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Building Inspections: Ben’s Barometer May 2017

Building Inspections: Ben’s Barometer May 2017

One of the biggest changes in the residential real estate industry is the reliance on building inspections when buying a home.

Historically this was uncommon. People bought and sold property on gut and it was rare for buyers to discover major faults with their homes. Enter the 1980’s and the downward spiral in the quality of both materials and design. This was ongoing throughout the 90’s and right through until the early 2000’s. The latter period being the scariest of all construction periods and is now coined the ‘leaky home era’.  The advent of this era has seen the rise of building inspectors and for good reason.

A building inspector’s job is a difficult one. Even before they turn up to the property they know that there will be issues. Why? No house is perfect and when your job is to find fault, it’s very easy to do this. What we have started to see, though, is a departure away from the fundamental purpose of the inspection which is to identify faults that if left undiscovered could put the client at financial risk. Instead we are now seeing subjective comments about decorative elements of a property… even down to the shower curtain. These comments are more often than not accompanied by general grading e.g. ‘good’, ‘average’ or ‘fair’. As far as I am concerned comments like this are irrelevant. Interior décor is entirely personal and what is liked by one person is disliked by the next. An off-trend shower curtain poses neither financial nor health risk to anyone and as such should be left to do its job.

Here are the key elements we suggest to consider when looking at the overall structural integrity of the home:


What are the foundations like? If I need to replace them, what are the potential costs associated with this? If re-piling work is identified in a pre-market building report, it may be a good idea to provide a couple of quotes as part of the information pack provided to purchasers. Buyers tend to overestimate costs associated with this type of work and will even walk away before looking at options. Knowing costs upfront is helpful for buyers to overcome potential objections.



What’s the cladding material and overall condition of the finish? Cladding work is expensive and time consuming with little return on investment so this is an area I would want to be relatively satisfied with before purchasing a home.



How old is the roof and what’s the condition? Would a paint and repair extend it’s life or does it require a full replacement? Like the foundations these costs can be overestimated so engage a couple of roofing companies and either complete any work prior to market or provide quotes upfront to potential purchasers.


Plumbing & Drainage

This is a big one. Especially if you have old clay pipes that are located some distance from the council mains. It’s worth investigating if drains have been replaced and if not what are the potential costs around this.



Is it safe and will the insurance policy extend to the cover of this? Depending on the access, re-wiring the house shouldn’t break the bank.


The Wellington Market

Now we are in May we have well and truly entered the ‘winter market’. What is interesting to note is that because we didn’t have a rush of summer stock, the market seems to have held up in April and we anticipate this continuing in the coming months.  If the stock levels continue to remain low this should create some upward pressure of prices but it is unlikely this will be at the levels experienced over 2016 and early 2017.

Wellington Market Quick Facts:

Average sale price by area:

May Facts

On Sunday May 14th, New Zealand celebrates Mother’s Day. 

Did you know:

  • New Zealand celebrates the US version of Mother’s Day – always on the second Sunday of May.
  • The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a service to recognise all mothers, on the 3rd anniversary of her mother’s death. Over the years the service became popular.
  • By 1911 all states had started to observe the Mother’s Day holiday.
  • The European celebration of “Mothering Sunday” is celebrated on the 4th Sunday in Lent (3 weeks before Easter).

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a considered market assessment by Wellington’s only licensed agent and registered property valuer, please do not hesitate to call. We are always very happy to help.


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