Checklist for busy first home buyers

LIFESTYLE | March 2022

You’ve finally got that hard-earned mortgage all lined up and it’s time to hit the open homes. With so much to think about, it can be bit of a stressful time. So here’s some important things to look out for, to help you find that perfect home.

  1. Security: Whether you’re a John McClane or a Kevin McCallister, your home is your castle so make sure it’s secure. Is there an alarm system with an exterior siren, to help keep your contents safe and insurance premiums down? Window latches, deadlocks, and neatly trimmed foliage are also recommended, as are lockable sheds for tools.
  2. Pet-friendly properties: ‘Paws’ for thought about the home’s suitability for pets. Our furry friends may be cute, but they can also cause damage. Is the section fully fenced and are there features such as polished floors that they could scratch, or rimu skirting boards they might chew?
  3. Fires or explosions: The housing market may be hot, but your home shouldn’t be a fire risk. Get an electrician to check the wiring in older homes and see if it’s up to date. Chimneys and wood burner flues need to be cleaned regularly in order to minimise the risk of sparking a blaze, and gas appliances should be serviced frequently too.
  4. Glazing issues: Drafty homes can be a big problem, especially when the weather is cooler. Make sure that the glazing on your potential new home’s windows is well sealed and secure, to help keep toasty and warm when it’s cold outside.
  5. Natural disaster preparedness: We’re not known as the shaky isles for nothing, and Aotearoa has its share of natural calamities. Kiwi homes need to be resilient enough to stand up to quakes, eruptions, and landslides so getting a detailed builder’s report, prior to buying, can be helpful to identify any potential issues.
  6. Hidden leaks: Don’t let your home become its own water feature. You certainly don’t want water behind walls, or under floors, where it could lead to nasty mould and other dampness issues. Get under the house, look over the house, check for signs of rotting or leakage especially in the bathroom or hot water cupboard and make sure this particular nasty isn’t going to be a problem. A moisture test report can help uncover any hidden leaks or water entering the house from somewhere it shouldn’t. Insurers generally limit cover for hidden water damage that happens gradually, so make certain these key ducks are in a row in order to avoid it.
  7. And more water: Internal flooding can be a shocking and ultra-damaging event so it’s vital you do everything possible to avoid it. While ancient plumbing is a disaster waiting to happen, some types of modern plumbing can also be an issue. If getting a builder’s report, ask them to check the condition of the pipes, their age and material.
  8. Weather: Things are definitely changing when it comes to Earth’s climate, and this could affect your property’s stability in a crisis. Floods, rain, hail and wind may do their darnedest, but a well-constructed home should generally be able to withstand the test. While a builder’s report is helpful, getting a LIM report from the local council prior to signing on the dotted line is vital.
  9. Mould: Break the mould! While small amounts of mould are pretty common in Aotearoa, this doesn’t mean your house has to lead the pack. Keep an eye (and a nose) out for signs of water staining or that sinister musty smell.
  10. Roofing: Stay on top of things by watching out for roof quality and condition. Often the shape of a roof can have an effect on drainage and debris build up. When you’re getting your builder’s report, ask him or her to have a really good look, and let you know what they think.

    Accredited: NZME

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