Are you looking to buy your first home? We will cover 10 things to know before purchasing your future home and how to watch out for nasty defects.

Generally, when a property is up for sale, it will have some sort of renovation works done. This could potentially conceal structural defects or damages along internal and external walls, ceilings, roofs, and floors. Properties containing structural defects is not uncommon, and can vary from the glaringly obvious, such as huge crack in the wall, to something that is barely visible. Everyone deserves to have an added piece of mind on their lifelong investment.

This blog will better equip readers in critical decision making and help you better evaluate your intended property.

1. Previous renovation work

It is important to inspect the house extra closely if it has had any sort of renovation as while it may appear cosmetically aesthetic, this type of work generally conceals structural defects such as cracks on load bearing walls. If a crack is present it is important for engineers to assess what type of crack it is, as it can determine whether there is settlement, foundational issues, or plumbing issue. When cracks are concealed, the structural defect may become worse over time without the occupants noticing leading.

2. Demolition and Extension works

Any demolishing or extension close to the primary building should be inspected. This type of work generally disturbs the soil around the building and undermines the foundation of the building. It is important to understand the scale, location and construction methods of the demolition and extension works. Although building may not have any issues currently, the structural integrity may be comprised in future. It is highly recommended to get a professional advice and approval before committing to large investments.

3. Presences of Trees

If you’re buying a property with exiting trees and vegetation, check the size and location of tree. Large trees have roots underground that changes the moisture content in the soil, also known as Tree Influence Zone (TIZ). Frequent consolidation and saturation of soil can lead to settlement in foundation.

4. Internal and External Wall Condition

Look out for all internal and external wall conditions. Cracks can indicate structural distress on walls and foundation of buildings. There are various types of cracks, each indicating its cause. For example, stepped crack indicates the outer portion of foundation have settled.

Something else to look out for is articulation joints on externa wall. As this allows for thermal expansion and contraction, it is a necessary structural feature for brick walls.

5. Signs of Termite infestation

It is always a good idea to check for termite infestation on all structural wood, this includes the subfloor level, stud walls and roof trusses. A simple peak in the manhole could reveal major defects. It advisable to get a professional to inspect and provide a detailed report.

6. Water Ponding

Water ponding in concrete pavement near the building can be a sign of poor drainage system. Excessive water ponding can lead to water dampening, ultimately weakening the strength of concrete. This can cause cracks when load is applied such as car driving.

7. Cracks on concrete (Driveways and pavements)

Cracks on concrete driveway or pavements can occur for various reasons such as thermal hair line cracks, lack of expansion cuts, or under designed concrete strength. If left untouched cracks can growth larger over time impacting the slab designed strength.

8. Signs of Moisture build-up

Buildings with poor stormwater catchment system tend to lead to water in unwanted areas. This can cause dampening on walls, ceilings and subfloors and buildup of mold. Get a professional to get your stormwater drainage inspected by a qualified professional.

9. Plumbing & Electrical

As you may be aware, sparkies and plumbers are not the cheapest tradies. As part of Australian Pre-purchase inspection standard, check all electrical appliance including any heating/cooling systems and hot water systems. Make sure to keep an eye out for any rusted plumbing or defective copper pipes.

10. Fence and Gate conditions

Make sure to inspect the condition of fence and look out for any rotting, mould formation, and damages. Another thing to keep in mind if the fence is leaning, it can indicate a fence footing issue. Soil that is disrupted or oversaturated loses its bearing capacity. Additionally, fence leaning towards the neighboring property can lead to complaints.

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