Case Study: The Dark Veneer of Dream Home Listings

A beautiful little three bedroom unit sits nestled in a quiet neighbourhood street, just waiting for the perfect family to come along and snatch it up off the market. This adorable little gem boasts a master ensuite, wood finished kitchen, ducted heating, solid timber floors, and a nice and private distance from other homes as it sits adjacent a large scenic oval. Sounds like a winner, am I right? Best of all, this little stunner is listed for sale at the highly reasonable price of $390,000 – $429,000. Doesn’t get much better than that!

It doesn’t stop there though, the home is situated in a prime location in a well sought after suburbs, close to schools, walking distance to public transportation, and just a stone’s throw away from the local shops and the nearest highway. It’s currently being rented out for a seriously decent sum on money each month, so you know that it’s going to be a lucrative investment. All in all, this sounds like the perfect home for a young family or an ideal steal for a property investor. It would be a huge mistake to let something this good slip by! How can you resist the perfection???

I’ll tell you how… This property might sound like a homeowner’s dream buy, but having been there and performed a highly detailed and comprehensive building inspection, I can tell you first-hand, that is far from the truth. In fact, the astounding array of defects that I uncovered within this property make it less of a homeowner’s dream, and more of a nightmare.

Let’s start small shall we?

The gutters were full to the brim with debris, likely causing all sorts of clogging issues. This might not sound like a big deal but gone unnoticed or ignored and this could cause severe degradation to the gutter system. What else? The bathroom tiles were broken – again, not an end of the world scenario but an added expense nonetheless. Let’s up the stakes a little: the shower was leaking and the vanity needed to be replaced – big deal right? Actually, it very well could be. This is when professionals need to start being called in, and everyone knows that plumbers don’t work for peanuts.  

Not convinced yet?

Unprofessional modifications had been made to the roof framing that need obvious repairs by a professional builder. The roofing timbers displayed water damage, meaning their structural integrity would be compromised. Not a good thing. Chances are that this was the result of the next issue: ill-fitted roofing. Sections of the roof with a low pitch have been improperly fitted with panels of corrugated iron which would very likely result in areas of pooling water, again, needing the services of a plumber. Things are getting a little worse now, aren’t they? Unfortunately it doesn’t end there.

The floor was unstable to walk on, there was a large bulge in the wall, inadequately used filler between the walls and the floor, and most concerningly there was cracking and displacement to the plaster walls meaning that the entire frame of the property has been moving, which you can probably guess is not what a frame is supposed to do. All of these issues would require the services of a carpenter, however when it comes to framing defects, oftentimes very little can be done without knocking down and starting again. That should be more than enough to put you off now I imagine, however, I’m not done yet, folks!

But wait, there’s more…

Mould was found in the wall, dangerously exposed electrical wiring was found, the fascia boards along the roof were rotting, and last but definitely not least – evidence of termites. Yep. As if everything I hadn’t mentioned up until now wasn’t enough, now we have to worry about termites. Although a full pest inspection was not done during this home inspection, obvious termite treatment locations were found as well as termite damage to areas underneath the floorboards. Not only that, the repairs that was undertaken to rectify the termite damage were also unprofessionally executed, as evidenced by the fact that many of the termite-damaged timbers had not been fixed or replaced. Another call is going to need to be to that builder me thinks.

All in all, a staggering 45 defects were uncovered, which was estimated to have a combined repair cost of a nauseating $80,000-$120,000. Eye-watering to say the least. That perfect little family home doesn’t seem so perfect anymore. It’s quite amazing how easy it is to sell a defect-laden property as some sort of utopian dream home for any unsuspecting family that  comes along. Really when it comes down to it, all you have to do is conveniently avoid disclosing the facts.

What are we to do?

Amongst others, this is one of the main reasons I’m so passionate about educating people on the importance of having a pre purchase building inspection. You really can’t trust that a house is going to be problem free until you know beyond a shadow of a doubt – having a building inspection will offer you just that, and more! If it so happens that one of our highly talented and experienced independent building inspections uncovers certain defects, you are then in a position to use this as leverage to secure your dream home at a discount.

Building Masters Inspections now offer a new Property Negotiation Service  where you can appoint us to negotiate on a reduced price for you! This means that we do all the work, and you get all the reward. What could be better? Learn more about our Property Negotiation Service here!

So at the end of the day, the moral of the story really is to stay vigilant, and expect that every property might not be as they seem. It’s much better to be safe than sorry and invest in a building and pest inspection, not only for peace of mind, but for peace of wallet too.

By |2019-05-31T10:38:11+00:00May 13th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mike Heathcote
Mike Heathcote is the founder of Building Masters Inspections and a veteran builder with decades of experience. Utilising his decades of industry knowledge, Mike has set up a Building Inspection service that is catered towards providing expert opinion on the true condition of buildings and helping house buyers find their perfect home Melbourne wide.

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