Queenslander-Style Homes – What To Consider Before You Buy!
A Queenslander house is a unique piece of Australian architectural history. Many investors love the relaxed feel of the timber finishes, the old-fashioned charm of the wrap-around verandah, and the colonial colour scheme of the paint. Owning one of these beautiful properties may be your dream – particularly if you love to renovate! – but there may be hidden costs.
Knowing all the facts, both positive and negative, before you commit to purchasing a Queenslander will help you make the best decision for you and your family. Before you even look at buying, read on to find out more!
Beauty isn’t only skin deep
As one of the most distinctive architectural types in Australia, the quintessential timber Queenslander house has a lot of positive features that may persuade you to make one your new home.
• Saleability. Queenslander homes are seen by many in the real estate market in a similar way that antiques are seen by experts in the furniture industry. The level of craftsmanship and the unique timber and tin feel of the structure, as well as the fact that it was designed purely with the Queensland climate in mind, make it special and different to more modern housing types. This fascination with older architectural types can be seen in the real estate market, particularly in areas like Indooroopilly and Taringa. In those areas, pre-war Queenslander homes are achieving better sales results than houses built in the 1970s and later.
• Renovations. If you’re thinking about making a Queenslander house your new home, you might also have a love of renovating. If this is the case, you might think the greatest possible treasure in the Brisbane real estate market is to find an original Queenslander house. Working on a house like that from scratch would surely be a dream come true! The plus side is that these types of houses can be cheaper to update and repair than their brick counterparts – it just takes a little bit of effort and budgeting.
• Climate. Queenslander houses were built with the tropical Queensland climate in mind. The windows and the wrap-around verandahs common in most Queenslander homes were designed to catch the breeze, where it then filters throughout the entire house. Timber cools quite quickly in the sun. In comparison, brick absorbs heat throughout the day, which is then radiated throughout the house after the sun goes down. Anyone who lives in a brick house can fill you in on the sweat box their house can turn into after high temperatures.
• Stability. When the ground moves and the soil shrinks as a result of seasons and climate, all houses are prone to movement. Queenslander houses are much better at withstanding ground movement, however, and are less prone to damage as a result. When Queensland goes through its inevitable extended dry periods, the soil dries, which can cause cracks to appear in brick houses. This doesn’t happen in a Queenslander, which is a huge benefit.
• On the move. If you’ve purchased new land or you’d like to make a sea change, owning a Queenslander home means you don’t have to part with it. You can simply have it moved to the new location. The costs involved are surprisingly reasonable, and you’ve managed to take a little bit of Queensland with you on your move.
Behind the façade – the ins and outs
There are a few drawbacks to owning a Queenslander house – and, as with anything older, there might be more costs involved too.
• Ongoing maintenance. Queenslander homes require a lot of maintenance, and this is one of the biggest costs associated with owning one. Anything from painting through to replacing timber eaves or wooden floors can set you back a bit. There are various laws in place when it comes to historical areas, too, so you may want to check out any restrictions before you think about buying to renovate. Also, your Queenslander house is going to need to be repainted every 10 to 15 years due to the timber expanding and contracting in the Queensland heat.
• Timber issues. In a Queenslander house, wood rot is going to be an ongoing issue. Anywhere where the timber is exposed to moisture could potentially rot. It is most common in window frames, doors, doorframes, decks, and verandahs. If any wood rot is discovered, the section of wood needs to be replaced before it can spread. Secondly, termites are going to be an issue. Ant capping on the top of the stumps of a Queenslander house restrict the access of termites into the building, but they don’t render it pest proof. When partnered with the presence of wood rot, a Queenslander home can make the ideal environment for termites to thrive. You need to be prepared to pay for preventative measures so that you’re not stuck having to shell out a massive amount of money for an extermination somewhere down the line.
• Rewiring. Old houses like Queenslanders may require new wiring throughout the house, and this can become expensive. You need your house to be safe for all its occupants, and you also need it to comply with Queensland and Australian regulations.
• Asbestos. Asbestos might be a problem in a Queenslander home. They were built in an era before the danger of asbestos was widely known. Having it safely removed can also cost quite a bit, so you need to keep this in mind prior to purchase.
The bottom line
If after debating the pros and cons you’re still unsure, have one of our inspectors do a pre-purchase inspection of the Queenslander house in question. The pokey kitchen, the verandah that was closed in ineffectually, and the leaky roof might not seem like a big deal now, but further down the track, these aspects of a ‘character home’ could set you back thousands. Charm can be hard to resist – just make sure your decision is an educated one.