Look Closely At Touch-Ups
30 September 2016
When inspecting a home to buy it is always nice to walk into a property that is well-presented, with new paint finishes and everything spick and span. But sometimes it’s all too good to be true.
While most repairs and new paint represent the efforts of proud homeowners paying attention to detail to maximise buyer interest, homebuyers should remember that recent renovations in properties for sale aren’t always what they seem.
Over time most houses will show evidence of the lifestyle of the people who have been living in them. Stains appear after friends have dropped in with a bottle of red or under the debris left by teenagers cooking themselves dinner. Most of these stains are normal wear and tear.
But some stains represent functional problems; a carpet stain might mean a leaky toilet or shower cubicle on the floor above or adjacent, or it might mean a crack in the foundations through which water is seeping; stains on paint or wallpaper near a window can indicate moisture problems caused by loose glass or fittings; stains in the middle of walls can indicate a (costly-to-repair) leaking internal pipe.
Home buyers should pay special attention to improvements that appear isolated or surfaces that seem touched up. New paintwork especially where small areas such as one wall or one corner of a room, or back-to-back walls appear to have been done rather than the whole room should be carefully assessed to see if it hides mould or temporarily conceals cracks. Be suspicious when some areas are slick with new paint while other rooms seemingly in need have been bypassed. Even new latticework may be less than innocent; it can be used to hide termite or other infestations.
Prospective purchasers should inspect any recent workmanship carefully. Most work will be just as it seems: conscientious home sellers getting ready for the big event. Still, training yourself to look carefully during inspections so that you spot the repairs that are little more than band-aids for larger problems is likely to cost less time, money and stress in the long run.