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What are some possible concealed issues to look for when buying a new home?

1 August, 2019 | Mikala Chapman

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For most of us, buying a house is the biggest investment you will ever make, so you want to get it right. Before handing over a cheque with more zeroes than you probably feel comfortable with, there are a lot of things to consider: is it in the right neighborhood, does it have enough room, is it facing the right direction? 

But there are also a lot of things you may not immediately think about; and you don’t want to think about them afterthe cheque has cleared. 

What then, are these not-so-obvious considerations you should make before buying your new dream home? Let’s take a look.

On the Inside

You may look at the bathroom and think, rip it out.  Same goes for the kitchen. But if you’re not renovating in the first week, you’ll want to know that the appliances you’re paying for actually work. It’s disappointing to move in and then find the broken dishwasher has been used for storage (true story). Check first and if it’s not clear, ask. The agent can get you the answers you need.

How thick are the walls? This is especially important in medium and high-density housing when you could have neighbours in all four directions. You have the right to a quiet home, and so do they. You don’t want to hear next door’s party and they don’t want the peace shattered by your two-year-old first thing in the morning.

These may seem obvious things to look for, but you’d be surprised how often they’re overlooked in the heat of the buying moment. Likewise good internet connection and 4G reception, water pressure, hot water supply, leaks in the bathroom, does the toilet actually flush (and sometimes they don’t – another true story). Do all the stove elements or light fittings work? Check first.

On The Outside

Now stop looking at the property for a moment (you know it’s attractive, otherwise you wouldn’t be there). Turn and look aroundthe house. What are the neighbours like, what is the street like? Come back at different times of the day to get a feeling for what the traffic is like. Is there a basement extractor fan nearby – they can be punishingly noisy. So can buses and trains. How close is public transport – is it too close?

You may have factored some finance for renovations, but will you need more for building maintenance? Apart from obvious wear and tear, check for signs of other issues like ant, insect, weather or water damage. Will the roof, guttering or downpipes need replacing, does paintwork need attention?

If you’re buying into a complex, does it have tended gardens, gym facilities or a pool? If so, are they being well maintained or are the strata fees simply disappearing? If you’re buying a home with a pool, ask the same questions – is the garden a money trap, is the pool in good condition and is it compliant with local regulations?

Apartment complexes usually have elevators, so take a long, hard look at them. They’re reallyexpensive to replace – are you financially ready to  contribute your share if required? Check the strata report and if you have any questions, ask the agent.

In fact, if you have any questions about anything related to the property get that agent on the case. At this point, there are no silly questions and she or he should be working for you as much as they are for the vendor.

It’s easy to get excited about buying your dream home. Just remember to ask questions and keep a cool-head so that you don’t buy yourself a nightmare by mistake.

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