Buying a home is an exciting new experience for most people, and you just can’t help looking at every potential home. That is exactly what you should do. What so many people forget to do, though, is to look up and see what’s going on with the roofs and ceilings. This can be a huge mistake.
Pay attention to the type of roof
In most cases when buying property in South Africa you’ll find your new home has one of three common roof types. These three styles are flat, gable or Tuscan (more commonly known as a hip style).
Flat roofs are, as the name implies, flat. Although they do have a slight pitch to them they still look perfectly flat. This opens up a lot of space for further building options such as an idyllic rooftop garden or easier vertical expansion of the building. What you need to be aware of, though, is that despite their slight pitch flat roofs are still far more prone to water build-up during rain and subsequent leakage.
Tuscan roofs are designed to slope down to all sides, providing excellent protection against wind and much better run-off than flat roofs. If you are moving into an area that frequently experiences strong winds and heavy storms, this is a great roof type to look for. Houses with Tuscan or hip roofs do tend to be more expensive to build though, which could lead to them being rather pricey to buy. Also, you need to make sure that the roof was installed properly so that you don’t end up with leaks in the seams (also known as valleys).
Gable roofs are another extremely common roof type, looking like an upside-down ‘V’ that slants off to either side. Gable roofs are fairly cheap and easy to install, and thanks to their shape they provide some of the best run-off potential for protection from leaks. Their design can also leave a convenient space in your ceiling for conversion into a loft or attic of some kind. The one thing you need to look out for is that gable roofs are prone to collapsing or being ripped off in strong winds unless additional support has been installed and maintained. In order to alleviate these risks, make sure that the building contractors have installed proper reinforcement like hoop iron a or guy wire to anchor the roof. If those are in place, you should be safe.
Check for problem patches
Always look up at the ceiling when viewing houses. If you see patches of mould or discolouration then that is a clear indicator that there was a leak there. So make sure to ask for proof that the leak has definitely been fixed, or alternatively go to viewings on rainy days when the leaks are more likely to show.
Don’t just look up, jump up
Another important check you want to do, even though it may be a little uncomfortable, is to get up into the ceiling to check for leaks as well as bad wiring. If there are exposed wires or bits of debris and signs of damage lying around, you want to see it before you buy the house. Nobody likes surprises like that, and you are allowed to make sure your safety is guaranteed. Also insist on seeing a genuine, up to date electrical compliance certificate.