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  • Writer's pictureDana

Avoid costly repairs: Save money when buying a home

Building Inspection Report
A pre-purchase inspection can save you big money

Buying a home

Whether buying a home for the first time or moving on to your next property, one piece of important information on the checklist is inspecting the physical condition of the building you are purchasing. For most people buying a home will be the single most expensive purchase they make in their lifetime, so it is important to have as much details as possible about the condition of the building to make it a successful purchase. This is particularly important if you are looking to purchase an older home.

What to look for when buying a home?

When buying a new home you should look extensively at the general conditions of the property. These areas include:

  • Windows and doors for damp or mould

  • Sagging ceilings

  • Buckling walls

  • Cracks in exterior walls

  • Smells and noises

Buying a home checklist - Inspections

When buying a home, inspections should definitely be on the checklist. We have all seen those house flipping and renovation shows where the owner slaps on some fresh paint and tidies up the yard leaving the home or property looking like new. However, without a proper inspection these cosmetic upgrades could be hiding costly repairs. To save you heartache and expensive repairs your best course of action is to have a pre-purchase building and pest inspection conducted by a professional.

Do I need a professional building and pest inspector?

Even if you do not have building experience, many extensive damage or defects to the general condition of the home or property are easily identified with the naked eye. However, there are some areas that require an inspection by trained professionals to determine the status of the property and the nature of any defects present. Therefore, a pre-purchase building and pest inspection is recommended.

What is a pre-purchase building inspection?

A pre-purchase building inspection examines the condition of a property prior to its acquisition. It provides a written account that describes any significant defects of the property or problems that currently exist or may occur within the short term. A pre-purchase building inspection is recommended to ensure that the property is structurally sound. It is undertaken by a licensed builder such as NWH Pest and Building, surveyor, or architect who will produce a report outlining their findings. These professionals will see through any attempt to cover up faults through cosmetic improvements.

What should a pre-purchase building inspection check?

The pre-purchase building inspection checks all accessible parts of the property for defects.

These areas include:

  • Exterior of the building

  • Interior of the building

  • Under-floor space

  • Roof space

  • Roof exterior

  • Site (garage, carport, retaining walls, steps, fencing, driveways)

What is a pre-purchase pest inspection?

A pre-purchase pest inspection examines the property for indications of pest activity prior to its acquisition. It provides a written account that describes any significant, old or current issues with insect infestation. A pre-purchase pest inspection is recommended to ensure that the property is free of destructive pests. It is undertaken by a licensed inspector such as NWH Pest and Building who will produce a report outlining their findings.

What should a pre-purchase pest inspection check?

A pre-purchase pest inspection may be undertaken at the same time as the building inspection. This will check for active pest infestation and any inactive or old activity which may cause structural damaged such as:

  • Termites

  • Borers

  • Wood decay fungi

  • Mortar bees

Are pre-purchase inspections upfront costs of buying a home?

The pre-purchase building and pest inspections are considered upfront costs of buying a home. These costs are incurred and paid out of pocket before buying the home or property. Some states/territories in Australia, such as the ACT, require that the vendor supply both the building and pest inspection as part of the sales contract. Others, such as NSW, leave it up to the purchaser to decide if they wish to commission a report before buying the property. No matter which situation is relevant to your state/territory a building and pest inspection is an important part of your due diligence when purchasing a property.

How you can save money with inspections

Making the decision to have a pre-purchase building and pest inspection can save you money in the long run. The pre-purchase building and pest inspections could indicate that all is well with the property but what if it does not? Consider the consequences of discovering the home of your dreams has numerous defects AFTER you have purchased it. As the property owner you will have to bear the burden of these potentially costly repairs . However, if you had known of these defects prior to buying the home or property, you would have the following money saving options available to you:

  1. Decide not to purchase and move onto the next property with the only cost to you being that of the pre-purchase inspections

  2. Negotiate for the seller to remedy the defects before you agree to buy the property

  3. Negotiate a price reduction if the seller is not willing or able to remedy the defects before buying the property.

Negotiating with the seller to have the defects remedied or for a price reduction can be daunting so having an experienced conveyancer such as AMC Lawyers handling your contract negotiations is highly recommended.

Final Word

Buying a home or property is very big step. Remember prior to signing a sales agreement contract to do your due diligence. Some areas such as the general condition of the property can be easily observed by a non-professional builder such as yourself. For more technical observations, a pre-purchase inspection undertaken by a professional is recommended to determine the physical soundness of the property. This can ultimately lead to big money savings for costly repairs on the property or a reduction in its initial purchase price.



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