DATE: 22/12/2015
CATEGORY: Awesome news, Blog, Buying a house, First Home Buyer, Home buying, Managing risk, Mortgages

don’t get caught without a LIM report


When you finally find your dream home it’s easy to fall in love with the house and forget to take prudent steps to check that everything is in good order.

On the surface the property may look perfect: Perfect shiny new paint lacquered to a gleam; prefect interior with the latest high-spec kitchen and wondrous plumbing. Perhaps even a wonderful perfectly manicured garden.

everything that glistens is not always gold

Straight away you can see yourself in the house living your dream life and enjoying loads of barbecues with friends in the height of summer. But don’t be fooled. Everything that glistens is not always gold, and what started out as a low maintenance dream can quickly turn into a DIY disaster.

Finding the perfect house can be like finding the perfect partner: rare to find and harder to get rid of once you’ve made a mistake.

Scratch beneath the perfect veneer and there’s a high chance you will find cracks in the facade, especially if it’s been round the blocks a few times before. Houses, like people, often come with baggage. Baggage – that people keen to move on are often motivated to hide.

And don’t err by thinking if you just get a building report you’ll have all bases covered.

We learnt this lesson only too well, and took a killer-hit to the pocket in the process. Perhaps like us you consider yourself an astute, not easily fooled, good judge of character. But take it from us when it comes to buying a house, most likely one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make in your lifetime, there is absolutely no place for trust.

The grueling experience is behind us now, but 12 years ago we fell in love with our former property. The previous owner was a Wellington based architect. We assumed, as it turns out incorrectly, that as a professional the alterations he had done to the house would be compliant with council legislation.

With a fatally ‘she’ll be right Kiwi attitude’ we didn’t get a LIM report. The house looked so perfect, strong, stable, and built to endure. Plus it was the architect’s own home – surely he’d do an A++ job on his own house. Lesson one – never assume anything.

Not long after taking possession cracks began to appear. A damp feeling on the deck over the garage lingered and didn’t shift. The garage began to leak. We contacted the former owner, the architect who had designed and submitted the plans to Council for consent, then project managed the alterations to the deck himself. We told him of the problem, hoping he may be able to help.

Only then, not when we first expressed interest in buying the house, did he admit that he too had experienced some leaking. He said he ‘thought’ it had been fixed and thus neglected to tell us of the prior issue.

Code Compliance Certificate nightmare

The can of worms began to turn and unravel. A twisting in our gut occurred as to our horror we found the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) had never been gained.

Astoundingly the architect told us he’d ‘simply “forgotten” to have this major alteration signed off.

We’d beg to differ. We quickly found that the deck he designed should never have been built. So many aspects were non-compliant; Even the height of the balustrade was illegal – a child could have toppled over and fallen to their death.

We contacted the architect to ask for his help sourcing the original plans. He was exceedingly quick to tell us his legal obligations had long since ceased. In this area he was very knowledgeable! Had 10 years not passed since the purchase we would have had some recourse, but it would still have been a hassle.

His sigh of relief was audible. Perhaps, we asked, accepting we were at fault for not getting a LIM in the first place, if he could save us the cost of having someone redraw the drawings, we could rectify the errors.

Incredibly, and with no remorse, he said he’d be happy to at his normal architectural fee. This despite the fact that he had the plans and drawings already on file.

costly mistakes

Left with little recourse to the architect, nor the Council, we dug into our own pockets. The total cost? Over $70,000 to repair and two years of acute stress.

We can tell you we would have rather flown first class around the world and spent six months living in Italy then spend the money fixing someone else’s mistake. We’re sharing the story to highlight the seriousness of taking shortcuts, or making decisions based on assumptions and trust.

We’re experts when it comes to getting an awesome mortgage and now based on lessons hard learned, we’re experts on the importance of doing due diligence prior to confirming your offer.

So take it from us – don’t get caught without a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report when buying your next home.

peace of mind

The lessons learned during this process reaped benefits when it came to purchasing our new lifestyle property. Diving deeper into the details of the LIM report brought to light issues that could have future consequences in respect to easements. These issues gave us both negotiating leverage, and allowed us to to take steps to minimize risk.

To gain more information, including a comprehensive report detailing the history of the property you are looking to purchase, contact your local council. If the property is in Wellington follow this handy link >> Even if you’re not in Wellington this link also details all the useful things a LIM covers.



Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Buying a house, First Home Buyer, Home buying, Managing risk, Mortgages

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