Whilst a fixer upper home may be thrilling, there may also be hidden pitfalls. Action Property Inspections can help. Read on to find out how…
Ask the Inspector, Purchasing a House

What to look out for before you buy a fixer upper home

If you’re in the market for your first home, you might be inspired by the glamorous notion of buying a fixer upper home thanks to the wealth of TV reno shows. Certainly, you may be able to nab yourself a ‘diamond in the rough’ on the cheap, but it may be hiding some very costly secrets. Going into your purchase forearmed with a comprehensive building inspection report is the first step in the process. An inspection will alert you to any lurking problems or future pitfalls so you can better inform your purchase decision. Who knows, it might even be the bargaining chip you were hoping for to secure a lower purchase price on your dream home. Here are a couple of the major issues to keep an eye out for as you’re searching for your dream fixer upper home…

Structural issues

Just like your own skeleton, if there’s trouble with the bones, there’s big trouble. Things may look fine on the outside, but structural damage or weakness is a serious and potentially very expensive problem. No problem if you have an unlimited budget, but for most of us, there is a finite amount of money in the kitty. If you’ve blown it all simply keeping your house upright, that’s not going to feel very good. As you move through your prospective new home, keep an eye out for:

  • Cracks in the bricks or mortar of the exterior walls
  • Bulging walls
  • Cracks in the walls near the ground
  • Improper drainage
  • Dampness
  • Evidence of leaks
  • Uneven gaps around the doors
  • Doors and windows that don’t open or close properly
  • Sagging or bowing floors
  • Ceiling cracks

Above all, if you’re unsure call in professional help to bring you clarity. These issues are not always easy to spot, and often require an extremely experienced eye to identify. Caution and knowledge are king in the fixer upper game, so going into the project, especially if it’s your first, it’s useful to have an experienced ally on your side.

Compliance Issues

Perhaps your potential new fixer upper home is looking structurally sound, but it has some extensions or recently renovated spaces that may warrant greater attention. You need to be certain that these home improvements have been performed in accordance with council regulations and are not going to end up as a costly headache for you. Your experienced local building inspector will be well versed in the local legislation and will be able to advise you on how best to proceed. Illegal alterations may become your problem upon purchase if they contravene building regulations, so the sooner you could me made aware, the better.

Add to this, the surrounding greenery on your prospective property will also require consideration. It is possible for beautiful old trees to both be a blessing and a curse. Whilst they look wonderful , and add a certain natural charm to your property, without an experienced eye, there is no telling how they are interacting with the structure of your fixer upper home, or what you will be able to do about them in accordance with council regulations.

It does all sound like a lot of rain on what should be a very exciting parade, but ultimately, doing your due diligence in the first place will lead to a positive renovation experience. Renovating a fixer upper home can be stressful even when everything goes right.

Make sure you arm yourself with a comprehensive pre-purchase building inspection report from Brisbane’s best. Call Action Property Inspections today to get started.



About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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