Must-dos before buying a house
Make sure the home you want to buy is well vetted before you sign, writes Erin Reilly.
The quintessential Kiwi dream is to own a house on our very own slice of Aotearoa. But if you’re in the market to buy a house, here are some boxes you might want to think about ticking before you raise your hand at auction.
It might look lovely on the outside, but termites (or the New Zealand equivalent) may have secretly made the foundations of the house you’ve fallen in love with their home.
A building report will tell you what parts of a house are dodgy, like a deck that didn’t get council approval and is hanging onto the side of the house by only a few nails, or a roof that’s so rusty it might implode during the next hail storm. Building reports don’t always come back with verdicts as dire as these, but they do offer prospective purchasers both bargaining power and peace of mind.
It’s not uncommon to read a news story featuring someone who’s high on P. But not only is meth bad for the people using it, it can also impact the health of people who live in homes where it has been smoked or cooked.
‘‘If you unwittingly purchase a house that has traces of meth in it, it can be very expensive to fix,’’ says Morgan Kircher, director of Inspect House New Zealand. ‘‘I’ve heard stories of a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of cleaning, right through to the house being completely bulldozed. It all depends on the level of contamination.’’
You never know who’s been smoking (or worse, cooking) meth, where, so don’t just assume your house should be fine because you’re moving into a certain neighbourhood. If you do decide to get a meth test done, though, combine it with a building report. That way you know the tester is a qualified builder, not a cowboy.
You might not have moved in yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding out what the neighbourhood is like by going straight to the horse’s mouth: the people who live there already. Don’t be afraid to ask about problem neighbours, raging parties, barking dogs or burglaries (all the things that the real estate agent won’t be able to answer). After all, you’re about to invest many thousands of dollars into this home, so you want it to be worth it.
While you’re at it, get acquainted with the area by taking a stroll around the block. Where’s the local park? How far away is the dairy? Is there a restaurant you can already tell will quickly become your local? If you can’t be bothered with all of that, you could always turn on stalker mode.
While every ‘‘neighbourhood’’ on Neighbourly is private, and you need to be address-verified to be given access, some posts are made public so you can get a gauge of what your new neighbourhood is like before you move in.
Use your eyes, cross your Ts and check for P when buying a new home.