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Check Moisture Levels Before Buying A Property

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Before you sign the property sale and purchase agreement, make sure you’re satisfied with its condition. A property inspection will identify parts of the home that need maintenance and replacement that could spell disaster for your bank balance. For example, checking moisture levels in the home may seem like the last thing on your mind, particularly so if you’re buying the property during the warm, dry months of the year.

However, if there’s a real issue with dampness, and leaks even in the dry period, a moisture meter can detect it in the walls, windows, roof and floorboards and a thorough property inspection will include water readings.

Weather

Climate change is making some areas dryer while other locations are getting more rain and flash flooding. Older homes built before the more extreme weather may not be up to the task of keeping the water out, so it’s more important to realise if the home you’re buying has an issue with letting water in.

Sighting mould is one way of realising there’s a leak, but the leak itself is not always visible. Rising damp can also go undetected until it becomes a much bigger maintenance requirement. Prevention is always preferred so install an underfloor moisture barrier to prevent water rising the foundations and into the building’s structure. Where water is present some remedies include installing tanks or sumps, adding waterproofing membranes on floors, walls and roofs.

Weathertightness

Weather patterns are changing due to rising Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Just how many major weather events will occur and where is not known so when you’re buying a home, always get an extensive report on its weather-tightness. Is the property fit for purpose? Rising sea levels will result in many coastal and low lying areas being underwater for the majority of the year. Therefore one precaution is to avoid homes in these locations.

Older Properties

Carefully consider the maintenance requirements of older properties. While the character of a period home is attractive, the cost of upkeep may be prohibitive going forward. You’ll need to make a property inspection checklist work out approximate costs per year for maintenance.

Windows

Double or triple glazed windows and new window casements is the ideal. Wooden window frames deteriorate quickly and are costly to maintain, whereas PVC or aluminium windows are less maintenance. Plus when a window needs replacement, the whole casement can be replaced.

Doors

Another area prone to high maintenance is the doors, particularly in older homes. Check all doors are not leaking and water is not getting into the doorframe, or the wall and the floor. All openings, i.e. windows and doors, are prone to water damage so pay particular attention to them so they can be fixed for less than a full replacement.

Floors

Floors are telltale signs of water retention. Use a water meter to check moisture levels. Wood can hold a lot of water. Ideally, you can budget to replace flooring and apply waterproof membranes beforehand. While you now realise the cost of getting your new home weathertight is rising, what’s a maintenance issue now is a full replacement requirement is left, so it’s beyond repair.

Summary

All buildings deteriorate and if ignored, break down over time. When the home is your own ‘ignorance is not bliss’ as putting off dealing with a leak is likely to be costly to fix. Therefore always use a professional to give your prospective home the once over with a thorough building inspection. It’s also a likely requirement to secure a mortgage and building insurance. Think twice, about where you’re buying your home; if it’s in a colder climate or one that receives very high rainfall, your home will work hard to remain warm and dry.

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