Make sure the home you’re buying doesn’t have any unexpected problems or surprises waiting.
Being a house inspector is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes this job calls for battling the elements, braving animals, and crawling around on all fours commando style! Here’s some experiences that our house inspectors have had - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Brian shares his experiences about house inspections in Wellington:
Sometimes a house inspection requires going the extra mile on all fours.
Yesterday I inspected a house and the client was concerned about the floor in the bathroom. The trap door was at the other end of the house and the access was tight. The gap under the house was about 500cm from ground to floor joists so on all fours commando style I crawled to the far end of the house. When I got to the bathroom floor I could see the damage and the rough attempt that had been made to repair it. The client was pleased with the knowledge that indeed there was a problem, but that it could be repaired.
Brian recently found a house crawling with cockroaches.
Today I inspected a rental property and when I opened up the wardrobe in the first bedroom I saw cockroaches running. In the next room I found the same thing. When I entered the kitchen a tenant was washing dishes at the sink, and as I looked to the side of her on the walls there were cockroaches running down the wall. When I opened the hot water cupboard the floor was alive with cockroaches. The surprising thing was the tenants just didn’t seem concerned by them!
House inspections are not always fun for Rod in Christchurch:
Rod had a house inspection nightmare by going to the wrong flat.
A while ago I picked up a key from the real estate agent to do an inspection at a unit in Christchurch. After identifying unit 'B' I tried the key in the front door and as it didn't fit I went around to the back door. The back door was already open so I entered and began my inspection. The piles of junk were so bad that I could see very little of the building itself. I persevered and finally completed the interior of the unit and went back outside to be greeted by the arrival of the real estate agent. The agent asked me if I had started my inspection yet and I replied that I had completed the inside and was about to check the outside. Imagine my surprise when the agent informed me that I was supposed to be inspecting the back unit and not the front one! I had gone to unit 'B' as labelled on the gate but the agent said there had been a mix up and that unit 'B' was in actual fact the back one on the council records. The correct unit was neat and tidy and was an absolute breeze compared with the one I had been through!
Jason has had some challenging experiences in Wellington:
The most important part of the job is keeping clients and vendors happy with a thorough inspection.
To me, success is when I help clients find hidden potential problems, like a plumbing leak. Damage like this can be a potential time bomb. It is even more satisfying when I discover that vendors have tried to hide problems and I find them. I always look at the issue properly and then suggest options as how best to rectify the problem so that the client, vendor, and agent are all happy with the outcome.
Jason saved an investor from buying a borer infested home.
Recently I inspected a home which was built around the 1940’s. It was quite tidy throughout with fresh paint and the vendor’s son was there telling me about all the regular maintenance that had been carried out over the years. It wasn’t until I went to go under the home that the vendor’s son got a little edgy and said that I would have difficulty. He explained that the small hatch was screwed shut and there were belongings in the way. He asked if I really had to get under and I replied saying that it was my job to look at the structure of the home and the subfloor had to be sighted. On this the son left me there as the subfloor was the last area to look at. Once I realized the hatch was big enough, that it could be unscrewed and there were no belongings in the way I went under to have a look. I discovered the ground was quite wet and all the timber had very extensive borer, the worst I have ever seen to date. As a result the sale fell through. It was obvious this home had a big issue that needed attention.
Leon shares his horrors and successes from Horowhenua and Palmerston North:
An NZHIC report saved potential buyers from making a bad purchase.
One inspection I can recall was a modern brick and tile home on a concrete slab that was approximately 5 years old. The house had a code of compliance, but some very important issues had been overlooked. Some of the roof tiles were short of the spouting and water had been running into the soffits and framing. In other sections of the roof, the tiles extended to the front edge of the spouting and when it rained, water ran down the roof and gushed over the spouting. The surrounding grounds and paths were higher than the concrete slab and during rain this created a moat-like situation around the perimeter of the house. Obviously the prospective purchasers were delighted with the report. If they had bought the property then these issues would be discovered by a Building Inspector when they came to sell their home further down track. This would have ended up costing them thousands of dollars to rectify the problems.
In one inspection recently, Leon had to clear out a whole flock of birds.
During a house inspection recently, I had completed the inside of the home and had proceeded to open the manhole cover to inspect the roof space. As soon as I had done this, a large flock of starlings flew at me in all directions. It reminded me of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds”! Starlings were flying out the manhole and all around the kitchen. I leapt off the ladder and proceeded to wrestle with the starlings all around the kitchen. After what seemed like an eternity I managed to get them all out the door and clean up all the feathers. The owner cleaned the roof space and the sale was achieved.