I read this list recently in API mag and have reprinted an abridged version for the benefit of members. It's from Rod Tanton, manager of Archicentre in Qld. Hope you might find it useful: 1. Illegal building Cost to repair: up to $100,000 Typical examples are low ceiling heights in habitable areas, dodgy extensions and alterations, and small boundary clearances. 2. Cracking Cost to repair: up to $50,000 Archicentre says its inspectors see examples of internal cracking being filled and painted and external cracking being hidden behind plants and trellises. If a crack has been filled, plastered over and painted, it can even be difficult for a professional to detect. 3. Termites, borers and timber rot Cost to repair: up to $20,000 Termites themselves try to conceal their activities but sometimes homeowners help out by patching up floor damage or concealing it under carpets. Access to potentially affected areas is also a factor- watch out for restricted access to subfloor and roof spaces. 4. Roof problems Cost to repair: up to $20,000 Rusty or damaged metal roofs can be concealed with little more than a coat of paint, Tanton says. “Quite often the cover-up merchants will simply paint over the top with some sort of gooey sticky stuff and then paint it all in and make it look nice, only to find within two or three months or six months or twelve months, we’re back to where we were, whereas it should have been replaced in the first place.” With tile roofs, silicone is increasingly being used to stick tiles back together in an effort to get a house sold. 5. Rotten weatherboards and windows Cost to repair: up to $10,000 Inspectors have seen rot patched with filler or covered with tin and painted. “It’s a small, inexpensive leap to spend a bit of spare time bogging up a few holes so that people don’t see it but what unfortunately can happen is the timber rot continues even though the paintwork over the top is quite good.” 6. Rotten stumps Cost to repair: $8000 average One of the telltale signs of rotting timber stumps is a white, salty look to the bottom of the timber. “To cover up those sorts of things people quite often paint the stumps and make them look nice,” Tanton says, adding that access is also often denied to underfloor areas with problem stumps. 7. Faulty or illegal wiring Cost to repair: $6000 average Tanton says this is an area where cover-ups get downright dangerous. Cover-ups involve putting furniture in front of problematic power points or painting over them. Quick-fix wiring in roof spaces can also cause problems. “We see all too often where people have carried out either bodgy home do-it-yourself wiring or indeed covered up something,” Tanton says. 8. Faulty or illegal plumbing Cost to repair: $6000 average Cover-ups involve painting or panelling over rusty plumbing that’s visible and homeowners carrying out their own illegal plumbing connections and extensions. 9. Damp Cost to repair: $5000 average Walls and ceilings are at times simply painted or panelled over, concealing the effects of dampness. “They’re very hard to see, particularly if the weather’s not raining a lot. If it is raining a lot then quite often the dampness will manifest itself as a smell.” 10. Guttering and downpipes Cost to repair: $3000 average Tanton says Archicentre inspectors see guttering and downpipes bogged up to hide rust. “We see that particularly with people selling homes – a bit of bog and spit and paint, and ‘she’ll be right mate, nobody will get up there and have a look’. And they often get away with it.” Some new homes also have secondhand guttering, he adds, an issue impossible to detect from the ground. Sobering, isn't it? The most important thing, in my view, after absorbing such a list, is to ensure the building and pest inspector you select is high quality and well experienced with such cover-ups.