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Know what makes a safer home

Certain features can make some homes more susceptible to damage in a natural disaster.

Download our Home Buyers' guide

There are steps you may be able to take to improve the strength or safety of some of these features.

  • You’ll want to know the potential cost and time involved in this work before making your offer on a home. 
  • Also take into consideration the natural hazards associated with where you’re looking to buy.
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Foundations

A home’s foundations should be in good condition and its parts well connected to each other and the ground. If a house isn’t secured to its foundations it’s more likely to move during an earthquake or flood.

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Roofs and walls

Homes with lightweight, well secured roofs are likely to be safer in an earthquake or storm. Different types of wall construction also behave differently in natural disasters.

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Chimneys

If you’re considering a home with a chimney, is it a lightweight metal flue or does it need replacing? In an earthquake, tall, unbraced chimneys made from brick or concrete are more likely to suffer damage or collapse. 

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Slopes and retaining walls

There are specific things to look for if you’re buying a property on a slope. You want to make sure retaining walls are well constructed and maintained, including ones on the boundary or outside the property.

 

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Units, townhouses and apartments

If you’re thinking about buying a unit, townhouse or apartment, you might need to consider different things to a standalone house.

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Buying a home that's had an EQC claim

Find out whether the home has had an EQC claim, and what to be aware of if a property claim is being transferred.

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Insurance, reports and legal advice

Sometimes the list of things to think about when buying a home can seem overwhelming. But as this may be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, it’s important to be well informed before putting in an offer.