5 Things to Inspect for During Your Pre-Purchase Building Inspection

Purchasing a new property? Whether it’s an investment property or your future home, it’s important that you inspect it so that you know exactly what you’re getting. There are five things in particular that you should be inspecting for. Let’s take a look!

1 - Drainage issues
If you’re purchasing a flat property, you’re one of the lucky ones. Many properties have sloped areas that require the installation of proper drainage. If there isn’t any drainage or the current system isn’t working right, you’ll have to check if water is getting into your home. The soil under a home should not be damp. This can weaken the foundation and attract termites. While you walk around the property, keep an eye out for mould and wet spots. These things could indicate drainage issues that you’ll have to fix.

2 - Rotting and/or misplaced fences
While you walk around the boundary of the property, take a close look at the fence. Are any areas leaning or breaking down? These are indications of rotten posts that will need to be replaced. Rotten posts are prone to collapsing and falling over in storms. It’s important for you to ensure that your fence is strong as to not pose a safety hazard to anyone nearby.

Besides checking for rot, consider whether the fence is placed in the right place. You may need a land surveyor to help you re-establish the boundary of the property that you are purchasing. This allows you to see if the fence is placed in the right position or if it is going over your neighbour’s or your own boundary.

3 - Damaged external walls
The walls around the house should be checked for damage. If yours are made of mortar, check for cracks and weaknesses. Look for signs of bowing and unevenness. It’s also important for you to keep an eye out for decay as it may indicate rising damp. This is a common problem for old brick houses. Homes made out of weatherboard often have some bowing because many have been re-stumped. This may require you to remove the weatherboards in order to straighten them. Look out for any signs of rot in the ends of the weatherboards as well - this is a sign of an inadequate paint seal.

4 - Rising damp
Rising damp is another problem often seen in old brick houses. It happens when the damp proof course in the mortar bed wears away, allowing moisture to come in contact with the home. If you look at an old home, you can often spot the darker mortar bed colour right underneath the floor. This is the layer that is intended to keep water from rising up above your floor level. If you spot the lower walls in your home bubbling or becoming discoloured, you may have a damp problem. Rising damp on garages is a lot more common because these rooms are non-habitable and don’t necessarily have to be damp proofed.

5 - Internal leaks

You can get the best look at the pipes by going underneath a house. Unfortunately, that often isn’t possible. Even brand new homes often have internal leaks in the bathrooms and showers. Inspect the bottom of the walls outside of the shower. If there are shelves or cupboards in the way, open them and shine a flashlight into the back. The bubbling or the wearing down of paint indicates internal leaks. You may have to pay to have your bathroom waterproofed. It may be a relatively cheap fix or an extensive one. Consult a licensed plumber before having anything done.

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