Protecting your most important asset: keys to getting the right insurance

House insurance should always be at the top of your to-do list in the house buying process – but how do you go about protecting one of your biggest investments? It can be overwhelming knowing how to get the best insurance – or even understanding what goes into creating your insurance policy. 

To get a better idea of the home insurance process, I spoke to Kane Butler – Company Director and General Manager of Distribution and Partnerships at Wayne Grayson and Associates and Fire and General Specialist for Trebla. He’s been in the business for 24 years so knows the ins and outs of both sides of the process!

What factors will impact your house insurance?

Insurers will pay attention to the whole property when deciding on an insurance policy, but their criteria focuses on a few things in particular. 

“Probably the first one is the condition of the house,” says Kane. “If the house itself is rundown, or needs a lot of work, then the insurers are going to be a little apprehensive to take it on.”

An insurer will also consider whether the property is on town or tank water, its weather-tightness, the house’s location and its age. While it doesn’t mean an old house or a house on tank water is uninsurable, these factors can all have an impact on the cost of insurance. 

Unconsented works are another consideration. If a house has any unrecorded work done, then there’ll certainly be some questions about the robustness of the home. To find out more about unconsented works, have a read of our last blog on DIY jobs and building consent. 

You can get an idea about your potential home and the factors that may make insurance more expensive through a property inspection. A property report will help you know even before approaching a broker if the house’s insurance is likely to be too expensive for your budget. Arranging a property inspection before committing to any policies means you can avoid the cost of signing a sale and purchase agreement and doing due diligence, only to find your insurance will be too expensive.

Some insurers are more strict on certain things than others, which is why it’s best to assess all your options and ask the experts before committing to one policy in particular. 

How do insurers assess a property?

To understand and assess a property, insurers often have systems in place to access information. Software allows insurers to easily plug in most addresses and immediately be able to see all the latest building information. Generally, they won’t go out and see a property in person unless there’s a really specific reason – they’ll get the majority of details they need from records or from the client.

Is a house ever uninsurable?

It’s very rare that a house is ever completely uninsurable. In the last 12 months, Kane can only recall two situations in which a house has been rejected from cover entirely. Often, the properties that are rejected already have existing claims on for landslides or leaky buildings. 

If a home does have a problem, the insurance premium won’t necessarily increase. Instead, the cover may be restricted. A house that’s had a previous landslip, for example, might be insured without landslip cover. Alternatively, the insurance policy might place a higher excess on the property. 

“We can generally get around problems and get the house covered,” says Kane. “If there are problems with a house, then there are normally other policies we’ve put in place where there might be a restriction, endorsements, or warranties.”

“Because of the relationships that we have with insurers, it’s easier for me to have a conversation with one of them and work out a solution. If someone was going directly to an insurer, they would have a lot more trouble than what we do.”

How do I get the best insurance policy for my home?

Put simply – talk to an expert.

“It’s a broker’s job to help get the right insurance for you,” explains Kane. “Knowing how to talk to insurers and negotiate a deal is a big thing, which is what an experienced broker is an expert at.”

Additionally, price should never be the only consideration when deciding on insurance. 

“A house is the biggest asset you’re ever going to purchase, so why would you not insure it properly? For a few hundred dollars more a year, you’re better off making sure you’ve got the best cover around. There are differences in cover out there, and they can make an even bigger difference when you have a claim.”

Never try and tackle insurance alone – it’s always best to stick with the experts! Insurance brokers like Kane can always ensure you’re getting the best coverage for your particular property. No property is stock standard, so why would you settle for stock standard insurance?

DIY jobs: How can they affect a building inspection report?

We Kiwis love a bit of DIY. For a lot of things, there’s nothing that a bit of duct tape and number 8 wire can’t fix. But unfortunately, DIYs on a house are a different matter. Unapproved DIYs can severely impact how a house appears in a building inspection report – which might in turn impact the house’s value and its potential buyers. 

It’s so important to be clued up about DIY jobs, the regulations and rules they require and how they might affect your home in the long run. Asking yourself a couple of questions before picking up the hammer can make all the difference. 

Do I need building consent?

You might be surprised at the amount of DIY jobs that actually require building or resource consents – particularly if you’re changing the layout of your home or adding space through a garage or deck. Anything you do has to meet the Building Code requirements. So while you can do a project like a fence or retaining wall yourself, you may require a building consent from your local council, it might also be prudent to check boundary pegs to ensure you are building on your side of the boundary. 

If you’ve got even the smallest bit of doubt, it’s best to contact the council and ask directly – they’ll be able to tell you what’s what so you can be sure you’re not doing any jobs that are going to get you into trouble later!

A common issue I see in properties is the improper installation of pergolas. A lot of people add them for shade, but they also often add to the site coverage (which normally requires council permission and isn’t always allowed). Most of the time, the council turns a blind eye. But sometimes you might be asked to take it down if it’s considered too close to a boundary or affects site coverage – like the whole ordeal one man went through last year on his property. 

DIYs are fun, and if you’ve got the skills, permission and resources, they can save you a whole heap of money. But it’s always best to approach them with caution and make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before getting to work. 

What are you/your lender/your lawyer comfy with?

It’s also important to consider what your lender and lawyer are comfortable and happy with – as well as yourself. 

Some lenders have been known to refuse to lend if any non-compliant DIY jobs have been done on a house, even if the work is perfect. Each lender has their own criteria – so that’s why I’d always recommend checking with them as well as the council. 

I know of a young couple in West Auckland who were super excited to be buying their first home. The only problem was that the home had a carport that had been converted into a garage. The lender made them take the door off before agreeing to lend – adding a whole lot of unnecessary fuss and stress to what could have been an easy process.

How does a building inspection report fit in?

During a building inspection, we’ll highlight anything that we think might cause an issue – and some shoddily done DIY could definitely feature in that. Likewise, if there’s anything we think wouldn’t be compliant, we’ll make a note about it. From a buyer’s perspective, this is great – as it highlights exactly what might cause you issues with your lawyer or lender. From a seller’s perspective, that’s why it’s so important to ensure any DIY is compliant.

One note about property inspections though – it’s not our job to compare what we see to the property file. If you’re getting an inspection done, it’s so important that you compare your building inspection report and what’s on the site with the original property file. This will ensure you pick up on any unapproved renovations or additions to the house. A house is a big investment – you want to be sure you know everything about it before signing the dotted line!

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Building your network of property professionals

Working in the property inspection industry, I get the chance to meet and work with some great people. I’m pleased to have Simone Jonelle – Sales Manager at Bayleys Ellerslie and a longtime friend of mine – on the blog to share her expertise on the property industry.

The old saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. Over time, I’ve learnt that it takes a village when it comes to buying or selling a home as well!

During the often stressful experience of buying or selling a property (and even more so in the current environment), it’s so important to surround yourself with experts of the industry. Working with people who have experience, knowledge, and skills will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The reality is that no single person can know absolutely everything about the process, so building yourself a strong and varied network of knowledgeable people you trust is essential. 

So, which experts should be a part of your network when you next buy or sell?

A lawyer

There’s no way you should even consider purchasing a new home without a lawyer. Having a good lawyer to run you through the process, provide guidance, and check all the paperwork, ensures that you – and your investment – are protected. 

A mortgage broker

Understanding and managing a mortgage is a complicated process – especially if it’s your first home. You don’t always get the best deals from the bank, so an intelligent broker with the know-how will be able to find the best deal and mortgage structure for you. 

An insurance broker

An experienced insurance broker can ensure that both your income and mortgage are covered, and will always provide you with the best advice tailored to your situation. 

A property inspector

Purchasing or selling or home is a hefty investment, and you want to be sure you aren’t making a commitment to a home that’s going to give you any problems in the future. A qualified property inspector will be able to provide you with a comprehensive report and any advice on the state of your property, so you can be sure you’re going ahead knowing the condition of your purchase. 

A real estate agent

While some people like to go it alone, a professional and experienced real estate agent will make both the buying and selling experience so much easier. A real estate agent who understands your needs, wants, and style can take you to places you might not have even considered, or can get you into properties as soon as they’re listed. 

Why genuine relationships are so important

Relationships are at the heart of the property industry. Genuine relationships that involve the same interests, passions, and understanding can make your house selling and purchasing journeys so much more enjoyable and a lot less draining – especially when you know you are in expert hands. 

And you’ll be in much better shape for when you do next purchase or sell if you build those relationships and networks now. It’s never too early to start asking around and doing your research to figure out who your nearest experts are and who you might like to have alongside you. Building your network of knowledgeable, experienced and passionate individuals in the industry can take a little time, but it will make a whole heap of difference in the long run. 

What’s in the cost? How a quote for a property inspection report is calculated

So you’ve found your ideal home. Everything looks perfect, the real estate agent is happy, and you’re keen to move into your new place. Not sure if the cost of a property inspection report is going to be worth waiting a little longer to sign on the dotted line?

I get it… buying a house is already a pretty big investment, and spending any more money on a home inspection might feel like the last thing you want to do. But, it’s important to enter into any agreements 100% prepared, which is why an inspection is so important. Here, I’ve outlined why a property inspection report costs what it does – and why the results outweigh any cost!

Time, time, time!

When you think of how long a property inspection might take, you might just consider the time spent on site doing the inspection and making notes. Any property inspector however can tell you that’s just the beginning! Writing up a report and ensuring that everything is correct is a hefty task, and one that requires a lot of attention to detail. 

The level of risk can also affect the cost of an inspection. If your property inspector is experienced, they’ll know immediately which houses are high risk and will take more time, and which are low risk. High risk properties will always cost a little more, just because there’s a lot more that needs checking.

It’s all in the details

With property inspections, there’s certainly not a one-size report that fits all. The cost of a building inspection can vary considerably depending on the age or size of the property, as well as the cladding and complexity of the home. There’s a lot of small details that can also make a big difference to the time it’ll take to finish a house inspection – a 2 bedroom bungalow can be no different cost wise to a 4 bedroom bungalow, but could be significantly different compared to a small 2 bedroom unit.

The quality of report

With most things, you get what you pay for. A property inspection report is no different. If you’re wanting a quality, in-depth and comprehensive report from a qualified inspector, you can’t be expecting it for a couple hundred dollars. 

A property inspection report might seem costly, but just consider the cost of going without one. It might save a bit of money now, but it certainly won’t save you anything in the long run if your new home has an expensive problem you don’t discover until after moving in!

Having the peace of mind that your new home is safe with no hidden problems is a priceless feeling amongst the hustle and bustle of moving. I wouldn’t even question it – the cost of a home inspection is always worth it compared to the cost of big repairs.

Have any more questions about a quote for your potential property? Get in touch with us for some honest advice.

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Rental rule changes: what they mean for investors and how a property inspection report can make all the difference

For both investors and tenants, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the be all and end all of anything involving a rental property. Having stayed mostly the same since its introduction in 1986, any changes to it are going to have a huge impact on the responsibilities landlords and tenants have to each other.

And with a new decade comes new rental rules, apparently. Last November the government announced a whole heap of ‘practical changes’ to the act in order to make renting fairer and more secure for tenants, and they’re set to be rolled out within the first half of this year. So, how will these changes affect investors and how can a property inspection report help? 

What’s changing and why?

The main amendments to the RTA are: 

  • Limiting rent increases to once every 12 months rather than every six months.
  • The banning of rental bidding.
  • Ending no-cause evictions (at the moment, periodic tenancies can be terminated without a reason as long as the landlord provides 90 days notice – now, the RTA will have a set list of possible reasons for termination). 
  • Letting tenants make minor changes or add small fittings to the property (like baby proofing, hanging pictures or installing fire alarms). 
  • An increase to financial penalties (the Tenancy Tribunal can now award compensation or order work to be done up to the value of $100,000 instead of $50,000). 

The reality is that when the act was first introduced in the 80s, renting was generally a temporary situation for many people. But with house prices rising increasingly in recent years, there are now around 1.5 million New Zealanders living in rental properties – and plenty of those will spend their entire lifetimes in rented homes. With more and more people relying on rentals, the government decided that it was time for changes to make renting more fair and secure for tenants (in theory).

What does this all mean for investors?

While all of these changes make renting more comfortable for tenants, they also mean that as an investor, you’ll have less control over what is a pretty hefty investment. The main concern is around the lack of no-cause evictions and how it’ll become much more difficult to evict anti-social tenants. It will mean you’ll have to be more selective about who you have living in your properties and approach new tenancies with a bit more caution then you might already. 

What can you do from here?

While some commentators predict some investors will sell up because of the law changes, there’s no need to make any rash decisions. New Zealand still has a growing population and a strong economy, which bodes well for the future of the property market. They’ll always be people looking for rental properties, and with the right precautions and preparation, property investing should still be relatively smooth sailing.

To prepare yourself for the changes, it’s best to be a bit more vigilant. That might mean doing more extensive interviews with possible tenants, as well as having a building inspection completed on any property you’re looking to purchase as an investment.

A building inspection not only gives you an idea of the general condition of the property, it also lets you know what kind of work might need to be done in the future to meet tenant needs. A thorough property inspection report completed by a qualified inspector can identify problems before they get too serious and ensure that you’re not over-capitalising on something that will cost you more in the future, avoiding a messy and potentially expensive situation. 

Property laws can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act between what’s best for the tenant and what’s best for the landlord, and these particular changes may be leaning towards benefitting the tenant more than you right now. But, being a property investor and a landlord has always been a challenging yet rewarding job – and there’s no reason you can’t keep reaping the rewards.

Get a free quote for your pre-purchase property inspection now:

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What a lawyer helps with when you’re purchasing a new home

The process of purchasing your new home can often be an intimidating one. There’s plenty of jargon, complicated procedures, and a big financial commitment involved. Having a lawyer along for the ride is crucial – but what exactly are they looking for when they’re helping you complete your purchase? 

While you don’t need to understand the ins and outs of everything a lawyer will be looking at (we don’t all have law degrees!), it can be helpful to have some idea of what documents they’re going through. After speaking to my lawyer, Campbell McGill of Duncan King Law, about why property inspections are so important, I asked him for his expertise around what a lawyer looks at throughout the purchase process.

Certificate of Title

The Certificate of Title is the key legal component of any house purchase. It’s a significant document that identifies the ownership of a property, and has different subsections depending on the type of property in question. 

Campbell will normally pay particular attention to unique aspects that are registered on the title, such as easements, rights of way, and whether any other people may have an interest in the land. He’ll also check the cross-lease plan, and that the shape of the house in the plan matches the house in real life.

Terms of contracts

A lawyer will review the terms of the contract between the parties involved in the purchase. They’ll ensure the right bit of land is being bought, that all references match up, and that you know what the agreement might be conditional on – so that you’re fully aware of what you’re getting into before going ahead with the purchase. 

LIM reports

Campbell will also go through any other documents that are sent to him, like a LIM report. LIM – short for a Land Information Memorandum – is a document that summarises all the information the local council has on a property. It’ll normally include information about resource and building consent, and whether the property has had any alterations. It might mention the presence of any hazardous substances, whether there any overdue rates on the property, and any plumbing and drainage information. 

The agreement for sale and purchase will explain any tenancies on the property and the chattels that are included with the house – such as the stove, light fixtures, and curtains. It’s important to be familiar with all the chattel details so you know exactly what is and isn’t included in your new home!

A lawyer will spend time reviewing all of these documents thoroughly, and they’ll report back if they think there’s anything out of order. 

“The right advice about the documents is immensely important before taking any other steps,” says Campbell. “Otherwise you can run into problems later.”

What happens if you don’t get the right advice?

The most common mistake people make when purchasing a home is signing an unconditional agreement without taking the right precautions – whether that’s not getting advice from your lawyer about the documents mentioned previously, or not getting a pre-purchase property inspection. 

Signing an unconditional agreement is exactly like what it sounds. It means you absolutely have to complete the purchase of the home, unless there are unusual exceptional circumstances.

“Even so, after signing the agreement you have a serious obligation to satisfy your conditions,” explains Campbell. “You can’t just sign it and change your mind, as in extreme cases the vendor can ask for proof that you can’t meet the particular condition.” 

For example, if you say you couldn’t get finance to complete the purchase, a vendor may require you to provide proof from your bank to ensure there is no way the agreement can be met. It’s a pretty serious document, and should never be entered into lightly.

Not getting a property inspection on the house – or not fully understanding it when you’ve had one done – will mean you’re likely to encounter some serious problems after signing the unconditional agreement. Something seriously wrong with the property, such as unconsented building works, may mean you’ll struggle to obtain insurance or a loan from the bank. This will result in you being stuck in a bit of a limbo, which is not exactly the welcome you’d like to your brand new home!

Purchasing a new home is a big commitment, so make sure you know what you’re getting into. Getting the proper advice from a property lawyer right from the get go, and asking questions about anything you’re unsure of, will mean the journey to your brand new home should be as smooth as possible. 

Get a free quote for your pre-purchase property inspection now:

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Your property season checklist

As the year winds down, it’s time to relax and reflect – for some people anyway! In the property industry, the summer real estate season is just beginning and it’s as busy as ever. Summer is always a good time to consider selling, so there are plenty of homes on the market. 

Selling or purchasing a home can be stressful whenever, but it’s difficult to manage the process when you’re also wanting to spend time enjoying the gorgeous summer days. Nobody wants to miss out on the best time of year by being overloaded with paperwork and to-do lists, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you out – whether you’re purchasing or selling. 

Purchasing a new home

Purchasing a new home can often be pretty daunting – especially if you’re new to the property market. We’ve highlighted the main things you need to get sorted before you sign below the dotted line – so you can spend less time stressing and more time out in the sun. 

  1. Figure out your price range
    • Have a look at your income and your expenses to know what you can afford and what you’ll be able to repay. A financial advisor or mortgage broker can also provide some professional advice as to what price you should be considering. 
  2. Talk to a lawyer
    • It’s important to have a lawyer’s insight throughout your property purchase. They can help you understand the ins and out of your potential new home before you sign any unconditional agreements and make a commitment. 
  3. Get your finance pre-approved
    • Do some research on different banks or talk to a mortgage broker so they can find the best mortgage rate for you. It’s no easy decision, so take the time to find the right agreement – sometimes people find a better deal at a different bank from their usual. 
  4. Pay attention to all the fine print
    • Read anything multiple times before signing it to make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re getting yourself into. A home is an expensive commitment – one that most of us will only make once or twice in our life – so you want to make sure it’s right!
  5. Get a property inspection before committing to your chosen property
    • While you may have fallen in love with the perfect property, you never know what problems the house might have. Get a professional property inspector to run an experienced eye over the home to identify any problems before committing to it.
  6. Now you can fall in love with your property!
    • We’ve often seen people get too emotionally attached to their potential home before finding out it’s got some irreparable problems. If you’ve had all the proper advice from your lawyer and a thorough report from a property inspector, then you’re good to go! Get ready to bid or make an offer, and fall in love with your new home. 

Selling a home

Selling your home is a long process and something you need to start thinking about well in advance. We’ve created a checklist of most of the main things you should be doing to get your home ready to sell. 

  1. Check that no non-permitted or non-consented work has been done on your property
    • Have a look at your home’s property file from your local council – it’ll have all the information about every bit of work that’s been done to your property so you can check everything matches up. Have a look at our previous blog all about non-consented work to find out more. 
  2. Sort any repairs to your home
    • Have any loose door knobs or cracked tiles you’ve been meaning to fix for ages? Get those sorted before you sell to add value to your home. 
  3. Give your home some TLC
    • Sometimes a fresh coat of paint or a polish can make all the difference for a potential buyer. Have a look around your home and identify any areas that might need a little bit of extra love. 
  4. Talk to a real estate agent
    • A real estate agent will get the process moving forward, meaning you can relax and enjoy your summer as much as possible. Once you’ve decided on a method of selling – exclusive listing, auction, tender or open listing – they can help sort the rest. 
  5. Get a pre-sale property inspection
    • Although property inspections are normally completed for buyers, it can save you a whole heap of hassle to get a pre-sale property inspection before selling. That way, you’ll get an idea of what needs to be fixed and what buyers may try to use when negotiating – so you won’t have any nasty surprises!
  6. Consider staging
    • You might want to think about staging – even a few rooms – if your home is particularly high value. The living room, dining area, and kitchen are normally areas that people give a little spruce-up. 
  7. Get the final utilities sorted
    • Once your house has been sold (congrats!), the work isn’t entirely over. There’s the pre-settlement inspection, a final check that all utilities have been paid or sorted, the move-out, and a quick clean to make sure your home is nice for its new owners. 
  8. All sorted? Hand over the keys, relax, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Whether you’re purchasing or selling a home, following a checklist and keeping on top of things will ensure the process is as stress-free as possible. With years of experience in the Auckland property market, The Property Inspectors have the experienced eyes to make sure your home is good to go this summer property season, so get a free property inspection quote now.

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Should you get a pre-purchase property inspection? A lawyer’s perspective.

A pre-purchase property inspection is one of the most important steps to take before purchasing your dream home – not only for you, but also for the lawyer guiding you through the purchasing process. I spoke to my lawyer, Campbell McGill of Duncan King Law, to get his perspective on property inspections, why they’re so important for his clients, and how you should go about them.

Experienced eyes

While a lawyer may know the ins and outs of your potential new home on paper, lawyers rarely get the opportunity to visit the house in person. So, it’s important to get experienced eyes on the property that both you and your lawyer can trust. 

“Building inspectors have the skills required to spot things that people without the experience would probably miss,” says Campbell. “First home buyers, in particular, often don’t know what to look out for in a potential home, which is why it’s important to get some property inspection advice as early in the purchasing process as possible.”

Any questions about the report – from both you and your lawyer – can always be posed back to the building inspector. It’s crucial that you understand the report in its entirety before making an agreement unconditional, so that you don’t find yourself in a predicament later on. 

“The building inspector knows what they saw and the significance of any issues they spotted, so their advice and insight is essential for the process.”

Knowing the ins and outs of your property

Issues, like wonky piling or cracks in foundations, don’t arise all of the time – Campbell estimates between 25-30% of all property inspections may reveal problems. Even so, property inspections are immensely useful in getting to know the details of your future home, as well as the small things that you might need to pay attention to in the future. 

“Inspections are useful not just as a tool for getting out of completely disastrous contracts, but are also good for identifying things that might just need fixing,” explains Campbell. “They’re an opportunity to make sure the property is in as good a condition as possible before buying it.”

Some small issues may just be things you should know about fixing or renovating in the future, like doors that don’t close properly or ranch sliders that may not open smoothly. Other problems in the property inspection may be ones you can ask the vendor to fix. Campbell recently worked on a property in which the kitchen fan was venting into the roof rather than to the exterior of the property. They were able to ask the vendor to repair the vent and the process quickly continued towards the purchase. 

Legal protection 

Property inspections should happen as close to the beginning of the purchasing process as possible – before an auction as well as before making an agreement unconditional. Your lawyer may recommend a condition in the agreement dictating that an inspection will take place within a specific timeframe – normally 10 working days. 

“The best advice is to get the right advice as early as possible in the process,” says Campbell. Otherwise, mistakes might happen that are difficult to fix. 

Without a property inspection, you can get into trouble before you even purchase the property. Not doing all the research on the house or taking the right precautions before signing an unconditional agreement means that you may be stuck with an unfit house. Even more awkward can be being unable to actually complete the purchase; some banks may not be willing to finance your purchase if you haven’t had the property inspected. 

“A lot of people just don’t know how to go about the process, so it’s important to get the best advice from your lawyer and from a property inspector right from the beginning.”

Found the house you love and thinking of purchasing it? The Property Inspectors have been working alongside lawyers for years, and are familiar with the ins and outs of what can often be an intimidating and confusing process. With a pre-purchase property inspection and expert advice from your lawyer, purchasing your dream home will be easier for everyone involved. 

Get a free quote for your pre-purchase property inspection now:

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Getting a pre-purchase house inspection when the home has a flat roof

When you think of 70s houses, what comes to mind? Groovy wallpapers, crazy colour combinations, and patterned carpets?

While all these are true, another lesser-known feature of many 70s homes is the flat roof. Flat roofs were considered modern and stylish back in the day, and while they still look great (unlike patterned carpets, which haven’t really stood the test of time!) they can cause some problems for homeowners as time goes by.

Now that it’s approaching almost 50 years since the 70s, a lot of houses built then are getting to the point of needing roof repairs or a replacement. If you’re considering purchasing a home with a flat roof, it’s a good idea to know all about the condition of the roof and how you would go about replacing it if needed – as well as why you need a pre-purchase house inspection.

Why flat roofs can cause problems

When I say flat roof, no roof is actually entirely flat. Every roof needs fall to ensure that rainwater and debris have somewhere to flow to. However, some homeowners find issues with a roof that isn’t pitched enough, as water can pool on the roof and leak into the house. A leaky home is very worrying – not only can water cause damage to the interior of a building, it isn’t great for your health either. If you’re worried about your home’s roof or the roof of a home you might be purchasing, have a look at one of our earlier blogs all about roofing red flags.

Changes in building codes

Houses with flat roofs were likely built in a time when building codes were a little different. In the 70s, roofs only required 1° of pitch/fall, whereas now iron roofs need to have a minimum of 3°. This can cause some grief when it comes to replacing a flat roof. As old roofs don’t comply with current building code regulations, you can’t replace like for like. This means you would need to increase the pitch of the roof to comply with the current building code and the roof manufacturer’s warranty (which would require a building consent). This would likely carry additional costs, such as new detailed plans of how the increase in pitch is to be carried out etc.  All in all, this can add up and give your wallet a bit of a hit!

Repairing or replacing?

If your roof is damaged and leaking, it’s crucial to do something about the problem quickly – but a lot of people find it intimidating to replace a whole roof. After all, it’s a big and costly job! However, it’s becoming clearer by the day that it’s often better for your wallet, and sanity, to invest in a full roof replacement.

The reality is that no roof lasts forever. No matter the house, the roof will need fully replacing eventually – if you get 50 years out of an iron roof you are doing well. The cost of replacing a roof is obviously dependent on size – an average 3 bedroom house can be anywhere from $10-20k, but can be more expensive for an older low pitch roof.

While the cost of replacing a roof is high, it’s a cost you have to consider against the annoyance of constantly patching up leaks. Individual repairs will always be cheaper in the short-term, but they’ve become more expensive in recent years and can really add up if you’re constantly having to get problems fixed. The health and safety costs for workers who are working on a roof (i.e. the scaffolding) are pretty much the same regardless of whether they’re working on one section or replacing the whole thing. If it’s looking like the roof will need a lot of repairs, it may be better in the long run to commit to replacing it all instead.

Before you consider purchasing a house with a flat roof, the first step is to find out when it was last replaced. If the roof is approaching the 50 year mark, it’s likely going to need replacing while you’re the owner of it – which is something to take seriously and to make sure you’ll have the budget for.

Getting a pre-purchase house inspection

If you’re wanting to make an offer on a property, it’s vital that you have the home properly inspected before you sign above the dotted line. A home is often the biggest investment any of us will ever make, so it’s important to make sure it’s not going to give you any trouble.

A pre-purchase house inspection is a thorough inspection of the house – roof and all – and can pick up on anything that may cause a problem in the foreseeable future. While a roof is often out of sight and out of mind, it is one of the most important features to keep your home warm, dry, and safe and ensure that it will keep doing its job for years to come!

If you’re looking at purchasing a house with a flat roof, get in touch today to have your pre-purchase house inspection sorted.

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Auckland building inspections: why you still need one with a building warranty

Sorting out a building warranty on your home build or renovation can be a daunting experience. With plenty of jargon and complicated words, it can be hard to know what’s what and how a building warranty might affect you – and since any building work on your home is likely to be a big financial commitment, you want to make sure it all goes to plan. Alongside a building warranty, it’s also crucial to get a property inspection done once your build is complete to get a second opinion on the quality of the work that’s been done. 

The importance of a building warranty

A building warranty is immensely important if you are contracting anyone to work on your home. You’ll find great information on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website, especially about implied warranties. 

Implied warranties are designed to protect your residential building work, whether you have a contract or not. They are automatic and cover almost all aspects of building work – from compliance with the building code to good workmanship, and even the timely completion of your building work. Breaching these warranties basically means breaching a contract. 

However, it’s important to remember that a building warranty is only as good as the company behind it. Nowadays, it feels like we hear more and more horror stories of construction companies and builders going out of business before the build is completed. Nobody wants this to happen, and nobody wants to have to deal with a warranty dispute! It’s a good idea to do plenty of research before committing to a building company. Get feedback from people who’ve used them, read reviews, and try to meet them before you select them to work on your home. Never a guarantee but is a good place to start.

Building warranties

An example of a building warranty is offered by Master Builders. While being a member of the Master Builders group doesn’t guarantee a builder is an absolute expert in their field, selecting a builder who is a registered Master Builder means their work comes with certain assurances. If your builder goes out of business, you will still receive insurance from Master Builders. There is also the comfort of them being from a well-regarded organisation with a good reputation. I am not endorsing them, but it is an example of something to consider.

There are many building franchises out there so do your homework – the cheapest price may not be the best way to decide who to use to build or renovate your home. You want the building process to be as stress-free as possible.

Auckland building inspections: you still need one!

When your build goes to plan and you’re happy with the way your home is looking, it’s easy to rush in and forget about anything else. However, it’s still a good idea to have a professional give a second opinion on the quality of your build. A property inspector carrying out a building inspection can give your home a thorough inspection and provide a property inspection report. They’ll let you know if there’s anything that might be of concern or may identify things you may want to bring up prior to handing over that last payment. The inspection will be visual, but the workmanship may be an indication of the quality of the builder and whether things need to be rectified. 

While it may seem unnecessary to get a house inspection on a brand new house, I have inspected many new houses which vary from well-constructed to poorly constructed with things missed by the council inspectors. Find out more about why a property inspection on a new home or new renovation is important here or request a free Auckland building inspections quote below.

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