house inspection

How a house inspection can spot what’s happening underneath a home

When a property inspector does a house inspection, they’ll be paying attention to a whole list of things throughout the house. While there are some obvious things that will always be included in a house inspection report (like the roofing or insulation), there are other aspects some might forget to consider without the help of a property inspector. All too often people forget to check what keeps the house standing – the piles and foundations under your property. 

Why is it so important to ensure your property inspector checks underneath your house? And what should they be looking out for?

What are piles?

Piles are the things that keep your house standing, providing the foundations that everything else is built upon. They are there to make sure that the weight of the house is evenly distributed across the land and soil it rests on. They also play a key part in ensuring the house is balanced and stands straight – because you don’t want an off-balance home!

Have a look under any house built in New Zealand and you’ll find that most foundations are generally formed by wooden poles or posts, or concrete piles with wooden jack studs.

What will a property inspector look for under a house?

No part of a home lasts forever, and over time piles might begin to rot; the weight of a home might become unevenly balanced. Older homes in particular are prone to pile damage, as some were built on tree stump piles which pose problems as time goes on. Piles can become cause for concern when they start moving, which may cause the house above to twist or crack. 

A good property inspector will look for whether the piles of a home have ever been replaced, or whether they might need replacing soon. They’ll also check that any new homes have foundations that meet Building Code requirements and are earthquake-proof. 

No matter what, they’ll look out for whether the piles are in a good, healthy condition and are properly braced. There’s a lot riding on these hidden features so you’ll want to make sure they are in tip-top condition!

Why a house inspection is so important

The foundations of a home are crucial – so why would you leave them to chance? While the untrained eye might be able to look at foundations and piles, only a trained property inspector can give you the entire picture about the state of what’s happening underneath your potential home. 

Re-piling a home and repairing foundations is a lengthy and expensive task, so you’ll want to know exactly what condition the piles are in before you commit to a new property. Ensuring the safety of your home’s foundations with a house inspection report means that you can sleep easy knowing you are on steady ground!

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home inspection report

Hidden costs in a home – how a home inspection report can help

When looking for a new home people tend to take a property at a nominal price, only considering which home is the most affordable right now. All too often, people forget to consider the hidden costs in a home and the repairs a house might need. But that’s where a home inspection report can help.

A house might be $20,000 cheaper now, but what if it needs its roof or cladding replacing in a few years? All of a sudden, you’ve got a house that might not have been the more affordable option after all. Factoring in the hidden costs of a home in a home inspection report is one way to prepare yourself for taking on a property.

Getting an unwanted surprise

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line and made the purchase, your home is your responsibility. That’s why any unexpected problems or repairs needed can be a shock to the system – and the wallet!

Years and years of life and wear can take their toll on a property – so it’s no wonder things need repairing as time goes on. While some parts of a house might last a lifetime, others might age quicker. It’s been suggested that the average house needs a 50% replacement over a 30-year period – an important thing to consider if you’re planning on purchasing any property! And while we can’t know if that figure is bang on for all homes, it’s certainly a big enough percentage to think about.

What parts of homes tend to lead to hidden costs?

The exterior of a house tends to weather the full force of the elements, so pay attention to the environment your home is in when looking at a property. Houses exposed to more wind, rain, or damage from trees will likely need their cladding or roofing replaced sooner than others. A property inspector will look at the materials used for cladding and how durable it is to give you an idea of whether it might need replacing soon.

Inside the house, things like flooring, doors, and windows will need maintenance because of wear and tear. Piping is another thing a property inspector pays attention to, as homes built mid-century with copper pipes are approaching the 70-year lifespan mark.

A hot water cylinder is also a common cause for concern – and their lifetime is often just down to luck. I’ve seen cylinders over 50 years old still working perfectly well, or some less than 20 years old that need replacing. Ensure your property inspector gives the hot water cylinder a look to determine what sort of condition it’s in.

To read about the ageing parts of a home in a bit more depth, have a read of one of my earlier blogs.

How a home inspection report can make a difference

A home inspection report can’t predict the future, but it can give you an idea of the repairs you might need to prepare yourself for when purchasing a property. Knowing the future costs of a home will mean you can make as informed a decision as possible – and feel pretty confident that no surprise hits to your bank account will happen anytime soon.

pre purchase house inspection

Know the risks with a pre purchase house inspection before you purchase

When you’re looking for the perfect new home, it’s easy to get caught up in a bit of a whirlwind. It’s often love at first sight with a property. But love tends to make us blind to what might be wrong with it! Too often, people purchase their dream place in such a rush they might not realise it has risky elements – an inconvenience that could be spared with a pre purchase house inspection. 

What kind of risks will a property inspector look for?

When doing a pre purchase house inspection, a property inspector will keep the 4 Ds of construction in mind. Deflection, drainage, drying and durability are the 4 basics of any building or house – and I like to consider design as well. I’ve written more about the Ds in depth on a previous blog you can read here

While a property inspector will assess each part of the house separately, they’ll also pay attention to the house a whole. Is there a cavity? Is it made out of bricks, plaster, or something else? Is the drainage appropriate, or does the design mean that moisture will be trapped somewhere? Is the cladding fixed directly to the framing?

The biggest risks they’ll look for include moisture ingress, faulty pipes or wiring, drainage issues, structural damage, or rot. 

A property inspector will pay attention to the age of the home as well – especially considering many homes built prior to 2005 were designed according to now outdated building regulations. Generally, the newer a home is the better – although new homes can still have problems and mistakes too! 

Why do risks go unnoticed?

The problem with many of the risks I’ve mentioned is that they are often hidden to the untrained eye. A house may look perfect at first glance, but many problems are hidden so are tricky to spot without a thorough pre purchase house inspection. 

Finding and purchasing a home is often an emotional process, with people falling head over heels for a home that’s within their budget when they’ve found it. And while that’s great, it becomes a problem when it makes us ignore all the potential risks in the property. 

It might sound harsh, but it’s important to try and take the emotion out of purchasing your home and look at the property objectively with the help of a house inspection. 

Assessing the risk with a pre purchase house inspection

A property inspector isn’t going to give you a green or red light on whether you should purchase a property. Rather, a property inspector aims to equip you with all the information you need to make an informed decision yourself. 

Getting a pre purchase house inspection before you commit to your new home (no matter how perfect it might seem!) means you’ve got the best chance of spotting any risks or future problems. With all that information, you can then decide whether the house is the one for you.

auckland house inspection

The importance of an Auckland house inspection no matter what state the property market is in

With the fluctuating and unpredictable nature of the Auckland property market, it can feel like there’s pressure on purchasers to make quick decisions before anything changes. But when purchasing a house or property, it’s important not to skip any step in the process for the sake of saving time or money – particularly a house inspection.

Rushing the process

When the housing market is experiencing a boom, many want to get in while they can – particularly in Auckland. Some don’t factor in the cost of a house inspection in the process and skip the important step to either save money or save time. 

While this might be okay in the short term, I’ve seen it come back to bite people as time goes on! I knew a man who rushed through his purchase and bought a home without organising a house inspection – and ended up purchasing an absolute lemon that he ended up spending more money on than he initially saved skipping an inspection. 

The cost of skipping a house inspection

In 2018 and 2019, I fielded so many calls from people who’d purchased homes in the 2014 Auckland boom without getting a house inspection. Several years later, they were wanting to get an inspection after realising the property had several problems that they’d only just become aware of. Unfortunately, a house inspection after the purchase is complete is nowhere near as valuable as it is before. 

For these customers, it was upsetting knowing they’d purchased a home with problems they could have prevented, but even tougher knowing they’d paid way too much for their house. Getting a pre purchase house inspection before signing on the dotted line would have helped to avoid all that annoyance!

Protecting you and your home in 2021

No matter what happens in the Auckland property market this year (and I’m not going to get into the business of predicting it!) a house inspection is an absolute must. While it might feel right to take advantage of a boom and purchase a house while you can, rushing the process will only cause you a headache – both personally and financially – down the line. 

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house inspection and security

Why security matters even after your house inspection

One of the more difficult realities of being a home-owner is dealing with burglars. While we can cross our fingers it won’t happen to us and lock our doors, I’ve learned that locks only keep honest people out! And while a property inspector may assess the security of a property during a house inspection, security is something that you should keep on your mind long after you’ve moved in.

As we approach the busy summer season, many people are heading out of town to the beach and city homes will be left unattended. Luckily, there are a few things you can do that will not only decrease your chance of being robbed, but also make the whole insurance process easier if it does happen to you. 

That pesky but important word – insurance

While we like to hope it won’t happen, if you are burgled you’ll want to make the insurance process as easy as possible. Insurers don’t go handing out their money willy nilly, so they’ll need proof for the value of everything that’s been stolen. 

The easiest way to deal with this is to take note of the serial numbers of your belongings before they get stolen. Not every item will have a serial number, but big things like kitchen appliances and any bits of technology will. I tell my clients to take some time after they’ve unpacked their belongings in their new home to go round with their phone and take photos of any serial numbers. It’s a good idea to take a photo of any new appliances you get after you’ve moved in as well (particularly after Christmas!). 

Doing this makes it easier for your insurance provider to pay out. Knowing the exact model of an appliance in particular means you’re more likely to get paid the exact value of your stolen item – and not some cheaper alternative. And while taking note of an item’s serial number doesn’t make it less likely to be stolen, it does mean police might be able to identify stolen goods and get them returned to you!

Securing your home while you’re away

The leadup to Christmas and summer is the perfect time to double check your home security. To make your home off-putting for burglars while you’re away, you should:

  • Ensure your locks are all working correctly. Secure locks can definitely stop the opportunist burglar. 
  • Double check your security alarms are working correctly. Alarms stop burglars being inside for a long time – the quicker your alarm goes off the less time they have to rifle through your stuff!
  • Consider security cameras in high risk parts of your property. While they won’t stop burglars, they can give the police helpful leads or a place to start.  
  • Download helpful tracker apps. If you’re an Apple owner, using FindMyiPhone or FindMyiPad might come in very handy (that’s how I ended up finding the guys who broke into my house!)
  • Don’t advertise your absence. Think about how your home looks from the outside – closed curtains during the day are a sure sign for a burglar that people are away!
  • Call on a neighbour or friend you trust to come round every now and again while you’re away and give the house some life – another way to deter burglars. 
  • For other security tips, have a look at one of my previous blogs.

Keeping security in mind long after your house inspection 

There are some aspects of security a property inspector can pick up on in a house inspection – like locks and windows. But security is something you need to consider all the time, particularly when you’re away from your home on holiday. Taking the steps to make your home off-putting for burglars and preparing for if it does happen will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, as well as ensuring you can relax properly on any summer holidays!

Speaking of holidays, I’ll be enjoying my Christmas break and will be unavailable until the 4th January. I hope you have a happy holiday with family and friends, and look forward to seeing you all in 2021. 

home inspection report

Outside looking in: what external features are included in a home inspection report?

The name ‘home inspection report’ implies that much of the focus of our work is on the home itself – but that isn’t the case! When it comes to inspecting a home properly, there are plenty of things happening outside the house itself that a property inspector will pay attention to. 

While it can feel like more is being built up than out at the moment, there are still plenty of homes on the market with at least a little land. Here, we’ve outlined some of the things outside the building that your property inspector will be looking at.

Decks

Even if decks met the Building Code requirements when they were built, many can still age quickly if they’re made with low quality materials. If the deck of a home you’re looking at isn’t up to par, replacement and maintenance costs can quickly add up – so you’ll want to know about it before you purchase! Besides the deck itself, a property inspector will also look out for whether the deck is correctly attached to the home, whether it meets the required distance to property boundaries, and whether the decking might impact the title for a cross-lease property (although you’ll need to check this against the documentation yourself). 

Boundary fencing

Fences generally mark the outer limits of your property, but they’re still just as important to check – particularly if you’ve got pets you want to keep in and other things you want to keep out! You want to be sure boundary fencing is sturdy, tall enough, made with suitable materials to stand the weather and test of time. 

If a fence does need to be repaired or remade, it will be something you’ll have to agree with your neighbour about and you’ll normally have to split the cost. So, it’s important to find out in your property inspection whether the fencing will need work anytime soon – as you will need to factor the cost into your purchase. 

Pools

Pools are awesome to have in the summer months (or in the winter months too if you’re brave!) but they do require special care and extra compliance. While pools have to be checked every three years by a qualified pool inspector as part of a special purpose inspection, I still tend to give pool pumps a quick look during a property inspection and advise on what might be a problem when it comes to your next official inspection. 

Pools require strict fencing and safety measures that are frequently updated, as well as internal design features that make swimming safe. If any features aren’t up to scratch, you could be dealing with a hefty fixer-upper when it comes time to your next inspection!

Gardens and paving

While backyard work probably isn’t going to be a dealbreaker with your property, there are many hidden costs that you might be unaware of without a home inspection report. Paving, for example, sounds simple. But over the years I’ve seen plenty of irregular and sloped paving that causes carnage with water drainage. I’ll always check for correct cess pit installations as well.

How a home inspection report makes a difference

We often say that a home inspection report helps you spot the problems in a property hidden beneath the surface – but an inspection is also helpful in spotting the things outside the home in plain sight! A home inspection report will provide you with a snapshot of your potential home, meaning you can make your commitment with all the information you need. 

Need an inspection? Get a free quote below.

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pre purchase building inspection

Older homes and a pre purchase building inspection: what to look out for

Older homes are certainly charming on the eye – but looks can sometimes be deceiving. Before diving in and purchasing your dream villa or retro bungalow, there are some things you should take into consideration. Some of them you’ll be able to spot yourself, while others you might need the help of a pre purchase building inspection to find. 

A safe roof above your head

The condition of the house’s roof should be one of the first things you check when seriously considering a home – particularly an older house. Roofs have a lifespan (if you get 50 years out of an iron roof, you’ve done well!), so the roof of an older house may well be approaching the end of its run. With roofs costing anywhere between $10-20k for an average sized house, you’ll want to check the condition of the house’s roof so you’re fully prepared for any costs that might come later! If you’re wanting to find out more about what to look out for with a roof, have a read of one of my older blogs here.

Keeping warm

A common problem with older homes is a lack of insulation and proper joinery, so you might have a chilly home in winter. Older homes generally have single glazed windows, meaning you’ll be losing a lot of the warmth your heater is generating. 

Similarly, older homes might not have been updated with new insulation – as insulation has changed a lot over the years. If you’re wanting to purchase the home and rent it out, then there are extensive insulation regulations you’ll need to consider. You’ll also want to be sure the venting is sufficient so you’re getting old air out and new air in. 

Water and piping

When it comes to older homes, the tapware, hot water cylinder, and pipes should all be checked thoroughly as they can quickly deteriorate unnoticed. Tapware and even a water cylinder won’t last forever, and hot water cylinders generally last around 20 years before needing a replacement. Sometimes they can fail earlier than that. 

Being one of the foundations of a home, piping is something that is likely to be outdated in an older house. Older materials used for pipes, like lead or steel, can corrode or become dangerous for your health. Even copper, which is also used in newer homes, can’t last forever. What you don’t want is for old pipes to start leaking, which is a problem and a half to deal with later!

How a pre purchase building inspection can help

There are some things in an older home you might be able to find out yourself, like the age of the hot water cylinder or the condition of the insulation. But more hidden elements often need a trained eye to spot. A qualified property inspector will give the property you’re considering a thorough inspection, notifying you of anything that’s cause for concern and that might give you some hassle down the track. They’ll be able to give you all the information you need in a handy report, and provide you with some advice on what to do next. 

Just because a home is a bit older, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. It just means that you’ll need to approach it with a bit more caution, and be prepared to deal with some of the things that come with having a house with vintage charm. When buying any second hand house, no matter the age, I’d always recommend a contingency fund set aside to fix things that may pop up. Getting a building inspection is the best way to get to know the ins and outs of your home before moving in, and know what to prepare yourself for in the future. 

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house inspection service

Do you need a house inspection service before purchasing a rental property?

So you’re thinking of purchasing a rental property to get your property portfolio started – congrats! Buying a new property and renting it out is an exciting venture. But it also comes with a whole lot of responsibility to look after the property and keep it in shape for your tenants. Before purchasing a rental property there are some things you might want to consider – including getting a house inspection service.

A healthy home

As a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure the property is healthy and safe for your tenants. The house has to comply with healthy home standards and legislation – including heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress, and draught stopping. 

Before purchasing a property to rent out, it’s important to check what insulation the home currently has, and whether it will be needing more to be compliant with healthy home standards. Similarly, the home has to be adequately ventilated to avoid dampness and mould, and windows and doorways have to be perfect to ensure no draughts can get in. 

To spot these things and figure out how much it will cost to get them up to standard, you’ll need to utilise a house inspection service. A qualified building inspector will be able to provide you with a comprehensive building report, so you can commit to the property with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Maintaining a rental

While a tenant has some responsibility to maintain the property, much of the onus falls on you. A rental property is like a car, and needs regular services to stand the test of time!

Washing the house once a year, cleaning the windows, cleaning heat pump filters, changing the water filters out periodically, ensuring it’s well ventilated… there’s a lot of things people tend to forget about. Just the other night, I discovered that my water pump had split and was spewing water everywhere! It’s often the things like that that tend to slip through our to-do list unnoticed when it comes to maintaining a property.

Utilising a house inspection service

When becoming a landlord, it’s not just the initial cost of the property you have to consider. The cost of maintaining the property and ensuring it’s a healthy place to live for your tenants is even more important.

The great thing is that it’s pretty easy to get an idea of the cost of maintaining a property using a qualified property inspector. An inspector can provide a thorough pre-purchase property inspection, identifying what work will need to be done to ensure the property complies with rental legislation and the cost to get the property up to scratch. Investing in a quality property inspection now can save you a lot of money in the future on maintenance, renovations, or unhappy tenants. 

Thinking of starting your own property portfolio? Find out more about a house inspection service.

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pre purchase property inspection on a new home

Pre purchase building inspections – should you consider doing a new home inspection?

When people often think of pre purchase building inspections, they think they’re only for older homes or buildings. The reality is that any home, new or old, can have problems or inaccuracies invisible from the surface that might compromise its structure or safety. But how do you ensure that your new home is in perfect condition? And what kind of problems might your property inspector be looking out for in a new home inspection? 

Why can new homes sometimes have problems?

A brand new home always looks flawless, but that might just be because no one has lived in it yet to notice any problems. New homes haven’t yet stood the test of time, so it’s impossible to judge its quality and safety without a thorough building inspection.

As New Zealand’s population grows at an overwhelming rate, it feels like new homes and builds are going up left, right, and centre. While this delivery and production speed is great for those looking for places to live, it does mean that some of the finer details of building can be overlooked under the pressure of a tight deadline. I’ve definitely seen a real variation among the quality of builds during my time doing inspections across Auckland – from some that are pretty great to some that are frankly appalling!

Sometimes things can slip through the eyes of builders, contractors, or even Council (I’ve seen properties that have been given their Code of Compliance which shouldn’t have!). These missed opportunities and small mistakes are worth picking up before you make the move to save extensive repair costs in the long run.

Addressing problems in the building report

If a problem does arise in the property inspector’s building report, then you’ll have a chance to get things sorted before signing on the dotted line and moving in. New Zealand legislation fortunately protects people if building work isn’t done according to an agreed plan.

If a warranty has been breached and work hasn’t been done to a sufficient standard, then whoever was contracted to do the work must redo it, or pay someone else to. Depending on the situation, a contractor might also have to pay you for any loss of value to your property. The finer details depend on a whole list of factors, which you can find more about here. A property inspection completed before you’re set to move in will reveal any of these problems and give you plenty of time to work through a solution. 

Preparing through a property inspection

Building your own home, or purchasing a brand new one, is a big deal. It’s a hefty investment, so you want to be sure you’re not committing to your dream home that might turn into a nightmare! Arranging a property inspection with a qualified property inspector is the only sure way to do that. 

And remember that, even if you don’t discover issues while you’re living there, whatever you buy today you’ll have to sell tomorrow. Better to know upfront that your brand new build has been done well so you don’t get any nasty surprises when it comes time to sell!

Interested in finding out more information about a property inspection on a new build? Have a read of our old blog that dives a bit deeper. Or, if you’re wanting to get your pre purchase building inspection started, get a quote below. 

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The Property Inspectors

When should you call in The Property Inspectors?

A property inspection is absolutely essential in any house-buying process. Knowing the condition of your potential new home is hugely important before taking your purchase any further – but it can sometimes be confusing to know where a property inspection fits in. When you’re next purchasing a home, when should you call in The Property Inspectors?

Get the expert advice right from the beginning

It’s best to get the right advice as early in the process as possible from the people who know what they’re talking about. Think you’ve found your ideal home? Before committing to anything, get in contact with a lawyer and a qualified property inspector. 

Getting a property inspection right at the beginning saves you time – it’s better to find out if something is wrong with the house early and before legally committing to the purchase! At The Property Inspectors, the results of our property inspection reports ensure you know entirely what you’re buying into and don’t encounter any nasty surprises, meaning you can be certain you’re moving into a safe and secure new home. A home inspection can also help you develop a budget for repairs and figure out whether it’s a home you can afford to take on. 

Surrounding yourself with the experts saves you stress, time, and money in the long run. Working with people you can trust makes the sometimes difficult house buying process a whole lot more enjoyable knowing you’re in the right hands – find out more about building your best property network in one of our previous blogs

How The Property Inspectors can help

After a house or building inspection, your property inspector will provide you with a property inspection report based on their assessments (you can find a sample report here). The report will give you an idea of the overall condition of the home, any serious issues you should be aware of right now, and what might cause some concern in the future. At The Property Inspectors, we’re able to notice the things that others might miss, which gives you the best overview of your potential new home. Only once you’ve got all the information in front of you should you make the call to commit to your new place and sign on the dotted line. 

An inspection no matter the house

A lot of people might think a house inspection is only necessary for old homes, or homes that look like they might need a bit of work. In reality, any home (no matter how it looks superficially) can have deeper problems that might create a whole lot of hassle in the future. Even brand-new homes require a house inspection – with the speed new homes are being built these days, the overlooking of small details and other inconsistencies happen more often than you might think. 

If you’re getting ready to purchase your first home, or looking for a new one, be sure to have a property inspection at the top of your to-do list – no matter how great the house might look. At The Property Inspectors, we’ve got over a decade of proven experience to help kickstart your home buying process and ensure your new home isn’t going to give you any nasty surprises. Get in touch to get the property inspection process started.

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