Home Owner Cover Ups
When buying a house, there a many pitfalls to watch out for. One particularly costly pitfall is where issues with the house have been covered up. If you don’t get a skilled building inspector who can see past the cover ups and detect the extent of the issues, buying the house may land you with extensive repair bills that you didn’t anticipate.
Some cover ups can be relatively simple and are not big issues. For example, a well-positioned picture can mask a hole in the wall or the crafty placement of furniture covers a hole in the carpet. However, other issues are not so simple to ignore. Paint and bog can provide a great cover up – newly painted areas of timber could actually disguise the fact that the window frame or weatherboard is rotting and needs urgent maintenance. Ignoring these issues can result in leaks and a larger repair bill in the end because the rot will continue into surrounding timbers.
More serious cover ups usually include the owner creating an obstacle that prevents the building inspector from accessing the problem areas. Local building inspector Steve Brown, of Professional House Inspections, relates a horror story where this happened. He had serious concerns about a house he was inspecting when he was told there was no access to the roof space. The owner had placed a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves in front of the wardrobe door that contained the manhole to the attic.
“Once I finally got into the attic, I saw what the owner didn’t want me to see – a house fire had charred areas of the roofing timbers to the point that they were unsafe,” said Steve. “The fire damage had been cosmetically covered over, leaving a potentially dangerous situation for an unsuspecting purchaser.” Although this is an extreme example, it is certainly something that you don’t want to happen to you. Make sure you get a thorough pre-purchase house inspection to detect any costly cover ups.