9) Check for signs of mould - behind curtains, window frames/sills, inside wardrobes if built in.

10) Check that shower enclosures show no signs of leaking.

That's all I can think of at the moment - all the best!

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  Reply # 477594 3-Jun-2011 20:47 Send private message

Stand outside the property and do an eye check on the roof line. Any sags in it will mean trouble.

In a house that old..use the 'smell' test, and remember to ask the age of the insulation (and exactly where it is)

If it has a fire, check its compliant.

Pay specific attention to the windowsills if they are the old timber ones. Any softening of the wood in the corners could mean rot. If they have been replaced with aluminium, ask when and why. If they didnt get it all (and its an involved process removing it) you might have trouble later.

Check the trees around the property, tree roots grow as wide as the tree is high, so pay attention to the paths and paving.

Ask if the sewerage pipes have been replaced during the house life.. or if there are current issues. (although with the quakes that one probably wont hold water for the sale) yes that was a pun. :)

Internet wiring check...... the most important thing. lol

If your game.. post the link to it and we can scope it for you via its photos and point out any issues.

Edit ..doublehell.. sorry, posted before I saw yours.

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  Reply # 477595 3-Jun-2011 21:00 Send private message

Bang on the neighbours doors if the house passes the other tests.

Ask about noise levels / rowdy parties that may go on in the area. Unless they are the ones having the loud parties ha ha.

Noisy neighbours can really make you an otherwise nice place intolerable. The only way to find out is to ask around.

Maybe the current occupant would know? Unless , they are the ones selling the house and they might lie to get a sale.

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  Reply # 477598 3-Jun-2011 21:09 Send private message

best way to look for leaks is to visit the house when its pouring down , then you can check the ground drainage as well as all the spouting and the inside for leaks , meant to be heavy rain this weekend.

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  Reply # 477599 3-Jun-2011 21:12 Send private message

Hmmm, where to start....?

Obviously, a full inspection by a reputable inspection company is the way to go.

With the age of the house, a few obvious items spring to mind:

Roof (trusses for borer, tiles / iron for damage)
Gutters (if steel check for corrosion)
External cladding (I assume it is timber weatherboards, check for signs of rot and bad repairs)
Wiring (check colours of wires, if new, make sure the work is signed off, if old, assume potential for replacement / rewiring)
Plumbing (check for old lead and copper pipes and look for leaks at solder joints. Also check for corrosion. If gas is fitted, verify the installation is signed off by a registered gasfitter)
Bathrooms / kitchen (check for leaks of any sort, swelling of flooring and wall linings are a good indicator as mildew / damp may have been cleaned prior to the open home)
Flooring (uneven boards, may be a sign of structural problems)
Windows (look for water marks or signs of condensation, check operation esp if timber frames are still fitted)

Just a few items to get you started.....





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  Reply # 477601 3-Jun-2011 21:17 Send private message

What town is the house in?

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  Reply # 477603 3-Jun-2011 21:20 Send private message

Forgot to mention - have your lawyer do a due diligence check on the property (first thing they will do is get a LIM report). Make sure that there are no upcoming consents for the area that have already been approved (like a pre-school etc.)

Make sure you check in with your lawyer before signing anything. Otherwise, make sure that whatever you sign has an exit clause that stipulates that everything is subject to the review and approval of your lawyer.

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  Reply # 477607 3-Jun-2011 21:32 Send private message

vexxxboy: best way to look for leaks is to visit the house when its pouring down , then you can check the ground drainage as well as all the spouting and the inside for leaks , meant to be heavy rain this weekend.


+1 - years ago we bought a house in Lower Hutt; the first Open Homes we wanted to go to was canceled 'for some reason'. Being a lot younger, we thought it must just be something that happens on wet days sometimes.

After we bought the house we found out why - the drainage on the property was appalling!

Even building inspection companies can miss major things too - turned out there was a glaringly obvious issue with one to the windows frames (touched up by the DIY previous owner) - completely missed by the building inspection.

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  Reply # 477608 3-Jun-2011 21:32 Send private message

A couple more...

Go to the local council office and request the box file. Have your building inspectors cast their beady eyes over this in great detail.

Make sure the information within the LIM report corresponds with that in the box file.




Michael Skyrme - Instrumentation & Controls

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  Reply # 477609 3-Jun-2011 21:32 Send private message

Look at closed doors to see if there are any gaps (potential slumping in the piles)

Window sills that are rotten tend to show house maybe is damp, or poorly ventilated (or just old) and will need to be replaced.  Check that all windows open and close easily. Looks for any gaps (additional signs of slumping and also drafts which will cost you in heating bills!).

Ask the real Estate Agent to supply a LIM free of charge.  Why give the council multiple payments for multiple LIMS, if the seller is keen to sell AND the house has no issues, they should supply one for FREE

And like others have said, post a link of potential purchases with picture/map location here, so we can all have a squiz and suggest additional things to look for!  (ASIDE: maybe there is an opportunity for a geek to produce a "rate this potential house" website, where people can post details of potential houses for the social network to comment on - hmmmm - legal implications???)

Good luck!!!! 



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  Reply # 477623 3-Jun-2011 22:26 Send private message

cool, thanks for all the advice.

will bear that in mind.

I have checked the LIM and property file at the council already and it is clean.
Will check the other stuff this weekend.

(btw, it's in auckland)

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  Reply # 477624 3-Jun-2011 22:43 Send private message

NonprayingMantis: I'm thinking about buying a house.  I will be getting a full building survey of course if we decide to go ahead 


consider what the house will actually sell for.  dont take the agents word for it - they will often tell you they dont know, but hint at some lower number to keep you interested. if you're looking for a house in an area, get the agent to provide you with a data dump of recent sales(*) in the area for comparison. no point in paying an inspector for a report on a house you cant afford :-)

(*) consider this agents web site: http://www.marshallteam.co.nz/SalesStats.aspx  they extract the sales data and publish it continuously so you can get a good feel for pricing based on the history you can see.  A few agents will actually give you this data in a pre-prepared pack along with the LIM and other pertinent documents.  If not, ask them to get it for you.

electrical:
for a 1920's or 1930's bungalow, you will probably want it to have been re-wired recently or you wont be able to get insurance due to fire risk.  Ring your insurance company (or someone elses) and ask them what the rules are. 

scrim:
Likewise, a 1920's bungalow was often built with scrim & sarking.  If the scrim is still there then it may also be uninsurable as scrim is a fire risk.  http://www.propertytoolbox.co.nz/blog/2010/06/29/what-is-scrim-and-sarking/





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  Reply # 477637 3-Jun-2011 23:55 Send private message

Regs:
NonprayingMantis: I'm thinking about buying a house.  I will be getting a full building survey of course if we decide to go ahead 


consider what the house will actually sell for.  dont take the agents word for it - they will often tell you they dont know, but hint at some lower number to keep you interested. if you're looking for a house in an area, get the agent to provide you with a data dump of recent sales(*) in the area for comparison. no point in paying an inspector for a report on a house you cant afford :-)




it has an asking price, so will only spend the money on inspection once the price has been agreed..  I would never buy a house at auction. waste of money spending money on surveys, legal fees etc when you might not even get it.

xpd

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  Reply # 477669 4-Jun-2011 09:44 Send private message

We just bought our 2nd house so went thru the process again... 1st place we were keen on had what we wanted in the right price.
They were asking mid-$400's we went in at $415 expecting them to drop to around $440 but they came back at $420 - alarm bells started tingling.....

Paperwork checked out OK, valuation passed (lot of banks want recent registered valuation before issung loan) building inspection failed big time due to a roof that was about to fall apart due to rust.

Tried negotiating with them but they refused to saying we had already got a good price - but we didnt know about the roof at that point so them saying that meant they knew about the roof before the inspection... so we left it.

Found a better place with more than what we wanted $50k cheaper literally 2mins down the road from the 1st one....

So registered builder to do the inspections is must these days. Go in at a silly price, let the negotiations begin....

Good luck :)




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