A mirror, hairdryer, bucket, some tissues, batteries and a marble might not sound like essential kit for a new apartment’s final inspection – but they could save you big time.
The unusual items are part of the recommendations in the Victorian Apartment Buyer and Owner Education Kit released by Australian Apartment Advocacy this week.
Founder Samantha Reece said avoiding a defective build started with asking the sales agent and developer all the hard questions before signing up – and being prepared to walk away if you had any concerns or they refused to answer your questions.
But once you have signed on, even the best builders can have slip ups – and detecting them before you take the keys can provide significant cost and time savings.
“Just because you’ve checked your soft-closing draws, that doesn’t mean it’s all top quality,” Ms Reece said.
A mirror should be used to check the tops and bases of doors to ensure they are sealed and won’t expand, a hairdryer can check all your power outlets are working, while batteries will confirm remote controls are also functional – and holding a tissue up can help identify any drafts.
It was also wise to ask for a flood test on your balcony at the final inspection, to ensure water is draining to where it is supposed to go to. And, if that is refused, a marble should roll towards drainage points, too.
If the water was not draining correctly, that was a sign you should look at delaying settlement until the issue was rectified, Ms Reece said.
“To fix it, you have to grind back the balcony, repair the tiles and then have it retested by an engineer,” she said.
“You can’t defer it, the defect will get more expensive; the scope for recourse will diminish.”
Given pooling water can lead to mould and concrete cancer, it is important to deal with as soon as possible – and ideally before you take ownership.
Alternatively, a professional building inspection might cost about $700-$800 in return for greater peace of mind.
Much of the guide could also help those looking to purchase older apartments, with some
notable differences to buying a traditional house.
One key difference to be aware of is checking weepholes, which are common in apartment windows but not used in houses, to ensure they face the right way to allow water out.
Despite the scope for issues, 70 per cent of apartment owners would recommend their lifestyle to others, according to a recent AAA survey.
“For good quality apartments, people are loving the lifestyle,” Ms Reece said.
Sign up to the Herald Sun Weekly Real Estate Update. Click here to get the latest Victorian property market news delivered direct to your inbox.