Twenty years’ experience in building inspections and quality control will accrue any one professional a massive amount of insight. To us at Reeflords, that professional is Mr. Jacobus van Rooyen who we spoke to in last month’s podcast and covered on our blog where we shed light on the first round of tips to keep in mind when you’re inspecting your new home. Still, as helpful as we know that list was, we at Reeflords felt it worthy of a second round-up; to make sure you’ve got the best perspective possible when knowing what to look for at your new abode.
As they say these days, content is king and that’s why we proudly package these information pieces in both Podcast and Blog formats. If you would like to listen to our latest chat with Mr. van Rooyen, click here. But for those of you who prefer to peruse this information in the written form: read on!
In Part 1 of What to inspect in your new home, we covered mould, damp, pest infestation, drainage, roof insulation and paint issues, and now we’re going to go into a little more depth about all things water related: leaks and waterproofing.
Water is life. It shouldn’t drain you of yours
From cooking and cleaning to sanitation and even recreational enjoyment (in the pool), water is a huge part of our everyday lives. It is how water goes from your water supply or the geyser through pipes to the outlet points (taps) where fine workmanship is required — and of course attention to wear and tear as well. This means that it’s not always fair to deduce that leaks and waterproofing are automatically linked to poor workmanship but either way, attention to these areas are paramount when inspecting your new home. Waiting until it’s too late can turn it into a much bigger problem at a later stage.
Because water exposure can affect paint and lead to peeling, it can corrode metal, cause rotting in woodwork and lead to a long list of repercussions that might only show up as signs of damage long after the problems have begun.
Let’s talk ‘Leaks’
Roof leaks can turn any of the living spaces that it affects into a complete nightmare. While these leaks may be harder to notice during the dry seasons, it’s the rainy seasons when they’re most obvious.
Be on the look-out for:
- Constant damp patches in soil
- Damp that can be seen on walls (both inside and/or outside) particularly in and around kitchens and bathrooms
- Mould in areas close to water faucets such as basins and sinks
- Swollen woodwork where shelves or cupboard doors are concerned in and around kitchens and bathrooms
- Water seepage that can be seen on ceiling boards and/or on the walls from the top down
- Musty odours in and around kitchens and bathrooms
While most of these examples seem like they would be evidently obvious, a smart way to keep a handle on things is to keep track of the averages on your water bill. If you notice an unexpected spike in what you’re paying, it would be a good indicator that you should look into where that excess is coming from.
So your dream home includes a wonderful outdoor area for entertaining in — the proudly South African patio! It is these exposed areas where waterproofing is of vital importance, and particularly where patios are positioned on the upper floors because of how this poses potential problems to the areas below.
What to look out for:
- Efflorescence (excessive calcium stains)
- Cracked or missing grout
- Cracks or damage to substrates
- Failed or missing waterproofing membrane
- Leaking water into the structure
- Water stains may be seen on the external walls / building façade
- Water pooling on the balcony / patio floor
- Buckled up tiles (also known as Drummy, Popping or Tenting
- Water marks or damp inside the structure in line with the balcony or the level below
- Water marks on the under-side of the balcony
Fresh start in your new home and you’re all moved in. What’s the first thing you’re going to want to do next? Take a nice refreshing shower of course! And it’s that very item that guarantees you a great hot shower that needs attention too: your geyser.
Because geyser leaks or bursts are commonplace.
When you’re inspecting your new home, be on the look-out for the following:
- Hard dripping water outside the home
- Water marks manifesting on the ceiling
- Dirty water flowing from the hot water tap
- Rust streaks on the geyser
Our advice for all homeowners is to insure your geyser.
In a sectional title scheme, geysers are usually insured by the Body Corporate, but be sure you check with them before you assume you don’t need to add this to your cover. As far as free-hold properties go, the onus is on you, so rather than have to cover the costs and deal with the mess, the best thing to do is to be prepared — and insured.
Electrical Certificate of Compliance
Electrical COC (Certificate of Compliance) is compulsory for all property purchases (except in the case of vacant land). While this may sound unfamiliar to first-time home buyers, the COC is a mandatory document issued by a qualified and registered person to certify that all electrical wirings and installations within the property are compliant.
- As a home buyer, you are entitled to request your electrical COC from the seller; this is usually stipulated in the Offer to Purchase agreement
- Electrical COCs are usually valid for two years
A house is built with bricks. A home is made with love.
While buying a house is a lot of hard work, we know it’s the home you want to create where the reward lies. We’ve curated these tips and those included in Part 1 of What to inspect in your new home; if you missed that, be sure to check out part one of our inspection tips on Episode 9 of the PodAcademy Podcast here, or on the blog here.
The important thing to remember is that with Reeflords, the home-buying journey isn’t one you have to take alone. We pride ourselves on being informed, accessible and transparent, so whenever you’re unsure about anything, you have a human being you can discuss that with.
We wish you happy house hunting!
Think home. Think Reeflords.