There are two occasions when you need to have a building inspection: when you are about to sell your home and before your buy a house. If you have no intention of moving in or out but haven’t had a building inspection for years, it’s probably about time to do it.
There are a few signs that you probably need an expert eye and assessment of what needs repair or replacement. We’re going to deal with five of them.
Starting at the top, leak marks or watermarks, or mold on the ceiling are a telltale sign that you have cracked roof tiles or split shingles. A visual inspection of the exterior of the entire roof will normally reveal where the problem lies. Sometimes, it is only the moldy smell or the smell of damp in the air that is the first sign that the roof needs attention.
While you’re looking at the roof, check out the guttering too. Signs of rust might mean that water has infiltrated the roof space. Roof leaks might also cause damage to brick walls and plaster, and this might be evident from black mold marks on the interior or exterior walls.
Mice, rats, roaches, ants, termites, and snakes. These are creatures you don’t want to share your home with. At the first sign of any of these, you should schedule ethical building and pest services.
Pests breed (some of them very quickly!), and are capable of causing considerable structural damage. If the house you’re thinking of buying is a wooden frame one, we recommend you have a full inspection for termites and fungal damage in particular. Also, ask for pre-purchase building and timber pest reports.
3. Electrical Wiring
Nothing smacks of potential problems with electrical wiring that old-fashioned light switches in a “charming old home”. Any system that is decades old needs updating for reasons of safety. Aside from our reliance on electricity in this, our digital world, there’s no point in having a potential fire hazard on your hands.
4. Building Inspection to Verify Structural Integrity
Large cracks in the walls, particularly jagged or diagonal ones, might be indicative of a structural problem. Perhaps the soil is clay, or unstable and the foundations have either shifted or sunk. Since most building inspections including an inspection of the immediate surroundings of the building in question, there will be clues as to the nature of the structural problem.
It could well be that the house was badly built in the first place. In which case, you would be wise not to buy it.
5. Windows and Doors Don’t Close Easily
Difficulty in opening or closing windows or doors with wooden frames might be more than a case of poor quality wood. They could indicate a shift in the structure (wooden frame houses) due to advanced termite damage. If a house has wooden stairs, check those for wood rot.
Wooden floors that are sunken in places, or have uneven or squeaky floorboards could also be a sign of termite or fungal damage. Have it inspected!
Peace of Mind
The sooner you get a residential building inspection, the sooner you can have peace of mind. For the homeowner who is staying put, targetted maintenance based on an inspection report is the smart way to save money. If you’re selling, you can use the report in sales negotiations – assuming the report is positive, of course.
And if you’re buying, you have to know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for.
Feel free to check out other articles on our blog about home maintenance and refurbishment.