• Four in five home sales completed without proper inspections
  • Restumping, roofing and termites among the most costly
  • Inspections can avoid financial pain

    HOPEFUL property hunters heading out for a weekend of open inspections are being urged to inspect homes thoroughly before they whip out their wallet.

    It’s estimated around one in three older Australian homes contains potentially expensive flaws, according to Archicentre, the advice service of the Australian Institute of Architects.

    But despite this, 80 per cent of buyers will sign on the dotted line before checking a property for major faults like termites and structural problems.

    General manager Ian Agnew said it’s difficult to comprehend that buyers make their largest financial purchase without the right checks.

    ‘We’d never dream of buying a car without having an NRMA inspection. You need to know before you put those rose tinted glasses on to really check it out from a structural perspective,’ he said.

‘We’ve seen situations where homes need upwards of $100,000 for repairs on places worth $300,000-$400,000. That’s increased their loan by 30 per cent purely because structural defects weren’t priced up.’

Some of the most costly repairs include re-stumping the property, putting on a new roof, re-wiring and pest management, while dealing with rising damp and poor guttering can also leave you out of pocket.

‘We’ve even inspected houses with major termite infestations and said to people ‘don’t buy it’ and they’ve bought it anyway,’ he said.

‘Termites will eat away at structural foundations, the eaves, the trusses. They don’t take holidays, they go 24/7.’

Mr Agnew said it’s particularly important buyers hold their nerve now that confidence is returning to the property market and competition is heating up.

‘Don’t falter, make sure you still do your due diligence,’ he said.

The top 10 most expensive property repairs

Re-stumping: Potential buyers can get an inkling of this fault if they hear glasses rattle in the sideboard or flowers shake on the table when they walk through the home.

Roof: The roof receives scant attention from most homebuyers despite roof faults costing tens of thousands of dollars to repair. The most common cover-up is a quick paint fix for a rusty roof, often with the rust re-appearing soon after settlement.

Wiring: Blackened areas on power points are one of the first give-away signs that all is not well with a home’s wiring.

Pest management: Termite eradication and damage costs are expensive, and some people decide instead to sell their homes and in some cases take steps such as nailing shut access hatches in the ceiling and floor to conceal the problem.

Plumbing: During an inspection, test the water pressure by turning on a couple of taps at once to see what water pressure is available and whether the water is discoloured.

Painting: If you buy a home where painting has been a quick cover up exercise and there has been a lack of preparation or skimping on undercoat or quality of paint, you can face a hefty bill to repaint the affected areas.

Plastering: Plastering repairs can vary from the filling of minor cracking to major patch-ups where re-stumping is concerned, or where a home has been inundated with water.

Rising damp: Damp walls encourage the growth of moulds, which with high humidity can lead to health problems for occupants.

Guttering and downpipes: Rusted out, poorly maintained or badly fitted guttering can lead to major problems during storms when water can enter the home, causing damage.

Stormwater drains: Stormwater drains and sewer pipes play a vital role in the home being able to function and can be costly to repair.

Source: Archicentre

Posted by News Limited on 16th February, 2013