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Should houses be inspected for timber pest and building issues before you buy?

The risks involved in purchasing a property can be overwhelming to potential home buyers, but a pest and building report from Border pest Control can set your mind at ease. Investing in a property is one of the most important decisions a person will make. However, buying the right property is a complex issue therefore having the maximum information is the very best way to insure you are making an educated decision on your purchase.
Termite problems are very expensive to solve but the risk factor can be reduced by knowing not only whether termites are present, but also the likelihood of an attack in the near future. This is a vital part of making the right choice. Every property is different and there are many factors to consider.

A pest inspection gives you all the information about the conditions conducive to attract termites to a building and what you can do to reduce the risks. For instance leaking pipes and showers are one of the main factors in a termite attack as termites need moisture to survive and are especially attracted to decaying timbers caused by these water leaks. This doesn't mean the property is not worth buying, as all problems are solvable, it is about the cost of keeping a property termite free and weather this is in your budget or not.
The same goes for a pre purchase Building inspection, the report not only covers issues that the property has now but also the likely hood of problems arising in the near future. Border pest Control have 3 trained and qualified pre purchase inspectors that have the knowledge and experience to advise you of any issues before you are committed to buy the property. This is vital information as building faults are usually very expensive to fix, so it's best to know what you are likely to be up for before you commit your money to a particular property. A building will usually have some movement as the structure settles over time. This can make the internal plaster crack and the cornice move away from the walls. The level of movement can be difficult to determine and it is important to have these areas inspected as some movement is normal, but some cracking can indicate a major building fault.
One of the major problems we find during our building inspections is plumbing and drainage issues. Keeping water away from the building is the best thing you can do for a building as water will lead to timber decay, and can cause foundation and slab cracking. This is because wet soil under the slab can cause the soil to lift and fall causing the slab to twist and crack. Something as simple as having the storm water system functioning correctly can save large amounts of money down the track. Moisture leaks can be difficult to detect in there early stages, we use a moisture meter that will pick up a leak long before it is visible to the naked eye.

We recently had a call from a home owner who chose not to have a pre purchase inspection. While vacuuming the owner bumped a skirting board and found it was hollowed out by termites. We carried out a full inspection of the property and found termite damage in several parts of the house including the roof timbers. The repairs to the property were a very expensive and added to the cost of a termite treatment was an expense that the customer had no choice but to deal with.
We often find termites during an inspection; this is an opportunity to renegotiate, prior to settlement or losing a deposit. Usually when the seller becomes aware of the problem they will either pay for the treatment and damage or drop the price to cover the costs. But not finding out until after the purchase means the new owner foots the whole bill.

No building is fully protected from termites for the whole life of the structure due to many factors such as chemicals having a finite life that will eventually leave the house vulnerable. Building regulations now state that the house must have structural protection from termite attack. Many builders use treated timber in the structure and do nothing about real termite prevention to save costs. Termites can still enter and attack skirting boards, Bathroom and kitchen cupboards door and window frames etc. So even very new houses have termite problems. If you go to our web site and look at the section on Termites and Termite facts, you will find the statistics from CSIRO that show how common termite problems are. Building extensions especially those with bathrooms are a common entry point for termites. This is often due to the existing termite barrier being disturbed during the construction. 

A building can go through many changes during its lifetime and often these changes can increase the risk quite dramatically. The average home buyer is often completely unaware of building additions and changes. This is where an inspection is vital as it takes an expert to identify all of the factors involved.

Termites have been around for many years before we built houses and would eat trees that grew in the surrounds. These trees had some levels of defence against termites in the way of oils and resins that termites find difficult to eat. Now we build homes with timbers from areas that don't have termites and have not had to develop termite resistance. When a termite colony find these timbers they have a food source that is much easier for them to consume and will be very persistent in attacking again and again as these timbers are a much better food than the trees they are used to feeding on. This is why the same house is often attacked over and over.

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