5 things people forget to consider when buying a house

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting, stressful, overwhelming and important moments of someone’s life.  There is often so much involved, people get caught up in the process and lose focus of the important things.  If you’re interested in the buying a home, whether now or in the future, to live in or for investment, make sure you give careful consideration to the following things:

Hidden Costs

When looking for a home, people tend to focus on the price of the house and the amount they can borrow.  Many buyers forget to factor in the additional costs that come up when purchasing a property.  These might include things like:

  • stamp duty
  • agent fees
  • lawyer fees
  • lenders mortgage insurance
  • building and pest inspections

The list could go on!

It is also equally as important to consider the costs that come with owning the home you’re wanting to purchase.  Mortgage repayments are only one aspect.  Things like:

  • Council Rates
  • Utility bills
  • Body corporate fees
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Renovations etc.

can add up quickly so make sure you take everything into consideration when planning your finances.

What is the neighbourhood like? 

While most people think this is something to do after you move, talking to the neighbours of a property you want to purchase is a great way to get a feel of the area.  You can find out things like:

  •  If there are neighbourhood disputes or everyone gets along
  • Whether it’s relatively noisy or quiet street
  • If there has been any recent crime or if it’s a problem free zone etc.

Location, Location, Location!

Depending on your needs, requirements for location will vary.  Prioritise what’s important to you before you begin looking and have those factors firm in your mind.   How important is its proximity to things like:

  • Shopping centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Cafes
  • Schools
  • Public transport

Is it okay to drive to those areas or do you need to be able to walk?  Is there sufficient parking around the property?   These small factors that are often overlooked can create a lot of difficulty after you move in if not thoroughly considered beforehand.

Cosmetic vs Crucial

Don’t be dissuaded by things like paint colours, décor and simple fittings.  The colour of the rooms can be changed easily but the floor plan can cost tens of thousands in renovation costs.  If the shower fittings aren’t to your liking, that’s okay, but the water pressure available might be harder to change.  Conversely, a home that might look amazing at first glance could still have major problems below the surface.  That is why it is important to get professional inspectors to survey the property before you purchase.  Always make sure to keep an open and mind and a sharp eye when looking for a home.

Timeframes

Once you purchase a home, there is usually a cooling off period of a specified time (usually 5 days).  Within that time there will also be an allocated amount of time to get things done like pre-purchase building and pest inspections, environmental checks, susceptibility to flooding etc.  This is usually around 5-7 days.  Make sure you are aware of these time frames and organise yourself enough time to get the inspection done receive the report and think about your decision or have enough time to do any further investigations if necessary.

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How to Control Common Household Pests

Common household pests can quickly spread if the conditions are right.

While termites are often regarded as the most destructive; other common household pests can be quite irritating for us humans to live with. They can also lead to much bigger problems if left uncontrolled. The following is a list of 4 common household pests and how you can manage them:

  1. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests for us living here in Australia. They can usually be found living in cracks, cupboards or underneath some appliances. In regards to diet, they eat almost anything available from scraps to garbage, decaying matter or sewerage – hence; the best way to help keep cockroaches away is to ensure a clean and tidy home. Take special care to maintain bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms where dampness can build up easily and become a comfortable home for cockroaches.

  1. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the more vicious pests as they feed off human blood. Often, people only realise they have bed bugs when they notice the small bites on their bodies. Bed bug bites appear as large or small, itchy red bumps on the skin.  While they aren’t known to transmit diseases to humans, they can still cause distress to those affected. The best way to deter bed bugs from settling in your beds & furniture is to maintain a high standard of hygiene throughout. If you do find bed bugs, try to keep your home as sterile as possible by steaming carpets; washing all bedding in hot water etc. until you can have a professional assess and effectively control the problem.

  1. Ants

Ants, just like all other pests are in search of food and water. Once they find a good food source, they won’t hesitate to keep coming back to it. Just like humans, they eat similar foods which is why we commonly find their trails through our kitchens.  The best way to deter ants from coming into your home is to make sure all food is properly sealed and crumbs/spills are cleaned right away. Doing a general pest spray once a year is also highly recommended. This will help prevent the problem before it begins as it can be difficult to control afterwards. If you do decide to use a DIY pest spray; make sure to follow the trail and target the full colony not just the ants you see.

  1. Silverfish

These slinky critters feed on materials high in sugar, starch and protein and flourish in a dark and cool environment. They can often be found hiding in cupboards eating away at our clothing, blankets and books or we can find them in sinks & bathtubs while they seek moisture. The best way to avoid a silverfish infestation is to use mothballs inside closets and store seasonal clothing and blankets in plastic bags.

Leading into the Australian summer, a combination of the heat and summer storms create the perfect environment for these and other household pests. If you are experiencing trouble with any of these common pests or want to ensure a pest free summer; contact APM Solutions at 07 3828 2020 for a competitive quote on an inspection or general pest control treatment to protect your home today!

Thermal Imaging: Everything you need to know

At APM, every building & pest inspection we do includes a thermal imaging scan of the property.  This is an essential part of the process as it is a useful tool for identifying whether there are any active termites hiding between walls.  It can also help identify if there is any issues moisture build up, ventilation or dampness.

 About Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging is a useful piece of technology that displays images in regards to heat levels of an area rather than visible light.  Physical inspections can only asses a structure by using a tapping tool to check if there are any soft spots present.   In comparison, thermal imaging allows us to non-invasively asses areas that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye until severe damage was already done.

How it works

Thermal cameras work by visually showing us the differences in heat patterns of an area.   Inanimate objects like timber or dry wall show up as cool because they emit no heat.  Termites however, are living organisms that nest in groups and require dark, damp areas to build their mounds.  Due to the nature of their behaviour, they emit high levels of heat in comparison to the inanimate timber structures they like to reside in.  The cameras allow us to spot identify if there are any active termite issues within walls, ceilings or under floors that might otherwise look pristine.

Limitations

Although thermal cameras are an extremely useful tool during the building and pest inspection, they do have limitations which we always outline to our clients within our reports.  Because the cameras work based on reading heat levels, they cannot identify if there is structural damage present from a previous termite inspection.

 

Contact APM Solutions on (07) 3828 2020 if you think you have hidden termites on your property.

How to Avoid Termite Trouble

 

Termites or “white ants” are small insects that can cause quite a bit of grief for home owners. In Australia, there are over 300 species of termites but the Coptotermes is most dangerous in terms of home infestations.

What makes termites dangerous?

Often called the “silent destroyers”, you might be wondering what is it that make these tiny creatures so dangerous to our homes as opposed to other common household pests? The answer to this lies within their eating habits. Termites feed off cellulose, an organic compound found in plants and common human building materials like wood. They prefer eating wood to obtain their nutrients because they can breakdown fibres in wood that other organisms cannot. Thus, providing them with a food source largely overlooked by most species.

People fear them because most don’t realise they have a termite problem until major damage has already been done. Termites love to live in humid and warm places with plenty of wood to eat making most Queensland homes the perfect place for termites to set up camp. As the termites eat away at your home, they can cause serious physical damage that can compromise the integrity of your house and cost thousands in repair work.

How can I prevent termites?

The saying “prevention is better than a cure” couldn’t be more true when it comes to termites. To make sure you never have to feel the fear of a termite infestation, here is a list of things to keep in mind that can help prevent a termite infestation:

Physical Barrier

This is a physical layer of protection between the soil on the ground and your home. Generally, these are made out of a stainless steel mesh so termites have difficulty gaining access to the house. This in conjunction with a concrete slab under the house can help protect your home physically. However, because physical barriers won’t kill any termites that might be living in the soil they are not 100% effective.

Chemical Barrier

This is a chemical treatment put into the soil surrounding a home. While deadly to termites, the chemicals used are completely safe for humans, pets, native animals etc. The chemical barrier is slow acting and spread from one termite to another until the colony is fully eradicated. It is important to keep in mind that there are different chemicals that can be used for this type of barrier and it’s important to speak with a professional to find out what is best for your home.

Wood Waste/ Storage

Never bury or leave wood waste in your yard as it will attract termites. Also, try not to store things like timber or firewood close to your house.

Placement of Mulch

Mulch is like a buffet dinner for termites however is used in most home gardens. Instead of completely getting rid of mulch, be mindful of where you put it. Try not to use it anywhere that is directly adjacent to your home.

Control Leaks

Termites love humid, moist conditions so make sure to fix any leaks around your home and get rid of any stagnant water.

Heavy Plant Growth

Remove any dense plant growth near your house and move it to further away in the yard. The thick vegetation holds large amounts of moisture which will attract termites.

If you think your might have termites or want to prevent them, contact APM Solutions directly on (07) 3828 2020 for a competitive quote on an inspection or treatment.