When it comes to purchasing a house, a thorough home inspection is an essential step to ensure the property's safety, integrity, and value. Home inspections are designed to uncover potential issues that may not be immediately apparent to the untrained eye, which could save you a lot of money in unexpected repairs. These are the most common issues we come across in Auckland homes.
1. Inadequate insulation
Nothing is worse than discovering your new home is freezing in the winter and all your expensive heating is escaping. Home insulation was not made compulsory in New Zealand until 1977, so if you’re purchasing an older property, it may lack insulation in the walls, ceiling, and under the floor.
2. Plumbing problems
Homes built between 1970 and 1989 are likely to have Dux Quest plumbing. Dux Quest was one of the first types of plastic piping to be used in home construction rather than traditional copper. However, these pipes had a high rate of failure, splitting and leaking at the joints. Dux Quest was deemed substandard and discontinued in the 1990s. Today, many insurance companies will not insure for leaks in homes that are known to have Dux Quest plumbing.
3. Poor ventilation
Poorly ventilated damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundries, are a common source of mould and mildew. Mould can damage your walls and furnishings and cause a range of respiratory issues for you and your family.
4. Pest infestations
When pests make your home their home, they can do a substantial amount of damage. Rats and mice are notorious chewers and can chew through walls and electrical wiring. As most Auckland homes have wooden framing, we are particularly concerned with checking for borer, which can undermine a home’s structure. To find out more about borer, check our earlier article.
5. Water damage
We often encounter the telltale signs of water damage during a home inspection. Water stains, bubbling paint, musty smells, mould patches, warped flooring, rotting windowsills, and dripping noises can all point to the fact that water is getting in from somewhere. Both the source of the leak and the damage it has done can require major repairs.
6. Roof damage
A roof that is on its last legs is often one of the most expensive elements of a home to repair, and the damage done by a leaking roof can be extensive. With recent extreme weather events, many Auckland roofs have suffered damage to shingles, tiles, and flashing. Check out our article on roof cladding for more information.
7. Faulty wiring
Old, outdated wiring and new wiring that doesn’t comply with the building code are common issues in Auckland homes. Especially in older buildings, the installation can become overloaded, as they were designed at a time when we had far fewer electrical appliances. Scorched power points and flickering lights can be warning signs of an overloaded electrical system.
8. Structural issues
Common structural issues we see include cracks in walls, foundations, brick or stucco cladding, and floors. Other signs are poorly-fitting windows and doors. These problems may simply be from seasonal ground movement but could be a sign of something more serious.
9. Retaining walls
Retaining walls that are cracking, subsiding, or sagging can indicate damage from water, pests, or tree roots. Repairing or replacing a retaining wall can be extremely expensive, as can the damage done if a retaining wall fails. Find out more about retaining walls in this article.
10. Cladding issues
A home’s cladding is its first line of protection against the elements. Homes built between 1975 and 1985 may be clad in Weatherside, which was withdrawn from the market due to its propensity to swell and delaminate. As a result, many insurance companies will not cover damage done by failed Weatherside cladding. Homes built between 1940 and 1970 may have asbestos in the cladding, which is important to know if you plan to do any renovations.
Make sure your potential new home isn’t hiding any of the above issues by getting a comprehensive home inspection. It could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run!