5 vital checks you must do when you buy a property

5 vital checks you must do when you buy a property

For most of us, a house will be the single biggest purchase we ever make. The process of house-hunting can be exhausting, with dozens of properties to view and consider. Real estate agents can be persuasive and time may be short. How can you be sure you’re not buying a property with hidden problems?

Here are five checks you and your lawyer should undertake if you are seriously looking at purchasing a property:

Rule 1: Beware of leaky buildings.
If you are buying a house that’s not brand new, you should consider making your Agreement for Sale and Purchase subject to a builder’s report. If the property has been built with monolithic or plaster cladding, this is an absolute must. Many houses built between the early 1990s and mid 2000s were built with untreated timber and cladding systems that may leak. Some brick veneer and timber-clad houses also have leaky issues. A builder’s report should identify any hidden problems and allow you to back out of an agreement if you’re not happy with the state of the property.

Rule 2: Be specific with chattels.
Did you fall in love with the garden furniture and shade sail on the deck? Is there a handy garden shed on the property? If you want to be sure the owners have included them in the sale, you’ll need to spell that out. Make sure they’re listed in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase.

Rule 3: Boundaries can be misleading.
Just because there’s a hedge or a fence doesn’t mean the legal boundary lies there. If the buildings appear to be close to any boundaries, or if you have any doubts on the matter, you should check with a surveyor.

Rule 4: Check for flooding.
Newer infill housing in the Auckland region may have been located in areas prone to flooding. Council data can show whether the property is subject to drainage issues. Caveat emptor.

Rule 5: Methamphetamine labs are hard to spot.
Clandestine ‘P Labs’ are constantly popping up. If you are buying a property that has been rented, it’s well worth testing for chemical residues. These can be highly toxic and the clean-up is expensive. Meth testing is highly specialised and not covered by LIM reports from the Council. You can ask your lawyer to insert a clause in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase to make the agreement conditional upon a satisfactory P test.

These five checks are a good start to help ensure your investment is safe. As always, Urlich Milne will provide bespoke advice and answer any questions you might have.

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