Building inspections and 5 reasons not to buy a house

At Melbourne House Check we are constantly finding problems in houses. While the vast majority of problems are minor, there are some defects that just can’t be ignored. When conducting house inspections in Melbourne, consideration needs to be given to the age of the house when assessing whether a defect is a major concern. For example a 60 year old house with a small crack in the brickwork should be assessed differently than a 3 year old house with the same defect. In summary, each house needs to be considered differently based on location, site positioning, construction method, workmanship, age, maintenance history and the existence of any timber pests.

Here are five “buyer beware” indicators:

  1. A wet subfloor should always be met with apprehension. The damage that a poorly drained site can have is often disastrous. Structural damage, fungal decay and damaging personal health effects are to name just a few.
  2. Widespread brickwork cracking can be extremely annoying. While the brickwork in brick veneer houses is non-structural above the floor line, it can be a costly process to rectify. Patching cracked brickwork is often just as noticeable as the original cracks, and because the cause of the problem is commonly foundation movement, patching is often a temporary fix. If a house you are considering has widespread brickwork cracking it is important to investigate the cause further.
  3. Asbestos was a widely used building material between 1960 – 1985. It has now been widely documented that asbestos is an extremely dangerous material, and while some studies show it’s safe to live with while dormant in a house, it will either vastly depreciate the value of a house or be a costly exercise if you wish to remove it. Be cautious if you suspect asbestos materials have been used in exterior cladding, roofing or insulation in houses that you are considering.
  4. Evidence of past termite treatments have either been installed as a preventative measure or an eradication procedure. It is important that an analysis is considered as to whether a house has active termites or has had active termites in the past. Termite activity is becoming increasingly common, so make sure you are fully informed as to the timber pest status of a house and be aware of termite baiting stations or termite treatment holes around the perimeter of a house.
  5. Houses that have been newly rendered and painted are the natural enemy of the modern building inspector. It makes it difficult to assess whether a house has structural defects that have been covered up in order to sell the house. Houses that have had such makeovers require much more thorough investigation.

At Melbourne House Check we are passionate about house inspection and investigation. These five cautions are only a few elements that need to be considered while inspecting a house. Please feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion about pre purchase building inspections in Melbourne. Call us on 1300 729 352, or send us an email here.


You can view our Google+ post on this matter also.