An expert from the Association of Business Consultants shares his top tips for obtaining a professional pre-purchase inspection.
Having a pre-purchase inspection done by an experienced building consultant – even on a new-build home – assists in making an informed decision about the purchase. To the untrained eye, a home might appear to be in good condition but an experienced and reputable building consultant can look for problems lurking below the surface and ‘see through’ coats of paint.
Don’t stress over the findings
A report that shows an issue doesn’t have to signal the end of a sale. What it does is identify what needs urgent attention and what longer term maintenance should be considered. Not only can that help in negotiations, it also provides the opportunity for estimates on repair costs before the cooling-off period expires or a contract is signed. Problem purchasers make their offer subject to obtaining a report from an experienced building inspector.
New homes aren’t fault-free
A home under construction should still have an independent review of work being done, to identify any major faults now rather than well down the track or when it comes to sale time. Don’t assume a builder or contractor is doing everything to the highest standard – and remember that an inspection might be the last line of defense against major defects.
Go to the inspection
More buyers are now going to pre-purchase inspections with their building consultant so they can discuss any concerns and get greater context of any issues found. This avoids a novice buyer placing an over-emphasis on a minor problem or, even worse, not realising the seriousness of a defect. An average inspection takes about two hours to check the roof cavity, salt damp, moisture levels, paving, electrical and plumbing work as part of a comprehensive checklist.
Listen to advice
There may be times when a pre-purchase inspection identifies something that needs greater examination. Your building consultant may recommend a specialist expert be engaged before the sale concludes. Ignoring that advice runs the risk of an issue turning out to be far more expensive to rectify or a much bigger deal than originally anticipated.
Know your rights
A pre-purchase inspection can be done at any stage during the sales process and does not have to wait until a contract has been signed or a cooling off period has started. Don’t forget that an offer on a property can, and should, be made subject to the outcome of a building inspection report.
More advice and information about the Association of Building Consultants at www.buildinginspectors.org.au