Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Doing ever pre-offer inspection under the sun? (Asbestos, electrical, plumbing and more)

Discussion in 'The Buying & Selling Process' started by emza, 9th Feb, 2016.

  1. emza

    emza Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9th Feb, 2016
    Posts:
    216
    Location:
    QLD
    Hi, new poster, long-time lurker...

    Have been looking at our first PPOR in Queensland. Older place, cheap, Queenslander-style (not too high off the ground).

    Built back in the day of asbestos, lead paint, uranium and whatever else they used to make houses!

    We're interested in it as a PPOR for probably two years and then maybe as a rental but we're unsure how far to push the pre-offer inspections.

    We know the shed out the back is asbestos roof (which I know is mostly safe but wife, young child so down it goes). Agent was vague, couldn't get a clear "no" on whether more asbestos in the house.

    What we really want to do is send an asbestos inspector who can provide a quote. If that's not insane then we go to looking at everything else - the electrical wiring (which I suspect could be a full replace), plumbing under the house and testing the paint for lead (and also the soil which clearly has had paint flaking into it for decades).

    It's currently rented and has been on the market for a while (with a previous under contract that dropped out because couldn't get financing according to the agent (which could be b.s.)) so I think they'd put up with us sending multiple people around there.

    If all that went well then we'd go for the pest inspection.

    Anyone else done this? Is there some way to roll all these inspections into one? Are we just being very nitpicky wanting a million and one inspections before we think about an offer?

    Edit - should add we know about building inspections but want to use an electrician, asbestos remover and so on so we can obtain quotes as we go.
     
    Last edited: 9th Feb, 2016
  2. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    932
    Location:
    Qld
    I am not sure if you can test for asbestos without scraping the walls. They did this in my workplace and it was quite unsightly as they have to get all the paint off to scrape the bare surface below. I cannot see a vendor allowing this.

    You cannot expect new build specifications in an older house. To do all the inspections you mention with you cost a considerable amount of money in the unlikely event that vendor agreed to have the walls damaged.

    Maybe you are more suited to a newer property?
    Marg
     
  3. emza

    emza Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9th Feb, 2016
    Posts:
    216
    Location:
    QLD
    Thanks for the tip on asbestos. In some properties I know you can tap the walls with a key and hear that it's asbestos sheeting. I guess if it has paint layers over it, this highly scientific method might not work!

    We're okay spending money on an asbestos removal person, electrician and so on upfront just to get a real idea on what we might be looking at. Wife is very interested in the "charming" home so I'm prepared for renovation costs to bring an older house up to spec.
     
  4. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,962
    Location:
    Brisbane
    We've used Somah Thong from Total Asbestos for four or five jobs so far. Lovely helpful chap. In our son's house, he was unsure of whether the asbestos in one area was the type that required a sealed tent (negative air pressure?) and a supervisor on site. He could tell some areas by visual checking, looking for the print type on the reverse, the look and feel of the sheets and by pushing into it with a key, but for one large area downstairs, he was unsure of the type and asked for a test to be done. Our son sent a small sample (size of a 50 cent piece) to a lab to check that. Luckily it was not that really bad (friable) type and it could be removed as per the "usual" type without the negative pressure tent and supervision.

    As an example on another job for another son, he had a full bathroom (asbestos ceiling, walls, fittings, bath, linen cupboard), kitchen (asbestos ceiling, walls, old kitchen, appliances) two small bedrooms (ceilings, walls), toilet (ceiling, walls), hallway (ceilings, walls), a downstairs store room (ceiling and walls), and a downstairs toilet (ceiling, walls) removed for about $5k and all of that was replaced (except the store room and toilet downstairs) with plaster for about $5k.
     
  5. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,224
    Location:
    At work

    I spoke to Somah on the phone and will definitely use him in future. I'm not scared of asbestos knowing he is around. I described a house to him on the phone, and said what is the-worst-case-plastic-wrap-it-up-like-a-drug-lab piece by piece removal and the result wasn't scary.

    I think you should make your offer first. The rest will cost you money. It will be built into a B&P (Especially if you ask), and they often recommend a series of other inspections.

    I bet you pack up and run with your first QLDer B&P report :)
     
  6. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,717
    Location:
    Brisbane..
    Maybe a problem from the inspections side,the tenants may not like that many people going through the house and blue dust going everywhere,plus any good building inspector worth 50 cents in the dollar, would be able too tell just by looking wall by wall if the walls are asbestos..
     
  7. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,962
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It is fairly easy to tell if it is asbestos. But had the downstairs of our son's house been the worst type and required a negative pressure sealed tent with an on-site special inspector, that part of the house would have been several thousand more.

    So, the type of asbestos (and being able to easily recognise it - not even easy for someone who does this every day - needs to be tested to be certain), is more of a problem than knowing it is asbestos. That part is easy.
     
  8. vbplease

    vbplease Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    538
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I'd be expecting worse case scenario with each of those aspects of the house you mentioned.

    You can pretty much guarantee that the paint will contain lead, the wiring will require replacement, the internal wall lining will contain asbestos.

    It's not practical to have each element tested prior to purchase. The trick is to find an experience B&P inspector who will pick up on the big ticket items.
    The condition of roof, stumps and a potential leak to the wet areas are other items I look out for.
     
  9. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,962
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I have a great plumber, two good sparkies if you need one, a great painter and a general maintenance man too (but I've not yet engaged him to do any work).
     
  10. Moych

    Moych Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Sep, 2015
    Posts:
    65
    Location:
    NSW
    You can buy a lead test kit from Bunnings for maybe $20, which are pretty reliable. You will need owner permission though, as you will need to scrap back the layers of paint to perform the test but they are pretty simple to do. Finding an appropriate sampling point is the hard part (behind fridges, wall mounted phones, power sockets can sometimes work).

    Identifying asbestos is a bit harder if you don't know what you're looking for, request the B&P inspector to confirm if asbestos is present and whereabouts it is located (make sure the inspector is experienced in identifying asbestos too). While they probably wont confirm if it is bonded or friable without testing, they will be able to give you a good indication for you to base your assessment and you can then decide if you want to confirm with intrusive sampling post-sale.
     
  11. emza

    emza Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9th Feb, 2016
    Posts:
    216
    Location:
    QLD
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I think we'll get the building inspector who also does asbestos identification. Once that comes back if it doesn't kibosh the entire deal then go with the electrical and lead.

    The house was clad at some point so we're expecting the lead paint was contained underneath it. The windows are original however and currently flaking so we're pretty sure we'll be able to test there without too much bother.

    Thanks again!