Cracks everywhere.



From: Peter Davidson

Hello all,

I've just inspected a weatherboard property in Brunswick, Melb. which is about 80 years old. There are cracks in every bedroom and around the house. Cornices, walls and roofs have been patched in many areas of the house and there are still a number of visible cracks(about 1-3mm wide) in bedrooms, hallway, kitchen etc. Is this normal?

I live in a relatively new house and don't have any cracks!

It's currently leased at $260 p/w and auction will go to about $310k.

I'll be purchasing for investment but I am afraid it is going to collapse or be up for a huge amount of $$$. Not really interested in a building inspection because not really interested in property, but if the price is right...... Can anybody shed any light on my situation.

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Reply: 1
From: Michael Croft

Hi Peter,

I run a property inspection business and I'm not in Melbourne.

The cracks could be cosmetic or structural but without physically being on site I can't be certain (and no one else could either). 1 to 3 mm cracks to the plaster in a weatherboard house on stumps may simply be normal movement in clay soils, or the bad news is that the property may need restumping and be full of termites (white ants).

Do yourself a favour and find a decent building inspector to have a look at it. Worse case you've done your dough on the inspection (a few hundred dollars) but avoided buying a lemon which could cost you thousands.

Good luck,

Michael Croft
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Reply: 1.1
From: Asy .


I know an excellent building inspector, his name is Norm Marr, and I have used his services for years, and have recommended him to MANY other people.

He has about 50 years experience in the building industry, is very thorough, and is not a scare-monger. He will tell you if there is anything wrong, and how difficult it will be to remedy. This will help you buy, or not buy, knowledgeably.

Norm can be contacted on 0416 194 645.


"Don't forget what happened to the guy who suddenly got everything he ever wanted...
He lived happily ever after.
(Willy Wonka).
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Reply: 1.1.1
From: Always Learning

Just guessing here, but I think it could be the following. ( Prices are from a IP of mine done 3 years ago.)


Problem: An 80 year old house, probably has Lath of plaster used in construction; thin strips of wood over the internal house frame then covered with hessian cloth, with a thin top layer of plaster.


Cause: When a house is in need of reblocking (posts under the house, rot after 40~60 years) the house will sink in uneven ways, thus causing stress fractures in the lath and plastering.

To fix: Reblock the house ($4000~6000), get a qualified tradesman who will have lots of jacks who will life the house very slowly and evenly back to being straight and level. The plaster will crack even more in the process. You then need to either patch all the cracks, (known as a hell of a job) and repaint, or get a tradesman to remove all the old plaster and put in new plaster board, this is unbelievably dirty job. Cost around $2000~$3000 per room, this is also a good time to check the electrical’s of the house, I recommend to get the place rewired if the electricals ($3200) are more than 40 years old. House is completely unlivable during the process.


Result: Once you polished the floor boards ($3000), the house will look much much better, and you should be able to achieve a higher rental return.


Now of course it may be a lot worse or better, it could termites or god knows what; so an inspection is excellent insurance and the report could be used as to lower the price. If you dont get an inspection, at the very least take a look under the house, on the roof and in the roof cavity for yourself.


<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" >


<td rowspan="4">



<td colspan="2" align="center">

<p align="left">Investment Laws</td>



<td align="right" >1st Law:</td>

<td>"What ever you don't invest you forfeit."</td>



<td align="right">2nd Law:</td>

<td>"What ever you reap is what you've sown"</td>




<td><p align="right">Jim Rohn;</td>


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