Photo: Wood siding destroyed by pests.
Our inspection property was located just off Redrooffs Road, on the water side. The water side houses are generally called ‘high bank’ properties; that is, they are indeed waterfront but the access to the beach is usually over a steep cliff which generally becomes less accessible with every passing year over the age of 60.
In a recent inspection, a number of issues that are associated with the house exterior and the lot itself contributed to the cautions that any buyer needs to consider. Here are some of these items to consider:
- Driveway. Will your vehicle be able to navigate it, down and up? What about the winter? If you plan to use it only seasonally then it should not be an issue. However if you are going to live there full time and it’s winter, it may not be accessible. Be prepared to either purchase an AWD vehicle or park at the top of the property and walk down to it when ice and snow defeat your vehicle’s capabilities.
- Tall Trees. It is a rain forest after all. Trees growing near your building should be inspected by a specialist, an arborist. Are they in good health? Is there any risk that the tree could fall towards and onto the house? Remember too that those same trees provide shading onto the property and most likely were half the height (under 50 ft) when the house was built 40 years ago, but now they may actually be overwhelming the site.
- Wood Destroying Insects. Many house in Halfmoon Bay are built with wood (siding, columns, beams and ceiling planks). Wood eating insects love to call these constructions ‘home’ as well. Imaging being surrounded by an inexhaustible source of food! You have to appreciate that you and the bugs both share the same dwelling space. Signs of infestation include visible ants on surfaces, holes in the wood or sometimes paper thin wooden surfaces that have been completely mined out behind, sawdust-like piles or fine sprinkles on the ground which fall down from above. These are housekeeping activities by your uninvited guests. A pest control specialist will need to be called in to review the infestation and implement a mitigation plan.
- High Bank Stability. A geo-technical specialist may be needed to review the slope stability. All those blackberries may be hiding surface issues such as erosion channels, sink holes or loose boulders ready to tumble down the slope. If this is a concern to the prospective buyer then by all means get a professional opinion.
- Septic System. The condition or the location of the private sewage treatment scheme on the site may have limitations with respect to remaining service life or operating effectiveness. In general, there are many available new systems that can replace an old septic service. However costs can escalate greatly, depending on the topography of the site.
Any property situated in a stunning environment will have issues associated with that locale. Owners are well aware of the problems and live with them to some degree of harmony. Buyers, on the other hand, may not fully appreciate what the lot itself has in store for them, as their primary focus is usually on the house.
Informed buyers will pay attention to the lot as much as to the house itself.