Why building and pest inspections matter.
You may have inspected a property several times and have your heart set on it, but despite appearances, it could have any number of problems not visible to the untrained eye, including major structural issues that can be costly to fix.
Therefore, it is essential to get a clear picture of a property’s condition before making a purchase decision by organising a professional building and pest inspection. This gives you peace of mind that you are making a worthwhile investment when placing your final offer or bidding at an auction.
To learn more, here’s our handy guide to building and pest inspections and why they matter.
What are building and pest inspections?
Building and pest inspections are carried out by a suitably qualified professional, who physically inspects the property to assess the condition of the building and structural elements, while checking for the presence of any pests, before providing their findings in a written report.
Why you need a building and pest inspection
Investing in a building and pest inspection will help you uncover any major building problems or pest issues in advance of your purchase, and provide insight into how they may affect the property over time.
Depending on the issues discovered, and potential rectification costs, a building and pest inspection can give you more leverage when it comes to negotiating the final sale price.
Choosing an inspector
Always use a qualified professional such as a licensed builder, surveyor or architect to conduct a building inspection. A professional will look past any cosmetic improvements obscuring issues that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye, while ensuring the report complies with the relevant Australian Standard.
Whoever you choose should have adequate insurance coverage, particularly for professional indemnity.
Before enlisting an inspector, it’s worth asking them a few questions:
- Do they follow the Australian Standard for building inspection reports?
- What areas will they inspect?
- What does the report include? Ask to see their previous reports
- What are their qualifications and level of experience?
- How long will the inspection take and when will you receive the report?
It’s also a good idea to attend the inspection to better understand the state of the property for yourself.
Timing your inspection
A building and pest inspection should be conducted before entering into a contract - that way if you cancel the sale you won’t lose your deposit. Likewise, an inspection should be completed before bidding on a property at auction, where if you’re the highest bidder you will purchase the property instantly with no cooling-off period.
Where an inspection is not possible—such as when a vendor is looking for a fast sale—it is recommended to get your solicitor to include a clause in the contract stating the sale is subject to the completion of a satisfactory building and pest inspection.
Which areas of the property will be inspected?
Inspectors will assess numerous areas of a property when looking for defects:
- The interior - ceilings, walls, floors, windows, doors and frames, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, stairs
- The exterior - walls, timber/steel frames and structures, chimneys, stairs, balconies, verandas, patios, decks, balustrades
- The site within 30m of the property - car accommodation, garden sheds, retaining walls, paths, driveways, steps, fencing, and surface water drainage
- Sub-floor space
- The roof - space & exterior
What’s included in the inspection report
While there is an Australian Standard outlining what a report should include, reports can vary depending on the inspector you use.
As a minimum, any observed major defects should be listed, particularly urgent or serious safety hazards such as unsafe balustrades. The inspector may also give an overview of minor defects (anything non-major) such as significantly deteriorating exterior paint.
I’ve got my report, what next?
At first glance, a report can appear daunting, but your inspector should be able to talk you through it. While inspectors can assist with interpreting the report, they can’t advise on whether you should purchase the property or not. Instead, talk with your conveyancer or a trusted family member or friend with experience in dealing with inspection reports.
It’s worth noting that many homes will present with one or more minor issues, which you may opt to live with or remedy in due course. Where a home is riddled with problems or has a significant issue, then you should carefully consider whether the cost and time required to resolve them are worth proceeding with the purchase.
For more tips and advice on getting ready to buy, read our blogs on what first-home buyers wish they knew before buying property and getting ready to buy this financial year.
For assistance with starting your buying journey speak to your local Belle Property agent today. Read more about the process of buying and search our current homes for sale.