Finding the perfect property to purchase is quite tricky. In one way or another, you may find a defect or aspect that does not meet your standards. In some cases, you may find a red flag on a property which you may really like. Red flags are called such for a reason. These warning signs should not be ignored. However, they are not always a reason to forego a property you already had your eyes on. The biggest question is, “should I still purchase a property with red flags?”
Before you purchase a property, you have to make sure that it is in good condition. To ensure you get a good idea of the condition of a potential purchase, you should hire experts to conduct pre-purchase building inspection. They will provide a thorough inspection report on the actual condition of the property you are going to buy.
Red Flags on a building inspection report
Building inspection reports, in general, describe the current quality of the property’s interiors, exteriors, and everything else inside. The most essential parts of these reports are the major and minor defects that the inspectors have found. These are the red flags or warning signs you should watch out before purchasing the building:
- Structural defects
Structural defects are the most common and the most obvious problems you can see in buildings. They can be either major or minor and can manifest as tiny cracks and peeling paint finishes, to significant decays and hazardous debris. In a building inspection, any damage is examined, with an extra emphasis on more prone areas.
- Roofing problems
Roofs are the most important exterior structures of any building as they shield the interior of the building from the elements. Unmaintained and unrepaired roofs are likely to have problems with their tiles, gutters, and downpipes, and the overall structure of the roof itself. If left in a bad condition, these problems will cause roof leaks and other serious interior damage. In a building inspection, we inspect any cracks and corrosion in all of the parts of the roof.
- Water and drainage problems
Building inspection reports do not directly cover plumbing inspections. However, we still inspect how any plumbing and drainage problems affect the materials of the building. If there are leaks or drainage issues that are not addressed, the building’s materials are likely to corrode or wear out faster. In a building inspection, the areas where leaks are common, such as bathrooms and kitchens, are inspected for any potential damage.
- Electrical wiring problems
Along with water, electricity is a utility that is essential in any household. If any electrical issues arise, then you will have difficulty operating your appliances and, if the damage is bad enough, you could be at risk of fires. In old homes, the most common electrical problems are faulty circuit breakers, worn out wires, and damaged power outlets. We specifically look out for these electrical and wiring problems to check for any potential damage.
- Presence of harmful substances
Asbestos, because of its non-flammable characteristics, was widely used in older houses. Lead was commonly used in paints and in plumbing. However, it was found that these chemicals pose harm to people, and are not used in newer homes. If you are buying an old house, however, there is a chance that these harmful substances are present.
- Termite infestations
Termites are pests that can seriously damage structures of buildings made up of wood. If they are not eradicated as soon as possible, there will be significant damage to the structural supports and flooring of any room they are in. Termite infestations are not often easy to find. In our inspections, we look for specific signs, such as hollow-sounding wooden structures and holes in the wooden walls.
Pros and cons of buying properties with red flags
Benefits of buying buildings with defects
1. Saving on money
If the inspection report has red flags, you can negotiate the purchase of a property at a lower price. This price is usually as much as the estimated cost of the repair. This is most beneficial if you have resources where you can have these repairs done for a lower price, or if you have the skills for do-it-yourself repairs.
2. More time to gather funds
Assuming that you were able to buy the property for a cheaper price, you may or may not chose to have the necessary repairs done immediately. If you are still saving money, you may opt to have these issues addressed at a later time. If you choose to fix them immediately, then you can shell out some cash for the repairs. If the problems are not that severe, you may even decide to wait, or if you are changing the use of the property, you may choose not to repair them at all. Just bear in mind that damage, even minor defects, can lead to even more significant problems in the future.
3. Convenient location
It may not seem evident at first, but old buildings are often located in convenient parts of the city. Given a good location, you can save time and money commuting around the city. Most often, you have easier access to public transportation and to local commercial businesses. Likewise, old homes are more often located in old and already established neighbourhood. Sometimes, an additional liability for building defects is worth if for convenience and security in a beautiful community.
Disadvantages of buying buildings with defects
1. Additional costs
If you buy damaged buildings, you may spend more on repairs and maintenance in the long run. Sometimes, buying a property with red flags is not the best choice. Perhaps, the damage is so severe that you’ll end up spending more. In these instances, you can use the inspection report to request repairs from the previous owner before you buy the property.
2. The inconvenience of having repairs
Additional expenses are not your only potential problems if you choose to purchase a building with red flags. For example, if you buy a building with a faulty roof, you’ll end up with roof leaks. If you buy a building with cracked walls, you will have a harder time repainting and designing. The issue, aside from the time and effort you spend on having these fixed, is the uncertainty of how much it could take to get it completely fixed. Sometimes, the problem occurs repeatedly, requiring your attention over and over again.
3. Health and safety issues
The more critical issue is to avoid putting yourself and your loved ones in danger of severe health and safety issues. For example, if you buy a building that has electrical faults or fire hazards, you might lose your home to untoward disasters. If you buy a property with asbestos, this can pose a hazard to anyone who enters the building.
Should you still purchase a property with red flags?
By now, it is clear that buying a property with defects has advantages and disadvantages. The reports made by our inspectors at the Exceptional Building Inspections can help you weigh out your choices. Each property is different. The best thing to do is to weigh up the advantages and the disadvantages. Ask for expert advice, and we can help you come up with the best decision. It is best to have the current state of the property well documented so you will always have a reference.