Kapiti Home and Building Inspection Interview

Kapiti1What areas do you cover?
I cover all of Kapiti and Horowhenua, from Paekakariki through to Sanson  so it is quite a big area to cover. I have also been doing quite a bit of work around Bulls and into the Wanganui regions so if there is anyone up there, we can make suitable arrangements to go up and inspect a house. But most of the work is between Paekakariki, Levin, Foxton, and a lot of the beach front like Waitarere and Otaki beach, a lot of people are looking for holidays homes so a lot of those areas are high in demand.

How well do you know the Kapiti / Horowhenua area?

I grew up on the Kapiti coast, further down towards the Plimmerton area, I think it’s very important to know your area as each area is individual and has its different problems.Having a knowledge of it can be useful as you will know what the cause of the problem is in most cases.

Why should people use of building inspector?

Well I think that you need an independent person an unbiased person,someone who is impartial to give you another set of eyes.The more houses I see and the more people I meet that haven’t got an inspection done and say I wish we did as it would have shown up a lot of problems. One of the things I have found is quite often people buy their house with their heart or emotions, so it is actually taking that emotion out of the equation and having someone independent go in and just evaluate the house as a house taking all the emotion out of it. There have been many occasions when I have been able to go into a house after talking to a client who has described it as a lovely home saying they can’t see anything wrong with it and I’ve gone in and found the basic bones of the house type problem, a major problem and there is no way this person should really buy this house. So a HABiT home and building inspection is actually taking that out of it and saving a lot of problems further down the track.

If there is a major problem do you advise your clients not to buy the house ?

I certainly don’t tell the client not to buy a house, what I try and do is put the information in front of them that sums up the house and if the information in front of them is worded correctly then the client will understand that, its not the house for them.

But as far as actually saying to the client don’t buy this house or its a bad house then no I don’t do that. I try and put all the information in front of them. This is where making all the information clear and concise and unbiased is the way to go. It is not up to me to tell them not to buy the house. With all the right information a person can see what needs to be done and make that decision. It is all about information and communication.

What do you see as your areas of expertise?

I think we do the older homes well, the problems homes are the ones we can be the most value in. Obviously if you get a new home or a brand new home which are well built, we do occasionally find something but they are relatively minor. It’s when you’ve got problem areas that’s where I can be the most value. Again its from an experience side, its where you can look at the house and know from experience that this type of house or this construction or the way this has been built has led to problems in the past. We can go and look at that house and either give it a clean bill of health or say that this area has got a problem in it.

I think from a home and building inspectors point of view, the more problems that could be in a house and that we can pick up is the best area of expertise we can give to a client. That’s not to say that if a person wants to get a new house done that they shouldn’t, they should, they absolutely should. It is amazing what you do pick up, generally it is relatively minor, its just getting that house up to a level it should be at.
I had one the other day which was a lovely old villa and it had been moved on to this property about 30 years ago. When you looked at the whole thing it was like wow what a lovely house, having been redone etc but then you went underneath it and looked at the piles and foundations it had been put on it was terrible. That’s one of the things that our expertise can do, is to actually focus on an area that actually matters and that’s the bones of the house.

We get feedback all the time from our reports is the clients, that is fantastic I wasn’t expecting that, the thorough breakdown of the bigger problems etc if there are any. Some times it just gives them a little bit of a list or an idea about what could be the maintenance areas of the house further down the track which is just normal maintenance on a house but a lot of people need that direction.In a report we can provide that and the client will know what to look out for and maintain.

Any advice you can give vendors that are looking to put their houses on the market?

Well a lot of people are looking at getting an inspection done from a vendors point of view.I think that gives people confidence when people are looking at a house if a vendor has gone out and put a report together and is quite prepared for someone to look at it and know its faults. It is a very powerful tool for selling a house as well. Its quite often a good heads up. There is nothing worse than getting half way down the track, getting an offer and you think your house is sold, then the client comes in with an inspection and it comes up with a reasonable problem and they say they aren’t going to carry on any more.That can be quite soul destroying to a vendor especially if it happens a couple of times. I think it is better to deal with the problems first.

Top 5 areas you suggest people should maintain

-Exterior if you can maintain the roof and guttering and the cladding then you are a long way to keeping you home safe and free from water getting into it and leaks occurring . So keep the roof checked, get up there or get someone else up there and have a look at it, is it rusty, has it got holes in it, is the fixing in the roof good.

A lot of flat roofs and those with butynol the glue can come unstuck and people don’t know that. If you don’t know about it you can’t fix it.
Keep the gutters clear of debris, there a lot of problems that come from the gutters. Once they are cleaned out and the downpipes are running and everything is good then a lot of the water problems do disappear.

Thinking about the cladding of your house,is it in good condition, are all the sides of the windows sealed up so water can’t enter, is there a crack in the plaster cladding of your house or in some brick work and do I need to do something about that if there is a crack because they are all areas where moisture can get in.

Moisture seems to be the biggest problem down the track and that comes down to plumbing, so if you have a leak underneath the laundry tub and its been dripping down there for ages and you have meant to fix it, what you will find is that if you haven’t fix it after a time then you are going to have a reasonable problem with the floor rotting out, replacing vinyl and the cabinet etc. Where as if you had just fixed it in the first place you would have saved a lot of money.

Keeping on top of electrical. Broken fittings for example, you don’t want a fire inside your house and try not to overload stuff. Just keep an eye on it as if something is broken it can cause a fire.

As we go around most of the problems you see are maintenance problems
Clearing trees away from the house to get air and sunlight in and around the area if you just leave it to overgrow it will rot out in quite a short period of time.

Any advice you have for a new home buyer?

If you are going to have a look at a house first time up, just look around the house. Traditional is good, you know, if you looking at a new house that is a way out architecturally design, that has got peaks and valleys sometimes they can be harder to maintain. I’m not putting people off its just that way it is. Traditional is good. One word of advice is if you have found a home that you have an offer on and you find a problem,negotiate. For example if you find the roof is going to cost a bit of money then talk to the vendor, he wants a sale too. If you have found a problem someone has to fix it so it might as well be him.

What is the housing like on the Kapiti Coast?

Generally they fall into a couple of distinct areas, it is a very go ahead area as there are a lot of new housing so we have a good housing stock of great houses and very very nice houses as well. Because it is a beach area it has been a long standing bach area. The New Zealand beach bach. A lot of those houses have been added on to over the years and a lot of them are getting knocked down as well and great big houses being put in their place but there still a lot of those houses around. Nothing wrong with them but they are what they are. They are not a huge edifice they are great little houses. So have the 2 sides of the housing area and that is great for the area, gives people a great lot of choice. There are quite a few different areas on the coast so you have a great choice of where you want to go, what type of housing you want to get into and the age and condition of the houses as well. There is a huge variance.

What do you love about being a building inspector?

Generally getting a result for the client. Now that could either be saving them money and grief. I go and look at a property and give them all the information on that property that I can, that I think is relevant, that evaluate that and decide that it is not the property for them. Quite often I don’t know that has happened until I get a call from the same client to say they want me to have a look at another house because they chose not to buy the first one. I always say to them there is always another house. If there is a problem quite often the best thing to do is walk away and find another.
The other side of that of course is to help a client and the vendor and the agent to complete the circle, a happy circle and have a sale with everybody going, hey that is cool, we have had the house inspected, we know of any issues we are going to go ahead with the sale and in a few weeks time we are going to move into our brand new home.
That can be very satisfying.


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