Can you trust a ‘bar­gain’ home?

Lesotho Times - - Property -

FOR first home buy­ers on a bud­get, DIY house buy­ing can be ap­peal­ing. How­ever, lack of prior in­ves­ti­ga­tion and poorly in­formed de­ci­sion­mak­ing can amplify costs — po­ten­tially much higher than a first home owner’s bud­get al­lows. When in the ini­tial stages of your home buy­ing search, you can save your time and valu­able money by look­ing out for warn­ing signs when view­ing homes and gaug­ing whether the ren­o­va­tion costs will fit within your bud­get.

Is there such thing as a “bar­gain” home? This ar­ti­cle helps an­swer this ques­tion, be­cause when pur­chas­ing a lower than mar­ket value prop­erty, there are key points ev­ery home buyer should con­sider.

Drainage Sys­tem Build­ings show­ing signs of bad drainage will usu­ally ex­hibit signs of wa­ter seep­ing through walls and floors (in the form of brown stains on the plas­ter) and a strong mildew odour. Grey wa­ter present at end of pipe drains ev­i­dences that a drainage sys­tem is blocked by con­tam­i­nants. Be es­pe­cially aware of un­san­i­tary black wa­ter con­tain­ing sewage. This is the most haz­ardous to health, and means that drink­ing wa­ter may also be af­fected.

Cost of ren­o­va­tion: High

Ceil­ing If a struc­ture is not ad­e­quate to sup­port a sag­ging ceil­ing, there is cer­tain safety haz­ard. Build­ings with dam­aged ceil­ings must be re­paired im­me­di­ately. Look out for cracks in the ceil­ing plas­ter as well as wa­ter stains in the plas­ter as th­ese will be causes for con­cern. How­ever, if you no­tice the ceil­ing is sag­ging, the house is more than likely go­ing to be a no-go for some­one on a tight bud­get as this is a the sign that costly repa­ra­tions are nec­es­sary. This is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion- par­tic­u­larly for first time buy­ers, as you will prob­a­bly wish to move in right away, but en­try will not be per­mit­ted with­out costly re­pair for safety rea­sons.

Cost of ren­o­va­tion: High

Floors and Walls The foun­da­tions of a home must be sta­ble in or­der to be able to house oc­cu­pants. Cracks across foun­da­tions or walls may be the re­sult of soil creep, flood or other nat­u­ral forces.

Struc­tural in­tegrity can­not be com­pro­mised. A full au­dit of cracks is nec­es­sary to dis­cern the level dam­age, but as a gen­eral rule of thumb, thin hair­line cracks are pose lit­tle cause for con­cern and can be cov­ered with a lick of paint, but large cracks caus­ing the sep­a­ra­tion of wall plas­ter or floor tiles present more se­ri­ous chal­lenges.

Cost: Mod­er­ate to high

Mould Leak­age from a wa­ter sys­tem or foun­da­tion can sub­stan­tially weak- en a struc­ture. Health con­sid­er­a­tions and sub-stan­dard ap­pear­ance are a more com­mon re­sult of mould. A mould-laden prop­erty with pathogens can lead to poor air qual­ity. Po­ten­tially per­ilous for chil­dren, res­pi­ra­tory pa­tients, and pets, mould should be elim­i­nated prior to movein. Look out for mould (usu­ally in the form of black or grey spores) in ar­eas such as in­side cup­boards (es­pe­cially un­der sinks), on win­dow frames, be­hind cur­tain head­ings or pel­mets and along the floor out­side show­ers or bath­tubs.

Cost: Mod­er­ate to high

Pests The dan­ger of pest in­fes­ta­tion is a prob­lem that must be man­aged with chem­i­cals. Th­ese in­clude ro­dent, roach, ant, and ter­mites. In­spec­tion by a li­cenced pest con­trol pro­fes­sional will pro­vide ex­act in­for­ma­tion on the ex­tent of the dam­age. Pests tend to nest in cup­boards, wardrobes, be­neath floor­boards and in rarely used parts of the house like the garage, so look out for them in there. If pest ex­cre­ment is present, it is a sign of in­fes­ta­tion.

Cost: Mod­er­ate to high

Roof In­di­ca­tions of struc­tural roof sag­ging should be in­spected to as­sess the cost of the dam­age. Roofs with fall­ing frames will be more costly, while mi­nor lev­el­ling prob­lems may not be as ex­pen­sive to fix.

Cost of ren­o­va­tion: Mod­er­ate

Wa­ter Stains When pipes crack or break, flood­ing, leaks, and seep­age can make its way into ceil­ing and wall foun­da­tions. Brown stains in rooms near bath and kitchen ameni­ties are most likely to see ex­ten­sive dam­age. Re-plas­ter­ing is gen­er­ally the so­lu­tion if the pipes have al­ready been re­paired.

Cost: Mod­er­ate to High

Wood Rot The de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of wood caused by wa­ter dam­age and ter­mite in­fes­ta­tion can cause rot­ting, and even crum­bling. One sim­ple method of as­cer­tain­ing wood rot dam­age is to press frames around the door and win­dows of a build­ing. A crum­bling or sponge-like tex­ture is usu­ally an in­di­ca­tor that wood rot is tak­ing over key fix­tures. Th­ese would need to be re­placed to keep your home safe from bur­glars as a crum­bling door or win­dow frame won’t keep out a con­certed break-in ef­fort.

Cost: Mod­er­ate to high Bar­gain homes of­ten at­tract first time buy­ers, but it’s im­por­tant to move for­ward with cau­tion when con­sid­er­ing this type of prop­erty. Re­place­ment of fix­tures and struc­tural el­e­ments can be ex­pen­sive de­pend­ing on the size of the home. Al­ways have a pro­fes­sional eval­u­ate the num­ber and type of re­pairs re­quired be­fore set­tling a prop­erty deal.

Pro­fes­sional in­spec­tion Firstly, be­fore sign­ing on the dot­ted line and hand­ing over the de­posit on a ‘fixer- up­per’ home, a pro­fes­sional pre-pur­chase build­ing in­spec­tion is ad­vised. A sound in­spec­tion should in­ves­ti­gate deeper into the struc­tural in­tegrity of the home and ex­pose any re­pairs that are nec­es­sary to keep the home in a safe con­di­tion.

— Realestat­e­view

LOOK out for warn­ing signs when view­ing homes and gaug­ing whether the ren­o­va­tion costs WILL fit WITHIN YOUR BUD­GET.

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