Knowing what to look for when inspecting a house can save you getting stuck with costly repair bills after closing.
Keep an eye out for these pesky common issues when hunting for your new home. Because moving is stressful enough without surprise defects down the track.
Top 7 Most Common Issues And How To Spot Them
1. Doors that Stick
- What causes it: Shrunken or swollen wood, or door hinges out of alignment.
- How to spot it: Open and close every door in the house to ensure they don’t ‘get stuck’ on the frame or require more force than usual to open and/or close.
- How much it costs to fix: Nothing, if you can fix it by tightening the door hinges. Otherwise it can cost anywhere between $200-$500 to get a new door frame installed by professionals.
2. Cracks in Walls
- What causes it: The property’s foundation may have shrunk and shifted, also known as ‘settling’.
- How to spot it: Check the walls and roof of every room. Cracks will typically start at windows, corners, or doorways.
- How much it costs to fix: Determine the root cause of the issue before thinking you can fix it with a cheap DIY patch-up. While this could be a quick fix, the cracks might be an indication of a larger issue that costs much more than a trip to Bunnings.
3. Heating/Cooling System Defects
- What causes it: Blocked filters and coils, blown circuit breakers and fusers, and ice build-up.
- How to spot it: Test out the heating and cooling systems in each room to feel firsthand whether they work efficiently or not. Take note if you notice any strange sounds or smells.
- How much it costs to fix: The average price to fix your air conditioner can be anywhere from $50-$1,500 depending on the issue. The average cost to install a new air conditioner in your home is $600-$1,000 depending on the type of unit and complexity of the install.
4. Water Stains
- What causes it: Water condensation, leaky plumbing, or a leaky roof.
- How to spot it: Check walls and ceilings for discolouration. Water stains are generally yellow or brown.
- How much it costs to fix: While you could DIY it with a bleach-based cleaner and a fresh coat of paint, it’s best to fix the source of the stain before trying to cover it up. If the wall or ceiling needs replacing in the areas damaged by water, it’ll cost you around $50 per square foot for professional repairs.
5. Cracked Tiles
- What causes it: The concrete underneath has cracked, the tile was installed on improperly spaced joists, or it simply received a sharp blow from a heavy object.
- How to spot it: Check tiled floors, walls, showers – everything – for cracks.
- How much it costs to fix: You can always replace the tile yourself if you feel confident to do so; otherwise the cost of a professional tiling service can be around $40-$60 per hour.
6. Sagging or Springy Floors
- What causes it: Foundation settlement or sagging floor joists.
- How to spot it: Take note of how the floor feels beneath your feet. It shouldn’t feel ‘spongey’ or bouncy, and it shouldn’t slope or sag.
- How much it costs to fix: If the floor joists are to blame, it can cost around $100-$300 per joist to repair, and could add up to around $1,000-$3,000 to fix a sagging or springy floor in an average room.
7. Outdated Wiring
- What causes it: Time – if the home is 30 or more years old, the wiring could be old and outdated.
- How to spot it: Some signs the wiring needs updating are frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers, dimming or flickering lights, and stained or discoloured electrical outlets (this indicates power surges).
- How much it costs to fix: It generally costs around $3,000-$5,000 to rewire a 3-bedroom home and upgrade the switchbox.
Learn more about how to nail your property inspections with this article.