The important points to watch out for when commissioning a mature property inspection, vary according to the type of construction more than for recent and new properties. Mature properties have become a subject apart from other property types, due to the problems which occur. There are home inspectors who specialize in mature property, and if a buyer is planning to buy an unusual, or very old house, they should consider seeking out, and employing, a Mature Property Inspection from a specialist in property condition assessment.
When buying a mature property it is more important than ever, to find out about all possible problems across the very wide range of technical subjects can affect the structure of a house. What would you do after buying a property, you discovered even one of the following: toxic lead in pipes and paint, asbestos insulation, abandoned buried oil tanks and oil contamination in the ground, obsolete electrics, old and buried wells under suspicion of possible collapse, disused cesspools and decaying septic tanks?
Leave it in the Hands of the Real Estate Advisor?
Many people trust to their expert Real Estate Agent, and assume that the advice they receive will look after their best interests. However, although the vast majority of Real Estate Agents do this, there is a point at which the Real Estate Agent will most of all want to encourage the buyer to seal a deal. After all, if there is no deal, there is no income for the agent.
To avoid any question of this we recommend that you, as a buyer of a older property or a new-build, but particularly for mature home buyers, deal direct with a your own preferred, home inspection service.
In the US most houses are wood frame buildings. For wood frame buildings, the home buyer should look for the following faults, before considering the property further, and if proceeding further after finding one or more of the following problems, engage a home inspector. The inspector will complete the building diagnostics, and highlight the problems seen at the time of awarding the inspection to the inspector or inspection company, before the inspection.
Things to Look Out for in a Mature Property Inspection
1. Evidence of settlement of the foundations, such as may result in springy or sagging floors, cracks in wall panels and plaster work, ill-fitting windows, parts of the building which do not look to be quite upright, or floors which seem to slope even slightly, etc.
2. Evidence of dampness or damage from previous repairs, and be aware that damp may be penetrating from above from roofing problems or leaking plumbing in the roof space, or below from poor damp membranes below ground floor level. Damp may penetrate through poor waterproofing of walls, but less frequently. Houses with basements may have dampness penetrating from the walls.
3. Familiarize yourself with the appearance of modern electrical fittings, before looking at mature homes, and be sure to look carefully at these when making a first viewing. This is because old electrical installations in homes will often need to be replaced by rewiring the property, and this can cost several thousands of dollars. If the lights will not work in any part of a home you view, ask the person showing you the house the reason why.
4. Similarly, if any water fittings are not in use, they may have been isolated from the mains supply to avoid the cost of repair. Again, ask questions.
5. Common mature home problems with roofs, are missing or cracked tiles, roofing materials which have become semi-porous due to age, and are lifetime-expired, and gutters which have been allowed to block resulting in water pouring down walls, and over windows, for long periods.
Other Possible Problems a Mature Property Inspection Report Should Include
The items listed earlier, including:
- obsolete electrics
- toxic lead in pipes and paint
- asbestos insulation
- abandoned buried oil tanks
- old and buried wells
- mold and damp
- cesspools and septic tanks,
are just a few of the mature house problems buyers may encounter, and buyers should think carefully when defects or features like these are seen in mature property, before moving any further toward purchase.
The need for consideration of the possibility of the presence of radon gas, with concerns about elevated radio-activity in affected properties, is much more important for mature property. Older homes built before the issue of radon gas was fully understood may need remedial work. More recently built homes will usually have been designed with care to avoid radon gas risks.
Mature homes need iature property inspection preoccupation, and it is often prudent to ensure that the inspection report recommends possible energy saving measures, as without the benefit of modern standards of insulation, heating costs may be higher in mature peroperties.
Townhouse and Condominium Pre-occupation Inspections
Townhouses are not materially different in these matters than other homes, but condominium inspections may include problems which will be only repairable by action by the owners, together. In such cases, there may be information which can be gained from resident groups or the owning company, which will provide re-assurance that action is, or will, be taken to remedy such problems. There may, however, still be a financial contribution to be made by the future owner.
Repairs are Found to be Needed to a Home – What Next?
So, repairs may be needed. Nevertheless, there are many good reasons for a buyer continuing to pursue the purchase of a property which needs repairing. Not least that they truly like the home!
In such cases the most important matter for the buyer is to ensure that the price paid makes full allowance for the costs, and delayed home availability of renovation and repair.
As a home buyer, you should certainly engage a home inspector to make a full and very detailed mature property inspection and report in similar depth. But, also consider obtaining an expert appraisal of the value of the home, based upon the report, with a request that the detailed assessment of the repair and restoration costs be included.
The buyer should also consider the costs of an architect if major repair work is needed, and the cost of finding alternative accommodation while the property is undergoing repairs and renovation.
Using the Value of the Property Obtained from a Professional Home Appraisal
If the appraisal value, when all the costs of repair and restoration have been assessed, seems to be good value, the buyer will be able to go ahead and make an offer for the property.
If, on the other hand, the seller is seen to be asking too high a price when compared with examples of similar properties available locally. That would be a signal for the potential buyer to start to bargain with the seller to obtain a reduced price.
Check Online to Find Out Closing Prices for Similar Homes
A great tool in bargaining of this sort, is to get to know the closing prices for homes in that area. In some jurisdictions closing prices are recorded with the date of sale of all properties by land registration organisations. If you are not familiar with the way to obtain closing prices for homes sold in the area, we suggest that you ask your Real Estate Agent, or Home Inspector for details.
There is no better way to assess market value for any home than a review of closing prices. Sometimes, the results you will find, will be surprising as they will show a significant disparity between asking prices and actual closing process achieved.
Your Real Estate Agent should advise buyers and sellers on the current local record of advertised prices, and how close those are to closing prices, but here again some people would see a potential conflict of interest for the Real Estate Agent, who would naturally wish for the transaction to be as high as possible for his own income to be maximized assuming that the agent’s payment will be based on a percentage of the sales price.
Don’t Forget to Research Crimes Statistics, Local Income and Schools
Finally, although as a keen buyer you will be likely to be fired-up and desperately keen to clinch a deal on the new home you have selected, knowing it is good value at the price you have negotiated, there is one more step.
Be sure that you have the crime statistics, average income, and the quality of the schools in the neighborhood.
By making a few web searches for these facts, in most states you will find this data supplied by local government and police forces. If this data causes no alarm for you, and you have obtained the necessary finance, go ahead, and negotiate and buy!
Buying a mature or older home, or indeed any home, is such a big deal for the average person, it should only be done in the fullest knowledge.
Use an expert mature property inspection service to obtain a full general mature home inspection, and fully inform them of any special concerns you have, or special expectations of your perfect property buy.
If problems requiring repair work are identified during an inspection, or you will need to do renovation and re-modelling, get an appraisal, check local closing prices. and strike a bargain on the price, with the seller.