How to discover hidden defects before buying a house

Studies show that in Switzerland around 40 percent of home buyers are confronted with hidden defects and contaminated sites after moving in due to a lack of serious preliminary clarification. This often results in unplanned renovation costs. Early detection of the affected building elements prevents damage and subsequent costs. Use our checklist and find out what you can look out for during the house inspection.



What are the different types of defects?

For buyers of a house or apartment, the repair of hidden defects is a major investment, especially if the warranty period has already expired. According to a study by the EPF, 13% of construction defects are not discovered after five years of ownership.
It is therefore advisable to discover all defects before signing the contract, to record them precisely and thus to safeguard oneself. To identify the defects in the first place, find out in advance what types of defects exist and where they can occur.

Cracks in the facade or on walls, missing sealing joints or a broken door handle are defects that potential homebuyers can recognize during the first inspection. They should be recorded in detail in a protocol (PDF, 526.8KB), photographed if possible and complained about to the seller before signing the purchase contract. This is because: if you discover defects and contaminated sites before the purchase, you may be able to deduct the costs for their rectification and disposal from the purchase price.

In contrast to obvious defects, hidden defects are more difficult to detect. Often, these are not visible even at second or third glance. Our checklist and the overview below will tell you where the most common hidden defects occur and how to recognize them.

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