So you’ve purchase your new home, and you’ve only just discovered an issue with the property which needs to be resolved. Whether its termites or pests, structural issues with any walls or the roof beams – getting onto this quickly and efficiently is essential. Here’s some tips on what to do when you’re stuck in this situation.
Check your rights
First things first – did you recently purchase this property? If you did be sure to check the information you were provided during the sale. Real Estate agents are obliged to legally provide you with any essential information on the property, and respond to any questions you have related to the purchase. A common example which came through the South Australian property market was an enforceable action against a real estate agent who advertised the property as having a new hot water service, when it was in fact over 15 years old, several years out of warranty. Shortly after settlement the service broke and the real estate agent was liable for the replacement of this service. In general however real estate professionals will try to be upfront and honest about any information – but it’s important for you to ask any questions regarding potential issues with the property prior to signing any contract.
Identify the specific problem
It might seem simple – but sometimes it’s anything but. Work out example what is wrong so you can engage the right professionals to fix the problem. Cracking in the property can come through incorrectly positioned drainage pipes causing movement in the soil, sagging ceilings in garages can be due to poor ventilation and types of paints used. By correctly determining the cause of your problem can stop you spending unnecessary funds having to re-repair issues because the underlying problem wasn’t resolved.
Let your insurer know
Your home insurance policy will generally have provisions within the policy stating that you must let them know of any structural issues if and when they occur. To ensure you keep compliant with your policy, let your insurer know and they will give you any information they may require about repairing/resolving any issues. In some cases where the issue came from an insured event – such as fallen tree or flood – the insurer may pay for the repairs to your property. Mark Flynn from Brickit notes that you in many cases will need to use a specialist repairer for any insurer works – as they will need to be accredited to complete certain works to the insurers satisfaction, be willing to accept certain payment terms and provide a standardised evidence document with the works.
Prepare for the work required
Repairing work can cause significant disruption to your home, your belongings and your schedule. Consider finding alternative accommodation if the works is too disruptive, if very messy or potentially damaging, find a storage solution, or adequately close off the area being worked on to stop the spread of mess and damages. In the case of pests, Jack from ProtectaMate notes that its better to try to use a local pest removal business where possible – as they will generally charge less than a provider further away who will have to bill for the distance travelled.
Use the right professions
In Australia it’s common to DIY a lot of home works – but be careful that you do not attempt to try do any repairs which require appropriate licencing. Plumbing, electrical, gas works and structure works all have relevant licenced trades who can ensure the works are completed correctly. Likewise for many of the jobs, they will provide a certificate of compliance, which if not provided and future issues emerge, you could find your insurance claims denied.