澳洲Australia property Alarm Bells!!! | Sydney

在澳大利亚


Hey everyone,

For the benefit of all newbie PIers out there I thought it would be helpful to list some of the warning or tell tale signs when at an inspection of a potential ("yep that looks like a nice, gotta buy it" kinda) house. As a novice it can be easy enough to overlook stuff that could prove very costly and dampen one's spirit making them regret ever taking the plunge! :(

I'll kick off with a couple.....

Smells
Of course there are the obvious smells that sellers and their agents will employ to make the property appear more homely (ie. freshly brewed coffee, baked cake or biscuits) or sweetly scented with burning incense. But what about that smell of dampness (mould) where is that likely to be the strongest and how can you tell if it is the result of the house owner forgetting to take a load of (day old) washing out of the machine or if there is a serious problem? Look around, but make sure you do some serious sniffing as well. Did you know that it pays to press your nose up to a wall that is freshly painted? Not saying you should shove your face into every wall but if you suspect even a hint of mould (paint won't mask it completely) then better to do some sniffing before the seller does some stiffing (of you)! :(

Pools
Friend of ours recently bought a house with a pool, and when they attended the house inspection the pool looked gorgeous, so blue and inviting. 30 days later, come settlement day after picking up their keys, they walked into the backyard to see the water was no longer a lovely sky blue but instead it had cleared and they could see straight down to the bottom of the pool which looked horrible, very dirty and heavily stained!!! It was later discovered that the sellers had put a pool chemical into the water ("Party Blue") which colours the water for up to several days! In this case the colourant was used not only to make the water aesthetically appealling, but to hide the badly stained and cracked pool surface which was very old and needed major repair done. It was a small investment at $19.95 for the seller, and a huge expense for our friends at $18,000!! :mad: Take a sample of the pool water and get it tested by experts who can tell you what it needs and what is in it, especially what it could be hiding!! :eek:

Over to you (other old pros) out there....;)  

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Opening the meter box will give you a basic indication of the state of the house's wiring.

I was a sparkie in another life so i had a better idea but its worth a quick glimpse for the average house looker.

Everyone knows about pulling the corner of the carpet up to check out floor condition. Usually its up already in Sydney's inner west.

Plenty more............  

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evand said: ↑
Opening the meter box will give you a basic indication of the state of the house's wiring.

I was a sparkie in another life so i had a better idea but its worth a quick glimpse for the average house looker.

Everyone knows about pulling the corner of the carpet up to check out floor condition. Usually its up already in Sydney's inner west.

Plenty more............Click to expand...
Hey evand, you'd be surprised at how many newbies don't actually know to check the simplest of things like that. It's investors who've run around the block a couple of times that know which corner needs turning or looking around....those just starting off are too pre-occupied with getting there, that they miss the obvious little things that can trip them up and really hurt!! :eek:  

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Pick up on any extensions, which are possibly dodgy or illegal:

- Stand at the back fence and look back at the property's roof for any changes in tile colours or levels.

- Different floor types/levels within the house. Eg: Floorboards throughout most which then change to particleboard with carpet/lino over the top.

- Joins on the interior and exterior walls and changes in construction eg: Render to plasterboard.

- Different aged fittings in parts of the house, new powerpoints, lights etc which are not carried through to the rest. Different interior doors or handles. However this may of course just have been a reno.

- Then of course have a look in the contract and see what the outline of the house should look like :)

Note: Was looking around Granville area last year and almost every place had extensions.  

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So whats wrong with an extension?


BuildingBlocks said: ↑
Pick up on any extensions, which are possibly dodgy or illegal:

- Stand at the back fence and look back at the property's roof for any changes in tile colours or levels.

- Different floor types/levels within the house. Eg: Floorboards throughout most which then change to particleboard with carpet/lino over the top.

- Joins on the interior and exterior walls and changes in construction eg: Render to plasterboard.

- Different aged fittings in parts of the house, new powerpoints, lights etc which are not carried through to the rest. Different interior doors or handles. However this may of course just have been a reno.

- Then of course have a look in the contract and see what the outline of the house should look like :)

Note: Was looking around Granville area last year and almost every place had extensions.Click to expand...
 

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Get up into the attic for a look (byo ladder if you have to).

Get under the house if you can- look for wet spots leakng drains or signs of previous sewer overflow from the sump.

Sticking windows are no fun to repair.

Look under rugs for holes in floor (yep I was punk'd by that on my 1st home).

Fresh paint gets my attention.

Bring a marble to see if polished floors are level.


Check that water, stove toilet etc are working and taps (hot and cold) are not dripping.

Check that light fittings on front door are actually connected (yep fell for that too).

Chat to the neighbours.  

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[email protected] said: ↑
Check that water, stove toilet etc are working and taps (hot and cold) are not dripping.Click to expand...
Of these things, I can't believe that after years of being extremely thorough with such checks, in one place I bought last year I was in a hurry to make another appointment elsewhere that I completely forgot to check the stove! I made the next appointment alright, but my negligent PI DD cost me $800 for my haste! :mad:

Maybe then we should add to the list:

Take the time to be thorough and (at the very least) check everything that opens, shuts, switches on and off!  

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evand said: ↑
So whats wrong with an extension?Click to expand...
He talking about dodgy or illegal extensions..
Easier to pick up in the conveyancing stage i.e. if council don't have records of a back deck, granny flat etc then there is no council approval and likely not built to code. Some not so easy to pick up by the untrained eye.

Another trick is picking up works carried out by an owner builder who haven't disclosed the fact that they're an owner builder. If they don't make this disclosure they can be sued for any faults, hence becomes a good bargaining tool.  

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Nice thread Monopoly - well done for initiating.


As per CU post, I'd recommend ditching the suit / high heels and sunglasses. If you're going to inspect a property, get serious.


This assumes of course you already have past the obligatory stages of your DD with things such as location / zoning / land value / block size.....all the big important stuff that hover in the 100's of thousands and make up 85 or 90% of the value of the property....and now you are down to the tiddly stuff worth 10's of thousands.


Go in overalls, boots
Take a good ladder / flashlight / screwdriver / small hairdryer

Check the walls. Are they wavey or straight ?? Ignore the fluffy girly paintings and decorations, they won't be there on settlement day.

Get up into the ceiling cavity
....check those beams that are holding your roof up.
....Go outside if dodgy and eyeball the tiles for any dips.
....check the old horsehair draped over holding the ceiling up
....check the wiring condition. Is it old 1930's brown Bakerlite strewn everywhere, or is it new wiring neatly pinned to the beams insulated with up to spec coded insulation
....peer into the corner for any tell-tale signs of vermin, especially balls of old newspaper right in the hard to get at corners

Get under the floor if possible.
.....Wet patches anywhere are not good.
.....check for smells - vermin again.
.....check the floorboards from underneath for white ants.

Get up on the roof ;
.....check if gutters are full of leaves, dirt, even weeds and gardens growing in them
.....eyeball if downpipes are actually at the low point of the gutter - most aren't. This is the # 1 reason why gutters deteriorate. All of my houses, bar none, have the downpipes at the high point. All of my roof plumbers must assume water runs uphill.
.....check that the mortar on the tiles at the joins is intact. Most are cracked.

Check the floor is level ;
.....if you can feel it is wobbly, then it definitely is - walk away.


"Look after the roof and the roof will look after you" is my motto with all my properties.  

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Dazz said: ↑
Nice thread Monopoly - well done for initiating. Thanks :)

As per CU post, I'd recommend ditching the suit / high heels and sunglasses. If you're going to inspect a property, get serious.
Oh come on, what's wrong with doning the Armani suit, the Prada heels, D&G sunnies and/or even flashing the Rolex??!!! You gotta look the part right??? :p

This assumes of course you already have past the obligatory stages of your DD with things such as location / zoning / land value / block size.....all the big important stuff that hover in the 100's of thousands and make up 85 or 90% of the value of the property....and now you are down to the tiddly stuff worth 10's of thousands.


Go in overalls, boots
Take a good ladder / flashlight / screwdriver / small hairdryer

Check the walls. Are they wavey or straight ?? Ignore the fluffy girly paintings and decorations, they won't be there on settlement day.

Get up into the ceiling cavity But not in a skirt!!! :eek:
....check those beams that are holding your roof up.
....Go outside if dodgy and eyeball the tiles for any dips.
....check the old horsehair draped over holding the ceiling up
....check the wiring condition. Is it old 1930's brown Bakerlite strewn everywhere, or is it new wiring neatly pinned to the beams insulated with up to spec coded insulation
....peer into the corner for any tell-tale signs of vermin, especially balls of old newspaper right in the hard to get at corners

Get under the floor if possible.
.....Wet patches anywhere are not good.
.....check for smells - vermin again.
.....check the floorboards from underneath for white ants.

Get up on the roof ; But not in a skirt!!! :eek:
.....check if gutters are full of leaves, dirt, even weeds and gardens growing in them
.....eyeball if downpipes are actually at the low point of the gutter - most aren't. This is the # 1 reason why gutters deteriorate. All of my houses, bar none, have the downpipes at the high point. All of my roof plumbers must assume water runs uphill.
.....check that the mortar on the tiles at the joins is intact. Most are cracked.

Check the floor is level ;
.....if you can feel it is wobbly, then it definitely is - walk away.


"Look after the roof and the roof will look after you" is my motto with all my properties.Click to expand...
Great points, but Geez Dazz, I suggested being thorough not wreck the joint!! :p  

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Dazz said: ↑
Take a good ladder / flashlight / screwdriver / small hairdryer.....Click to expand...
What's the hairdryer for?  

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Gools said: ↑
What's the hairdryer for?Click to expand...
You gotta look good while doing it!  

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Gools said: ↑
What's the hairdryer for?Click to expand...
Plugging into the power points to make sure they work.  

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Yes - thank you Kesse....for checking all the power points work, rather than just sitting there innocently winking back at you.  

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- Check with local council on any future developments in the wings. I can think of a quiet, semi-rural street (beautiful big homes on around an acre of land) in which almost every second house is up for sale? Why? I'd say it's because a major developer has put in an application for a massive housing estate that's only entry and exit point is via this particular quiet, semi rural street.

- When it comes to the neighbours, don't just look to each side of the house - if there are houses behind, check them out too. I was dead-keen on a property once until I took a drive down the street behind the one I wanted to buy in and saw the dump of a house with smashed windows and old car bodies out the front (you know the sort) that it backed onto. I had nightmare visions of tenants constantly breaking leases and drove away from it as fast (and as legally ;) as I could!  

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evand said: ↑
So whats wrong with an extension?Click to expand...
As to the ones seen the last few months

1. built under council flood height requirements

2. used soft timbers instead of treated timbers for upstairs balcony

3. built over manhole  

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Dazz said: ↑
Yes - thank you Kesse....for checking all the power points work, rather than just sitting there innocently winking back at you.Click to expand...
We use a mobile charger - more discreet and less open to strange looks  

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chilliblue said: ↑
more discreet and less open to strange looksClick to expand...
.....mate, I'm about as opposite to discreet as you can get, and with a rough head like mine I get strange looks even when I don't [email protected]

If they invented a plug in dildo rather than all of these handy little battery powered numbers, I'd go in with that, one of those pink flouro jiggly numbers. Bewdifool...  

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This is what we use when looking. Cannot remember where we picked it from.

Doors
• Does each door panel open and shut without obstruction of the door frame?
• Is the door panel a true rectangle shape or has it been planed to fit the frame?
Tip: Check for uneven gaps at the top and bottom of the door panel.
Tip: Check that the striker plate has not been adjusted within the door jamb.

Windows
• Attempt to open and close each window.
• Look for condensation and damp damage.
• Are there any cracked panels of glass?
Tip: Often timber frames are patched and painted with fiberglass filler, look for irregularities in the paint surface. Fiberglass filler and putties are only a short term repair they usually hide much worse damage.

Wall & Ceiling Surfaces
• From the door way openings look at the line of the wall is there any buckling.
• Solid brick walls may have damp issues, are there any mould stains or irregular areas of fresh paint.
• Check the level of the ceilings is even and consistent or is there a lot of patch repair and damp stains.
• If it is a solid brick wall check for damp and mould markings along the floor level.
Tip: Shine a torch from an angel at the wall and ceiling surfaces, this can highlight patch repairs and thin paint cover.
Tip: Sagging in the ceiling can indicate a past roof leak and should signal close attention to the condition of the roof and its performance.

Kitchen
• Look for damp stains at the junction of the splash back and kitchen sink.
• Check under the kitchen sink common leaks occur in the waste pipes.
• Take a hold of the plumbing from under the sink/bench top and give a firm but gentle shake to ensure the fittings are secure.
Tip: Many cook top exhaust systems are installed without an external vent. Open the cupboards above the exhaust system and look for signs of excess cooking fat. Is the cupboard shallow or has there been no feasible space for a flue to be provided. Check the roof line above the kitchen to see if an external flue exists above the location of the kitchen.

Bathroom(s)
• Turn taps on and off.
• Listen for water hammer.
• How long for hot water to start running?
• Check under sink for leaks.
• Check for any grout or sealant missing from the edge of shower bases, bath tubs and tiles.
• Check for installation of an exhaust fan.
• Check that shower screens open and close without damage.
Tip: Often tap handle leaks occur from behind the tiled surface. If there is good sub floor access and some one is with you ask them to turn the taps on and off as you look from under the house for any drips.

Laundry
• Usually the simplest of service areas to inspect check that the trough is secured in place, check for rust and ensure that there is a seal between the trough and the wall.
• The wall behind the trough should be tiled.
• For apartments pay particular attention to the location of an overflow drain pipe in the floor surface.
Tip: Make sure you open the door of the trough cupboard; some troughs are painted up for sale but the internal casing may be significantly affected by rust.

Toilet(s)
• Flush Toilet while viewing the area behind the seat look for leaks at the cistern and waste pipes. Aged rubber seals should be replaced.
• Check for excessive use of silicon sealant this is a sign of leakage and poor quality repair.
• Listen for water that is still running after the cistern has been filled It should come to a stop not continue forever.
Tip: Gently nudge your knee against the toilet pan, if it moves the mounting screws are loose and you will be prone to leakage from waste and cistern pipe seals. Secure and service seals.
Tip: The flush valve within a cistern requires servicing to ensure no water wastage occurs.

Plumbing Service
• Check the outgoing pipe at the water meter to determine the material used for the main supply line.
• Check waste pipes for cracks and broken seals.
Tip: Galvanised pipes are a cause of poor quality water and poor pressure; they should be updated for Copper or PVC. If the pipes are dirty scratch through the surface, a silver colour indicates galvanized pipe and copper colour, copper pipe.
Tip: It is only a licensed plumber whom can provide a truly professional accurate indication of the plumbing service. They will use specialized testing equipment and pressure tests and pin point exact location of leaks or failure in the waste plumbing. A typical pre-purchase building inspection will only provide a general overview.

Electrical Service
• Open the fuse box and observe whether it contains a fuse wire system or a modern circuit breaker system.
• Check for the physical presence of an Earth Leakage Safety Switch.
• If there is an opportunity to view the roof space or under house area look for the use of wiring cable that is of a white colour, this is usually the modern standard.
• Black coloured cable and the use of timber cable trays cause certain concern for the need of a wiring update.
Tip: Only a licensed electrician can provide an accurate test and assessment of a home wiring service and safety. A building inspector´s comments will only relate to a visual observation as to whether there have been wiring and or fuse box updates.
Tip: Make installation and testing of a Safety Switch a number one priority upon purchasing a new home.
Roof Frame
• Seek to determine the type of timber used. If possible access the roof space.
• Hardwood timber indicates that you may endure the sound of roof creaks and also cracks in ceiling plaster during the change of seasons.
• A Pine Timber is used in prefabricated trusses and is usually much more stable.
• View the roof from the street does it appear uniform or are there wave like patterns in the surface.
Tip: Pay close attention to areas around roof skylights and air conditioning services, poor quality trade services have been known to saw through critical roof timbers during installation.

Roof Cover & Drainage
• Check that Iron roofs are free of rust, pay close attention to the roof colour as it is not uncommon to find that owners have painted over rust damage.
• Look for faded colour on concrete tiles to indicate the need for new sealant.
• Look for cracked mortar pointing along the ridge, hip and valley tiles.
• Check of rust marks along valley iron, gutters and down pipes.
• Is there any rust or water marks on the timber and eave lining beneath the roof line, this indicates leakage?
• Check that down pipes are connected to a storm water pipe at ground level and not just left to discharge rain water at the base of the house.
Tip: Tiled roofs deteriorate with age also and concrete tiles in particular require new sealant after about 25 years, they otherwise can become porous and deteriorate at a rapid rate. The sealant then needs to be applied again every 7-10 years to ensure the material quality of the tile is preserved.
Tip: Terra cotta roof tiles that are older than 50 years of age have a very unpredictable performance quality and professional servicing becomes very costly, the tiles become very brittle and can not be walked on.

External Wall Surface
• Check the lines in the timber weather boards; they may have sagging or bowed lines if the structure has moved.
• Check for damp rot adjacent to window openings, plumbing and at ground level.
• Cracks in brick work that are of a significant concern would normally be obvious as large cracks. Pay particular attention around door and window openings, this is where the first signs of movement usually occurs.
• Scrape the mortar joins within a brick wall with a screwdriver, if it is removed freely and has a dusty quality. The joints may need to be raked and pointed with new mortar.
Tip: Damp rot usually starts at the join in timber weatherboard, timber at the corners of a house are at highest risk of having damp rot damage.
Tip: Pay close attention to walls adjacent to large trees for concern of the root structure causing damage.

Sub Floor Area
• Check the material quality of the stumps; probe the base of the stumps with a large screwdriver.
• Check the soil surface under the house for any water courses.
• If it is on a concrete slab check that garden bed levels are kept below the line of the internal floor level.
• There should be a fall in the surface of the ground adjacent to the building perimeter that directs surface water away from the house.
Tip: Concrete stumps are far superior in durability to timber stumps. Timber stumps that are older than 30 years almost certainly require replacement.  

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Dazz said: ↑
.....mate, I'm about as opposite to discreet as you can get, and with a rough head like mine I get strange looks even when I don't [email protected]

If they invented a plug in dildo rather than all of these handy little battery powered numbers, I'd go in with that, one of those pink flouro jiggly numbers. Bewdifool...Click to expand...
You may want to patent that idea  

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