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How can a pre-purchase building inspection help you?

There’s always going to be an element of risk when buying a property. So, in order to mitigate some of that risk, you should consider including a pre-purchase building inspection as part of your contract.

Building inspections are just another way to back yourself against some of the nasty surprises that may arise after you sign on that dotted line. A good building inspection report will detail and assess a number of potential issues and problems, which can save you a major headache in the long run.

The report will help you identify any problems or defects in the property as it stands, and it will also give you an estimate of the cost it will take to fix the issues. As the name suggests, a pre-purchase building inspection should be carried out before you make an offer to purchase the property.

A professional building inspector will access both interior and exterior areas of the home, and should also tailor the inspection to suit the age of your property. They are a great resource available to give you as a buyer a second set of eyes to give you some peace of mind.

Below is a list of some of potential expenditures the pre-purchase building report can identify before you make the decision to buy:

  • Rising damp and mould;

  • Cracks;

  • Roof condition;

  • Poor ventilation;

  • Poor drainage in the sub floor;

  • Decaying timber and rot; and

  • Termite presence and/or damage.

All of these problems can prove to be quite costly and difficult to fix, so a building inspection can save you a lot of time, money and stress down the line.

Your pre-purchase building report should be personalised to suit the age of your property. In addition to a structural report, a home that has been recently built should have a thorough inspection done of all the fixtures and fittings, including a quality check of all tiling and cabinetry.

However, if you’re buying an older home, which will have a reasonable amount of wear and tear associated with it, the pre-purchase building inspection should focus primarily on structural faults and issues that will require costly repairs. Think of issues such as rising damp and mould, rather than rusting gutters.

So, what happens if your building inspection turns out a negative report? A condition of the pre-purchase building inspection should be to offer the seller the option of fixing the issues within a certain time frame. If the seller refuses to comply, the buyer should then be given the option to terminate the contract.

Make sure your pre-purchase building inspection states:

  • Who will be paying for the report (the buyer is usually expected to pay);

  • The required completion date;

  • Any criteria to be assessed; and

  • The actions to be taken if the inspection finds that the property does not conform to the declared standards stated by the buyer.

You will need to engage the services of a qualified building consultant or inspector, who has all the relevant licenses and valid insurance, in order to gain the pre-purchase building report.

We recommend enlisting the help of a reputable building inspector to go through the range of issues with you and tailor a pre-purchase building report to your specific requirements.

At the end of the day, you want to feel comfortable that your new property doesn’t have any nasty hidden surprises that will crop up down the track. The peace of mind will be worth the effort!