Must-dos be­fore buy­ing a house

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Make sure the home you want to buy is well vet­ted be­fore you sign, writes

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.

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