Brick is very popular here in the Waikato. We also have the upmarket design and build, there is a whole sector of that as well. An average house would be a brick and tile house 220-250sqm that would be our biggest market here in Hamilton. They have been doing up to 1900 new builds in here recently, it’s very busy.Good solid homes, you have just got to check who is building them.
What makes your skills and knowledge so important when doing house inspection?
We are tradesman / builders and we have done the apprenticeships, built a lot of homes and we are master builders as well. We know what we are looking for with a home inspection and because we are keeping up to speed with the licensing, we are looking for any short cuts that have been taken to ensure that the owner gets a nice home.
Over the 25 years the standards have been changing and evolving,we have kept up to speed with it all. We have been fixing other peoples issues with leaky homes,we have done a lot of looking for issues and working out how to fix them to meet the new standards so that the clients end up with a nice healthy dry home.
Over the years we have trained up quite a few apprentices. We always make sure that the team leaders are trade qualified and are good communicators. I am doing inspections alongside Bernard Edwards our latest inspector, both of us are trade qualified. You definitely have to have a trade qualified inspector inspecting these houses 100% as required by the industry standards.
One of the great advantages of getting an inspection done through HABiT Hamilton is that we are one of the few companies in New Zealand with full insurance. You would be crazy to get an inspection done with someHamiltonone who didn’t have the required insurances. We inspect these houses 100% but the odd occasion something could happen you have the security in knowing that you have the insurance there as well.
What do you do if you find a problem when inspecting a home?
Well to me every home has a problem it could be be something simple like making people aware that the house isn’t build right for the sun, it could be a cold damp house.I do make people aware of that purely because it helps if you have a nice healthy home, facing the right way,nice and sunny. We do give people ideas at the time on how to make enhancements to the house. If the house has got great bones, this is very important. There are lots of ways we can help the clients if we do find issues and we can give them an idea of estimated costs to fix any issues.
What do you do if you find issues in a house that is in a specialised field e.g. plumbing or electrical?
Sure, we have a great team of guys here that we can call on. With the homes generally the new ones are pretty good they don’t have concerns as they have all been approved by the council and generally these new ones have been built quite well. With the older homes, if I get a feeling that there could be issues with the plumbing or electrical I will call on our plumbers or electricians. They have a separate fee which isn’t a heck of a lot and they inspect the plumbing and wiring and give their professional option in a written format so that you can pretty much buy in confidence knowing that this has been seen as well.
The HABiT is solution based and we are not here to kill a deal.
With every home we try and make sure we know if the clients are looking for a do up or an investment and we always make them aware of all the good points in the home and the bad points. A lot of people are naive with houses and with the dark cold homes, its really about making people aware of theses homes and the issues.
We certainly don’t want to give false impressions with a home, we are going to be deadly honest so that people make a good judgement call and are realistic with what they are buying. We give them an idea of potential costs by estimating any issues to give them a guide of their total budget. People do need to be aware of what they are getting into.
Why should people use HABiT Hamilton for building inspections?
Looking at the small amount of money we charge, people would be crazy not to buy a HABiT building report. It is the piece of mind you get with a professional report. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you make and for that small amount of money and having the assurance that you are getting a good report gives you that piece of mind.
I guess that being tradesmen we do know what we are looking for and getting to see the good things and bad things about the house. Its such a small amount to pay to get such a professional, written report.
HABiT has one of the most comprehensive reports in the market in New Zealand. Most of our reports are 40-50 pages for a 3-4 bedroom home. It is such a well presented, proven system.You have to go through such a detailed check list that you literally can not miss a thing, which makes us really look at each item, recognise it and make comments as we go from room to room. This is why our reports do take a little longer than other companies because we are doing such a through job, we don’t want to miss a thing.
It is a pretty simple report to read, there are a lot of photographs as we always take photographs of any of the potential issues that we have seen and explain how bad or good it is and how it can be rectified. It’s in a nice easy format.We are happy to talk through any issues or items with our clients.We are always there for a follow up conversation after we have given the report in case they need any further information.
We also do presale inspections for vendors.
What are the benefits of vendors doing a presale inspection?
We have done quite a lot of these. The benefits of these are the vendors can make sure they have got a house that is well presented and in good condition or the best condition they can have it in for their sale. A lot of people want to know what the issues are so that they can get them explored. It is very important these days both for people selling houses and real estate agents as its part of the legal document, that they are upfront so it is a really good idea. It will help them sell the house guaranteed.
It is going to give you a relative starting point if there are any issues and what is required to fix them but then again you could get a really good report and what a great way to sell a house knowing that you have had the warrant of fitness done and that your house is in a good condition and ready to be sold.
Any advice for new home buyers?
Having a code of compliance and getting a HABiT building inspection. We have had a couple of homes where we have gone up onto the roof that has had new cladding and we have found that council inspector haven’t actually been up on to the roof. We have had cladding missing and things like that. So a code of compliance is really important.
Making sure the house has been built by a tradesman and not by say the fireman down the road.
It is really important to make sure they have been built by Master builders preferably so you can get the guarantees that go with it. Get the house checked off with a well proven system so that you know you are getting a house for the long term not just the short term.
Records are available down at the council as its all public knowledge so you are able to check who built your house.The council should have all the licenced practitioners on record so you can check that they are master builders and qualified.
Councils do the LIM reports which we check over. It is definitely advisable to get a PIM report and a LIM report done before you buy a house. A LIM report will show any issues with the site.
LIM is the Land Information Memorandum which give any information on the particular site i.e. any sewage drains or easements going through. The PIM is Project Information which is the building itself and issues that have arisen during that project. It is a good bit of information to get but it does take a week or two to get from the council.We are happy to read those reports and find any information that needs to be highlighted. We recommend the clients get those themselves from lawyers.
Five main areas that need to be maintained when looking after a home
- The roof and gutters are important and need to be cleaned out and well looked after. It is the umbrella over your house, it will protect your investment in the long term.
- Making sure your cladding and fascias have been cleaned at least once a year, this is very important and will make your paint last a lot longer. Not only will it look good but it will extend the warranty on your paintwork. It is quite important to put a maintenance programme in place as it is good to be aware of when things will be coming up e.g. when your house will need painting again. This is a great way to maintain your investment.
- Checking windows and making sure that all the drain holes are unblocked. There is nothing worse than the water building up and leaking over your sills.
- To keep a healthy home you need to open it all up and keep it nice and clean. Those new homes are so well sealed that its nice to open the doors and windows and let the house breath a little bit.
- In the showers and wet areas keep a constant visual eye as showers are one of the areas that can let you down in the long or short term. So look out for any moisture that could be coming out of the shower doors, making sure that any water is draining away. It could just be the easy clear waste that is blocked so its just making sure that you have those wastes clear. Occasionally look under the shelf in your vanity to check for leaks. Make sure you wash tiles down and check for cracks. Let the bathroom breath. We always suggest putting a fan in to get rid of any moisture as you shower or take baths.
What do you love about being an inspector?
It is such a satisfying job we are able to help people purchase their new home and its really nice to make them aware of any issues good or bad. We have had several instances of where we have saved people thousands of dollars putting them off purchases and they have bought us gifts and things like that. Part of it is yes helping them into their nice new home, making sure they have a good home for the long term, the other part is trying to save them money by recognising the issues. Our HABiT format provides us with something that we are able to go through a house and check from top to bottom and give our clients confidence when making the biggest investment of their life.