Beware of Newly Renovated Homes

beware of newly renovated homes as they could be disguising a disaster

A warning has been issued on newly renovated homes as the hot housing market attracts buyers from down south. Renovations can disguise termite and structural damage which can cost new home owners thousands to rectify. 

The pull of a newly renovated home can be hard to resist when buying a property. But it pays to organise professional inspections before you settle paying off a mortgage in a seller’s market.

With an increase of renovation projects conducted over the last two years due to the COVID pandemic, and a lack of trades due to increase demand, being cautious about the workmanship of the renovation is understandable. Could the renovation be masking costly repairs once you become the new owner and move into the home?

What essential checks should be made on a newly renovated home?

It’s vital for the correct checks to be made by the solicitor before the sale becomes unconditional.

At a minimum a building and termite inspection should be conducted. The solicitor will also check on any issues with ownership or development of the property. For example have the renovations or extensions been lodged and approved through the local council?

Defects found after moving in

The key pain points many new owners find themselves with after purchasing a renovated property include

  • Poor waterproofing in the bathroom resulting in a full bathroom renovation to rectify
  • Termite damage concealed with new plasterboard and painting requiring costly structural work to fix
  • Lack of stormwater drainage or downpipes with incorrect point of discharge so whenever  it rains or storms, the backyard floods like a pool
  • Wood rot painted over or covered over with lino or wall paper
  • Mould spores concealed and painted over
  • Flexi hoses strung through all the walls for water service in the bathroom
  • Taps and sanitary fixtures installed with no approved watermark rating
  • Retaining walls not built to code
  • Roof leaks – concealed with new paint on the plasterboard ceiling

Unfortunately, many of the issues come to light once the new owner moves into the property and it then becomes the owners responsibility to rectify.

painting over water damage on wall

A key issue in this current market is if a home has been bought at the higher end of the scale, it can be difficult to finance the repairs once they occur.

Despite the warning about renovated houses, it can land on deaf ears as the demand on housing has increased in Brisbane. In fact last year saw the highest growth in the housing market since 2002.

Demand for housing has seen properties with significant damage be purchased for sale. While the sale price reflects the known defects of the house, a renovated property masking flaws can be purchased for a much higher amount.

Whatever is decided when purchasing in this market, ensure the right inspections of the property are made. While they can be costly during the pre-purchase period, they can at least prepare you or deter you on your new investment.

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