• Make sure you buy a home not a headache

    14 Feb, 2013 | 60 views

    WHEN purchasing a property, it is important to be aware of potential pit falls.

    Conversely, sometimes houses that you wouldn’t let your mother-in-law live in, can be fantastic investment opportunities with great financial returns. But how do you tell the difference between a house that is a plain ugly money pit, to one that is an ugly duckling ready to bloom?

    Good bones in any building are vital, so structure and layout are the most important elements to consider. These will cost the most to repair if there are any issues with either.

    What to look out for: obvious signs of underlying problems such cracks larger than 1cm in walls, termite damage, or irregular flooring levels.

    Also, visible signs of mould on walls or floors means that moisture is getting in somewhere. It could be rising damp, or indicate that there is a hole in the roof or problem with drainage of guttering.

    If the layout of the property is not good, consider the cost involved in knocking down, or adding in, walls. This can quickly add considerable dollars to your renovation budget. Removing a load bearing wall for example will add thousands of dollars as you will have engineering, as well as construction costs involved.

    Flooring is also important to study. Sometimes carpet hides a multitude of sins! Sloping flooring can indicate that previous additions or building work has been completed. Lots of different floor levels usually means lots of little extensions. These are usually done by a different builder each time, and the more builders, the more chance of the work not being completed to a professional standard.

    For these reasons, before investing your hard earned money into a property, its wise to organize a building inspection report that will put your mind at ease.

    Things that shouldn’t concern you as much as structural issues are cosmetic ones. Paint colours, tiles and other hard surfaces are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix to suit your personal taste. Similarly, built in shelving, wardrobes and cabinets, are all comparatively simple to remove and repair.

    Also, look for period features and styles that may have been concealed. Decorative features such as ceiling roses and fire places are fashionable once more, and bringing these original elements back to life can add value to your home.

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