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Is it advisable to buy a suspected leaky home -1st time buyer

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  • Is it advisable to buy a suspected leaky home -1st time buyer

    Hi there

    I have come across a leaky home in Wellington which has Harditex cladding
    the house was built in 1998 and in 2006 the owner submitted a claim to the WCC for compensation
    However, the same was withdrawn in 2007 by the owner
    As per the agent the owner realised that the leaks were very minor and could be resolved by him and there was no point in going ahead with the claim.
    the owner supposedly rectified the leaks but no record of the works done is available for the same
    The house was then sold to the present owner in 2007
    The present owner lived in the house for most of the periods but interim periods it was let out also.
    Currently its tenanted for a year till mid next year.
    The owner got a pre sale builders inspection done recently, report of which has been forwarded to me.
    the report shows that the skylight is leaking and has to be replaced preferably or at least repaired.
    the cladding has cracks in several places but nothing very alarming as far as I could make out
    There are high moisture readings in the bathrooms and near some windows.
    the living room floor also shows moisture damage and staining in 1 corner
    invasive inspection was done through switch openings in some areas but were inconclusive
    the piles were with treated timber but no record is available if the framing has treated or untreated timber

    the inspector recommended that gib be cut out in the high moisture reading Areas but the owner did not proceed with the same.
    The present owner is an investor and selling this house as he is building another bigger property.
    Should I suspect that the real reason for sale is that this house is a lemon and he is trying to sell it off in this period of high demand?

    I wanted to know if I should take a risk in buying the house as this is my first purchase.
    am I trying to bite more then I can chew ?
    what are the steps that I can take to minimise my risk ?
    can I get a more extensive leak report done and if so, which is the recommended agency?

    p.s. The house is already financed by Westpac bank so would it be difficult for me to get a loan from them as it is a leaky home in view of the fact that the bank had financed the previous buyer also knowing about the leaky issue?

    sorry for the long narrative.

    Thanks for advising
    Last edited by jamesnz; 21-07-2016, 08:59 PM.

  • #2
    This sounds like it would be a hard home for you to sell and value would lag other homes, so if in time you were to want to leverage up and buy more you wouldn't get the same equity growth.

    I wouldn't do it unless I was a professional builder myself. With many leaky properties you have to assume the worst until you get into the walls.

    More downside than upside for you.
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    • #3
      Hi there

      i am not buying with an intention to sell.
      It will be my home for a long time. I am just attracted to the property as it fits my requirements and has a low entry price
      The house has never been empty for the past 20 years
      Mostly it was owner lived
      the house even today does not have that damp smell or mold visible which is usually associated with a leaky home
      The windows and the nearby walls have condensation marks as there no underfloor insulation or HRV although the ceiling is well insulated
      The roof is in good condition and does not require any expense
      It has sloping roof with eaves and external guttering
      Are these reasons good enough for me to proceed to buy or I am just fooling myself ?

      i was thinking in view of the above if I spend about 25k
      I can install a ground membrane and underfloor insulation
      i can install a HRV and heatpump to eliminate condensation
      Replace the skylight
      Repair the cracks in the cladding and get them thoroughly cleaned and coated with the latest Hitech paints
      Repair the areas around the windows
      change the tiles in bathroom where damaged and install extractor fans
      Treat the wood that's water damaged in the living room

      Will 25k be sufficient for these works or I am day dreaming?
      BTW it's a 150 SQM house spread over 2 levels

      Thanks for advising
      Last edited by jamesnz; 21-07-2016, 09:27 PM.


      • #4
        put a pic of it up, has it got parapets? no soffits, internal decks


        • #5
          Hi there

          There are no parapets, or internal decks
          It has eaves and a external deck

          I have asked the owner to provide me with some photos but as he is travelling it will be delayed

          Thanks for advising


          • #6
            We bought a 1986 Hardiplank house with Aluminium - windows - original. The moisture readings were off the scale ie 100% under several NW facing windows. We found this on pre-purchase - so got the owner to cut some gib so we could all see what was going on. The walls had insulation and that wasn't wet - there was no mould or rot - but the moisture readings were still 100% !

            We bought the house anyway. The only explanation we could come up with was the owner had been very ethusastically washing down the house before every open home and it had been on the market for 8 months. The house is across fromthe sea - and gets a lot of salt spray.

            Basically the windows were knackered - we discovered this the first winter when we had significant water ingress. We replaced the windows with uPVC double glazed - cost about $18k for 2/3 of the house - problem solved.

            The damage to the windows was not obvious - look very hard at the corners of the windows. PM me if you want the name of my building inspector who found the problem in the first place - the average untrained clown with a moisture meter wouldn't have known what to do with it.

            I strongly suspect that you don't have a "leaky home' - what you have is a house that leaks - most do - you just need to get to the bottom of where the water is coming from.

            If the house still has original windows - it's no bad thing to be replacing them with decent double glazing anyways

            PS does it have dux quest plumbing? They often do at that age - I'd be replacing that ASAP - even if its not leaking yet its only a matter of time.

            We've done all of the above and now have a lovely warm house - no HRV required - these houses aren't air-tight - never will be - so just installing decent windows and extraction in bathroom/kitchen fixed any moisture problems we had
            Last edited by lissie; 23-07-2016, 12:39 PM.

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            • #7
              Hi Lissie

              The inspector has also pointed out that Dux Quest needs to be checked. Will get it done through a licensed plumber after the 2nd builders test

              I have sent you a PM. Please let me know your views

              Thanks for advising


              • #8
                Hi there

                inspected the house.
                The house may have untreated timber used.
                so can't afford to take the risk
                As this is my first house, can't affo de to take such a big chance
                Decided not to buy it

                thanks to all those who gave their valuable advice


                • #9
                  The first Harditex claim was brought by Tracey Cridge and Mark Unwin from Wellington, who were shocked to find their Island Bay home had widespread water damage.

                  What initially appeared to be a small leak was revealed by experts to be widespread internal water damage with an estimated repair bill of more than $300,000.

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