Strategies for spotting a property lemon

Not knowing how to spot a property lemon can turn the sweetness of owning your own property into a sour experience.

Unfortunately when it comes to spotting a lemon, signs such as insect holes or water affected walls will be hard to recognise if masked with a fresh lick of paint.

While the best way to safeguard against buying a dud property is to have a comprehensive building inspection performed by a qualified professional, there are some warning signs that should flash up on every buyer’s radar.

Not every property is built on solid foundations and cracks in the walls are a tell-tale sign that there may be serious problems with the property.

If you spot a crack that is wider than the width of your fingernail, or the bricks are out of alignment, then this could signal a major structural issue.

When inspecting a property’s structure always take an extra pair of eyes along with you as your chances of locating any hidden defects are doubled.

There are also other senses that should come into play when it comes to unearthing potential problems.

If the property smells damp and musty there is the possibility of potential plumbing issues, such as leaking pipes.

Prodding around toilet, shower and sink areas should reveal any soft spots hidden from view that may conceal leaks.

And a ceiling with bulges could hide a multitude of sins, so be sure to check every room.

By shining a light on the ceiling situation you can uncover most issues, like mould or roof leaks.

And sure fire sign of potential pest trouble is bubbling paint, wood powder or crumbling timber around door and window frames.

Lastly, if the property looks like it’s been renovated make sure you can be sure that these improvements were done in accordance with council regulations.

This is vital because if improvements have been done illegally then you’ll be responsible for bringing them in line with industry standards – and that could prove very expensive.

For more on the hidden costs of buying a lemon, check out 5 repairs that will burn a hole in your pocket in this issue.