6 Money-sucking Property Damages To Look Out For

Residential Home

For most Malaysians, a home is probably one of the biggest investments they will make in their lifetime. As such, it is critical that home buyers do their research and know what they are buying before they seal the deal. A house does not come with a money-back guarantee, which is another reason why it is so important to be aware of potential issues before buying.

Having the information you need can help you eliminate nasty surprises that can be costly to fix, dangerous or even impact your home insurance premiums and eligibility. Be aware of the following property damages that could be lurking behind your walls:

1. Pest infestations

Your potential home could be infested with pests such as termites, rats, cockroaches, ants, bees, and spiders. They can nest in the dark and dry corners of your home, being a sheer nuisance to deal with inside your home.

Termites are often referred to as silent destroyers because they can lurk in your home for a long time without showing any noticeable damage. They primarily feed on wood and this can cause serious damage to the main structure of your home. You could end up paying significant amount of money to repair if the problem is left unchecked for too long. On the other hand, rats tend to bite into wires and leave electric connections exposed, which could lead to short circuits or electrocution.

Therefore, it is vital for house owners to ensure their home is inspected and treated by pest control experts if required.

Pests can be a nuisance to you if you are staying in the house, but it could cost you a lot of money if you are planning to resell. The value of the property may be affected, and to get rid of these pests completely costs approximately RM2,000 for a single storey house!

2. Hidden water damages

Your home can be vulnerable to water damages that derive from poor maintenance of eavestroughs and downspouts for rainwater, improper installation of plumbing system, cracks in the walls or an aging roof, and gradual breakdown of pipe joints. Repairing the plumbing system can cost up to RM10,000 for a single storey house.

The roof can be damaged and water could be penetrating through the broken or missing roof tiles.  Rain water could also be coming in through the seals and cracks in the windows or wall corners. Though the wall may not be wet to your touch, it could be saturated with water and you wouldn’t even know it. Roof retiling is not cheap, and it can cost up to RM25,000.

Without repairing the damage, you could risk having mould growth in your house. Any bit of mould in your house is never a good thing and breathing it in can lead to some not-so-fun symptoms like running noses, sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. In some cases, mould exposure can also cause serious reactions like skin rashes and asthma attacks.

To get rid of mould may require replacement of the ceiling or bathroom tiles. Mould on the wall need to scrapped out and repainted. For a single storey house, a contractor can charge you about RM4,500 for painting and RM10,000 for retiling.

3. Electrical system damages

An electrical system can be a potential hazard if it has not been properly maintained or updated. Outdated electrical systems can cause short circuits, electrocution and fire, exposing you and your family to danger. You risk losing your life or a loved one, your home and everything in it. The tell-tale signs that a house is in need of rewiring are easy to spot. Look out for an old fashioned fuse box, round light switches, round pin plugs or old wires.

If you are planning to purchase a single storey house that is at least 20 years old, be prepared to put in at least RM20,000 to have an electrical system overhaul.

4. Previous renovation mishap

If the former renovation done was a work of corner-cutting or do-it-yourself, they could pose a safety threat for you and your family. Examples of renovation mishaps include sagging ceiling, supporting walls removed, inadequate beam and structural support, cracks in the wall or tiles, and subsidence of the floor. You would then need to renovate the house again before moving in.

When you are considering buying a house that has been renovated, it is advisable that you get proof that the work was done with a building permit. This is to ensure that the changes done to the house abide by the laws set by the local authority. You can also ask an experienced contractor to inspect the home first before deciding to purchase it. For new development, it makes sense to ensure that the property has a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) to prove it is safe for living.

If you decide to go ahead with the purchase of the house even though certain changes made are questionable, you are at risk of having a wall or ceiling collapse and therefore exposing you and your family to danger. Renovating a single storey house can exceed RM100,000 depending on the renovation works required.

5. Natural disaster prone

Another item on the list to check is if the property is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as flash floods and landslides. This does not only pose a danger to you and other occupants, it also causes damages to your house and everything in it, as well as devalues your property. When assessing natural disaster risk, find out the frequency in which it occurs and the potential magnitude of loss incurred. This will help you identify how major the problem is and if purchasing the property is still a right move.

Certain locations that are prone to natural disasters like landslide and flood are Bukit Antarabangsa, neighbourhoods in Batu Caves, Hulu Klang, Ampang, Wangsa Maju, TTDI Jaya in Shah Alam and Bukit Gasing. Getting a home loan for properties in these locations can be a problem, as most banks are not keen to give out mortgages to these high risk areas.

6. Others

A. Ventilation and air quality

Breathing in low quality air that is filled with dust from our carpets or toxins from the wall paint can be hazardous to your health. This happens primarily due to poor ventilation caused by the way the house is structured, whereby there are insufficient outlets, windows or ventilators to allow for fresh air to come in. If there is no proper ventilation, you may need to create space for ventilation or get an air filter.

An air purifier can cost from RM200 to thousands, depending on brand and quality. If your house has poor air ventilation, you probably need to have an air purifier in every room, which can set you back by at least RM800, for a three-bedroom property.

B. Water quality

Although we receive treated water, unfortunately toxins from a rusted pipeline can still creep into our water systems, putting us at health risk. You will then need to change the piping system or invest in a water filter – RM2,300 for an outdoor water filter, RM1,000 for an indoor water filter and RM800 for a faucet attachment.

The best way to understand a home’s condition is to hire a professional home inspector such as BSC Building Surveyors & Consultants and P-CON Building Surveyors Sdn. Bhd. to conduct Pre-Purchase Building Survey or Due Diligence Survey. A basic inspection cost between RM350 to RM500 for a residential home. The cost will vary with the type of report, comprehensiveness and the size of the property.

A home inspection analyses the structure and major systems such as roof, electrical, plumbing, or drainage. By understanding the details found in the inspection report, you can identify the problem areas. The inspection identifies what repairs need to be made and at what cost. Depending on your financial situation, what comes out of the report could have an impact on your purchase decision. It could even give you some bargaining power with the seller. They provide home buyers with information they need to make an educated decision.

Deciding whether the property is a good buy involves weighing up these costs, together with the purchase price, against the likely end value. Knowing when to walk away from a costly investment can save you sinking your last penny into a money pit.

Are you planning to invest in a home? Find out if you are financially ready for this long-term commitment.

Now that you are ready to buy a home, compare rates for home loan from leading banks and use our calculator to identify monthly repayments and interest charges.

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