What to Look for When Buying
These are some areas and items to check during your inspection, but keep in mind that we have an over 500-point checklist when inspecting in and around the property. These are the tools that will be required:
Ladder — for the inspection of the roof space and on the roof, care must be taken if you intend to go on the roof as roof tiles can break under you weight, also wind/dampness and other factors can make it dangerous.
Torch — for the inspection of the roof space and subfloor area if the house is on stumps.
Screwdriver or small knife — for inspecting external timbers for the presence of timber rot or Termite activity.
Moisture meter — this tool is very useful for detecting rising/falling damp and costly problems in wet areas but can be too expensive for the limited use by you for a few New Home Inspections. It may be possible to hire one and, depending on the type of house construction, it is a must.
If a house is over 25 years old ,check for water colour (galvanised pipes present), pressure, hot water delivery rate and that annoying water hammer that can lead to leaks.
Check for levelness of floors, as this could be the result of foundation problems. If the rooms are (domed) and the middle of the room is higher than where walls are, then there is an issue with supports under these walls. It could also mean that the house has been re-stumped but not re-levelled, which usually costs extra.
Check around showers as these areas have the most problems. If timbers up against shower have swollen, then leaks are present and repairs are required.
Check fuse box to see if an RCD (residual current device) has been installed. If it is an older house, then this means an electrician has upgraded the electrical circuits. If all circuits are protected by the RCD, then the upgrade would have been within two years ago.
It was a council requirement about 18 years ago for all new dwellings and additions to have a safety switch fitted to power points only.
Check to see if timber architraves and skirting boards have been replaced or are different in some rooms. This could mean that they have been replaced due to termite activity.
heck to see if doors and windows function properly. If there is binding, then there has been movement under this area and it may require investigation.
Check for timber rot to windows and external doors as these can be expensive to repair or replace.
Check gutters and downpipes for paint bubbles or not a smooth surface; rusty gutters can be painted over to look like new.
The best way to check gutters is to look inside them with a ladder. You don’t necessarily have to get on the roof, just stand on the ladder. The average single-storey house will cost around $2000 to replace gutters and downpipes.
Check all surfaces around the dwelling and make sure they don’t fall towards the building without drainage; this can lead to foundation problems in the future.
Check for large trees around the dwelling closer than the same height of the house. If movement to external walls is present to these areas, then a root barrier system may be required between the tree and dwelling. These are deep trenches filled with concrete to cutoff present roots and stop others from growing towards the dwelling.
Check for paint blistering to external walls if rendered. This can mean that there is a rising damp issue.
If you are on the roof, then check the roof line for low spots or waves. This could mean problems with the roof structure or foundation problems.
Check all timbers to outbuildings for rot or termite activity. A popular place for termites is in sheds or garages with timbers that are very low to the ground.
Check for packing on top of concrete stumps as this could mean that there is a problem with the foundation soil under the stump.
Check under bathrooms for leaks or watermarks to flooring or timbers.
Check to see if the ground under the house is damp or wet. This could be caused by a drainage problem or leaking pipes.
If stumps are timber, then check to see if you are able to move them at ground level. Also, if decay is present to stump above the ground, this would indicate that some rot will be underground.
Check to see if insulation is present to ceilings or even under roofing material. If insulation is as high as ceiling joist (100mm), then it should be adequate.
Check for rust under roofing iron, especially where joins are in sheets.
Check to see if a black electrical cable is present. This means that the cable is old and may require replacement.
Check condition of ducting as it may be old and has deteriorated.
Check to see if the original low-pressure hot water unit is still in use for rust. Replacement is usually not far away.
If there is no insulation, then check that ceilings are hard up to ceiling joists and not dropping.