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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

Some key things to think about before you buy

  • Organise a home inspection report by an appropriately qualified professional such as an independent building surveyor or structural engineer to assess and identify possible issues.
  • Check local council files on the property to ensure any building or construction work has appropriate consents and ask your lawyer to review these.
  • Consider the potential cost of repairs needed and talk with your lawyer about how this might affect your offer on a house.
EQC 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.

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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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. 

Retaining Wall
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.

Buying a home thats had an EQC claim
Buying a home that's had a natural hazards cover claim

Find out whether the home has had a natural hazards cover 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.