Defect Dealbreakers

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Are you on the house-hunting trail? Spending all of your free time looking for a home?

A real estate inspection only gives you limited time to view a property. Serious faults and defects may not be apparent at first glance.

What are some red flags that mean you should just walk away?

We asked our inspectors Rodney and Martin to outline their top issues that should be considered ‘dealbreakers’ for property hunters.

Troublesome Trees

‘The first issue’,  says Rodney, ‘is mass planting and heavily overgrown trees too close to the building. Also, trees that are the wrong species. ‘

Tell-tales signs?  ‘Visible damage to the surfaces and brickwork’.

Martin agrees that this issue should cause concern.

‘Large trees cause the foundation soil to shrink, causing the foundation to move. This in turn causes cracking to the external brickwork and to the internal plaster and ceilings.’

‘It can be difficult to obtain permission to remove large trees’, he continues, ‘so I would be hesitant to purchase a house with these issues.’

Second on Rodney’s list are issues with surface drainage from the neighbouring properties.

‘This can happen if the house is on a slab and on a sloping block. It may have been excavated in rather than being built up in order to save costs.’

So what should househunters be keeping an eye out for during an inspection?

‘Look for water pooling throughout garden beds, signs of rising damp and efflorescence, which presents as white powdery formations throughout brickwork.’

Structural and Subfloor Problems

Martin starts by advising to, ‘look for floors which are out of level’ during an inspection.

‘This generally occurs when timber stumps are deteriorating under the subfloor. These are very hard to replace if low to the ground and where there is very little room below the floor structure.’

‘As well as the stumps, the subfloor structure may have deteriorated which means the floor and joists, as well as the stumps, may require replacing.’

His advice?

‘Generally, if the floor is out of level, I would stay away from purchasing the property.’

Martin explains the warning signs of another structural issue – insufficient gaps left between the windows and brick sills during the construction of the property.

He says, ‘when the house settles and there is little or no gap between the window and the brick sills,  windows cannot settle with the frame.

What are the warning signs?

‘This causes cracking to internal plaster walls and ceilings, cause doors and windows to bind, wall tiles to crack and sometimes external brickwork to crack if the settlement is large enough.’

He advises to ‘just walk away when noticing this defect’.

Steep or Sloping Driveways

Rodney also cautions against buying a home with a steep driveway, one that slopes down towards the garage or that slopes steeply away from the building.

‘These are dangerous to park on. Car doors won’t stay open (or will fly open and slam shut – dangerous for children and the elderly).’

‘Sloping driveways can also be very slippery.  A driveway that slopes down towards the garage can present a flooding threat.’


Did you find this information helpful?

If you have been looking for a home, and think you have found the right one, call The Home Inspection Hub before you make an offer or bid at auction.

A pre-purchase building and pest inspection with us is a small investment in exchange for getting a clear picture of the condition of a property – and uncovering serious defects and issues which may not be apparent at first glance.

Having the results of a building and pest inspection can give you negotiating power when it comes to making an offer on a property.

Our thorough inspection covers the following elements:

  • Site
  • Foundations
  • Building Exterior
  • Underfloor and Roof Space
  • Building Interior
  • Wet Areas
  • Services
  • Evidence of Pest Infestation

At the conclusion of the inspection, you will receive a photographic record, highlighting the faults found with the property and any problems which may arise in the future.

For a free quote and sample report, call The Hub on 1300 071 283,  email or ask us for a free quote today.