Home and Garden

Hidden Hindrances - What Problems to Look Out For When Purchasing a Property

Falling in love with a property is a lot like falling in love in general. We look at everything through rose coloured glasses and we are loathe to look too deep for fear of finding something which we won’t like - knowing that we will want it no matter what.


Unlike falling in love with a scoundrel however, there are a number of ways in which we can check the background of a property prior to purchase. We don’t want to be paying out to get professional inspections every time we find a candidate.


Arming ourselves with some basic knowledge surrounding the most common and costly red flags to look for, can quickly identify when we need to move on to the next prospect. Knowing the bad news about a home, may not be a deal breaker but it does give us a platform from which we can negotiate a better price - forewarned is forearmed.


Uninvited guests


After a recent house inspection I thought I had finally found the home of my dreams. Knowing that Melbourne’s south-east suburbs are notorious for termites and other destructive critters I called in my usual go to pest control in Berwick and got a full report on the property.


There had been signs of termite activity including:


  • A hollow sound and papery texture when I pressed around window frames

  • Some of the doors and windows were difficult to open

  • There was evidence of termite frass (droppings)

  • Visually, I noticed tunneling in wood trims


Other indicators of trouble may be:


  • Noise like a soft crunching

  • Flying termites and visible white ants


The report allowed me to assess the structural and cosmetic damage, get a quote from a builder and armed with this information, negotiate a substantially reduced purchase price plus my pest control experts resolved the infestation - perfect!


Papering over the cracks


When inspecting a house, look past the pretty facade which may have been painted or papered to appear fresh and new. Take a walk around the outside where substantial cracks may give an indication of what is really going on with a property.


Major structural cracks are generally caused by subsidence; where the house is literally sinking into the ground. The earth beneath every house shrinks and swells depending on the weather but other causes can be tree roots or leaking drains.


A few cracks in older homes are natural so it can be tricky to tell when the alarm bells should be ringing. Things to check for include:


  • Cracks which go all the way through from the outside to the inside

  • Cracks which run diagonally across a wall

  • Cracks which are narrower at one end

  • Cracks which are found around windows and doors

  • Jamming of doors and windows

  • Gaps and cracks where extensions join to the house


Major appliances


Whilst you are out checking for cracks, take a look at the heating and cooling system;. these are big ticket items, costing a fortune to replace. Test that any air conditioners work and that the heating system is functioning properly.


If there is a swimming pool, test the pump and filtration system and if there is heating look for signs of rust and leaks. If the pump is making strange noises, this can be a warning that it is not operating correctly.




Issues with plumbing can result in, not only costly repairs, but undermining the houses structure along with flourishing mould which is both smelly and a health hazard.


Indications that all may be not well with a home’s plumbing can be:


  • Reduced water pressure

  • Musty smell

  • Signs of rising damp around the home




One of the most dangerous and therefore important areas to assess when inspecting a property, is the electrical wiring. Not only can it be a huge cost to repair but it presents a fire risk and and faults can be life endangering.


Things to look out for include:


  • Exposed or dangerous looking wires

  • Outdated power boxes with no safety switches

  • Flickering lights

  • Non-functioning lights


A true assessment of a home’s wiring can only be done by a qualified electrician but the above may be signs that further investigation by an expert should be undertaken.


If you have fallen in love with a home and think it may be ‘the one’ but it is exhibiting any of the above signs, call in a professional to assess the risks. They can do a thorough inspection and produce a report outlining damage, causes and costs of repair - saving you the long term heartache of wedding yourself to the wrong house.




Tips to make garden maintenance easier

Having a beautiful garden is something that most people aspire to. A place of greenery, nature and serenity, an ideal way to make a good first impression when guests come to visit. But while this is the goal that most people look to work towards, the flip side is that most folks don’t want to spen...

Read more

The Cat Cleanup - How to Keep Your House Free of Feline Fur

Alice finally approached the door of her house after a long day at work. 'Ugh, finally home.' she thought as she turned the keys in the door. The first thing that greeted her was her cat, Angus, rubbing up against her legs. 'Hey, Gus,' she said. 'at least you're here to greet me, where's Willi...

Read more

How to Plan Your New-Look Living Room

One of the most used rooms in your home is the living room. It’s where you’ll relax after work, socialise with those that you live with, watch television, play games, and host parties and events. It sometimes functions as a quiet and peaceful haven, and sometimes as a boisterous and fun social spa...

Read more

7 Types of Materials for Sustainable Construction

A lot of emphasis on the fact that we must have a much more sustainable and efficient construction. Constructions are responsible for 40% of the world's CO2 emissions and also consume 40% of the world's energy. This calculation includes everything from the process of manufacturing and transport of...

Read more

5 Ways to Improve Your Outdoor Living This Summer

During winter, you purchase best foam mattresses since you had to make life inside your home comfortable for everyone. Now that summer is here; time is ripe for you to invest in the best outdoor furniture and enjoy outdoor living. However, it is quite clear that your outdoor space has gone out of...

Read more

Cost Effective Home Renovations

When renovating the home it pays off to be conscious about, well, what pays off. Sure, those improvements and renovations will make the time you spend in your home more pleasurable or comfortable. But when you come to sell up and move on you’ll want those investments to show their value and bring ...

Read more

Foundational Knowledge - A Guide to Building Your First Home

Building your own home is one of the most exciting experience you and your family will have! While it can feel like a dream come true, there are a number of things to consider when building your first home. Find the Right Block of Land With all the excitement of building your first home it can ...

Read more

Making your home look less empty

Having a crowded and cluttered home can be irritating to a lot of homeowners, but it’s easy to go too far in the other direction and end up with a really empty-looking house. Most people are used to seeing a lot of decorations and furniture, so guests and visiting family members might question wheth...

Read more

Things to consider when making your own swimming pool

You want to install a swimming pool and you want to do it by yourself. It seems like a good idea and perhaps it is, but there are a lot of things that you will have to consider first before plunging in and hoping that it all ends up well. Homemade pools are becoming increasingly popular projects, ...

Read more

How to Determine How Much Paint You Need to Paint Your Home

When painting your home, it’s important to determine how much paint you’ll need before a brush touches the wall. Once you’ve found the perfect colour, you’ll need to know which type of paint will be best for your walls,and most importantly, how much of it you’ll need. You should take your time when ...

Read more

6 Sound Proofing Ideas For A Quieter, Peaceful Home

Everybody wants to go home after the day’s hard work and relax quietly and peacefully. You might already invest in comfortable furniture and relaxing lighting, but you’re still not feeling the total relaxation you want. Construction of houses and buildings now involves the use of lightweight and ...

Read more

Gardening tips for beginners

Creating a nice garden is one of the cheapest and most relaxing ways to spruce up your property and to add value to it. Quite simply, the garden tends to be the first thing that most people see when they come to visit, so it is a great way you make a solid first impression. It is also a relaxing p...

Read more