6 tips for spotting a lemon

Before you sign along that dotted line, take a closer look at your prospective dream home, because things are not always as they seem.

Major problems with a property you might be eyeing could cost you thousands of dollars to fix, not to mention the stress of watching your perfect purchase turn into a disaster.

Avoid the heartache and financial stress by keeping an eye on five potential danger areas when conducting your pre-purchase inspections. 

Yellow in colour
It may be an actual lemon. This fruit comes in all shapes in sizes so can be hard to spot. *note, often mistaken for a lime- Usually, a genuine lemon is yellow in colour with a strong, citrusy taste. 

If you’re potential purchase has any structural damage you’d be wise to abandon ship. This is by far the largest cash guzzler, but thankfully structural movement or base shifting generally have some clearly identifiable signs. Check the interior walls for any cracks or breaks and don’t forget to inspect the brickwork on the outside of the house. If you spot anything that raises your suspicions, call in a building inspector immediately! 

Poor plumbing is especially common in older houses and can be a significant cost to bear. Test the water pressure by checking the taps in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Don’t forget to check the pipes outside the house for rust or leaks. Finally, be sure to ask about the age of the hot water system and when it was last serviced.

Electrical or wiring problems are some of the most dangerous due to the increased risk of fire. Older properties are more susceptible to electrical problems although they can still occur in newer homes, especially when DIY maintenance or renovation work has been undertaken. Blackened areas around power points are a tell-tale sign of faulty wiring. 

With one in three properties affected by pest-related problems, this is something home buyers and investors need to be aware of. Mousetraps or poisons placed throughout the property can provide a clear indication of rodent activity. Termites, however, can be a little tricker to find. Inspect the floors and walls for signs of warping or hollow-sounding beams as this could be a sign of termite damage. If you are serious about buying a property it is very important to call in the help of a professional pest inspector.

Cracked or shifting roof tiles could lead to major problems in the future, so it pays to ferret out any issues right away. Calling in the help of a builder or roof tiler is the best way to determine the health and stability of the roof, but there are also a few things you can do yourself. Check all gutters to ensure they aren’t rusted or broken, and if possible check the insulation too.

Remember, these tips are a good starting point for spotting basic warning signs, but if you are serious about buying a property, a professional building and pest inspection is a must!


6 tips for spotting a lemon
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