It may look like the perfect home, but there are some things you need to check before putting pen to paper.
This house is perfect…or is it?
You’ve been hunting high and low for that perfect family home, and you can’t quite believe it’s finally happened – you’ve found the one. But, before you sign that lease, or finalise that sale agreement, there’s a few things you need to know about your new house.
Before you pack those boxes and move in, you must conduct a thorough inspection of the property you’re keen on making your home. If you’re renting a property, your landlord should ensure that the building is safe to live in, the electrical wiring is in a good state, and that the property is pest-free. If possible, go through the property with your landlord and create a snag list, listing anything that’s not in perfect working order.
You love the bay windows, you daydream about cooking amazing family meals in the grand kitchen, but…have you checked what’s growing within the walls, or spawning in the ceiling? Mould isn’t only an unsightly nuisance – it can be a serious health problem. Check the back of cupboards, ceilings, and other dark spaces, for any signs of mould.
Nobody expects a sudden spark from a light fitting, and the best way to prevent one is to ensure that all electrical wiring in your home is certified safe. An electrical compliance assessment must be undertaken by a qualified specialist. Levon Cary, of Cape Town-based compliance specialists, Bugs and Sparks, tells us that: “Electrical inspections should be conducted every time a tenant enters into a new lease agreement. Pest control inspections should be done in conjunction with each new electrical inspection, to establish any general pest infestation like cockroaches, fleas, mites, bedbugs, ants and rodents.”
If you’re purchasing a property, the matter of compliance becomes an even bigger concern, as Levon explains: “Research your service providers carefully, and ensure that they are registered, qualified compliance service providers. You could put yourself, your home, and your insurance policies, at risk if you use non-registered service providers.”
Pests you’d prefer not to meet
Pest infestations can be difficult to spot, until it’s late one night and you’re suddenly confronted by a flying cockroach landing on your head while you’re asleep. Check the outdoor drains for any signs of pest infestation and bring in a pest control specialist whenever you need to. Managing and mitigating the effects of a pest infestation isn’t only important for your peace of mind, it’s important for your home’s structure too. A woodborer infestation must be dealt with swiftly and regularly, or else you can kiss those cute wooden windows goodbye.
One leaking pipe can wreak havoc on your home. A single dripping tap can send your utilities bill skyrocketing. A leaking pipe that’s hidden within the walls can lead to mould, ruin the paintwork, and eventually, cause the wall to lose its integrity. Water, while essential for life, is a patient and persistent tool of erosion. Get your plumbing checked and attend to any water leaks as quickly as possible.
Cracks in the walls of your home are way worse than you think they are – they could be indicative of issues with the building’s foundation or structure, so don’t ignore them. A simple ‘paint and plaster over’ job won’t do it. Rather, if you spot a crack, call in the experts as soon as you can.