Australian Property & Building Inspections continue to provide contactless inspection services during COVID-19 Restrictions. Read More

Australian Property & Building Inspections continue to provide contactless inspection services during COVID-19 Restrictions. Read More

What Inspections Should You Conduct Before Buying A Property

10 May 2018 | Simon Phillips

While a personal inspection can tell you a whole lot about a property, if you're interested in a property and are considering buying it, it's essential that you get an expert to assess the property. This is known as a building inspection report or a standard property report.

A professional building inspection report can be completed by a licensed builder, a surveyor or an architect. The expert you hire to complete the report will inspect the property for any structural defects or other issues, for example rising damp, that may be missed by the untrained eye. The inspector will ensure that the building conforms to Australian building code.

Qualified inspectors can look beyond cosmetic repairs or improvements, and identify unsafe renovations and repairs, thus minimising the issues of "unforeseen damages" down the road. Knowing the "cons" of a property can also help you negotiate for a lower price.

Building inspections are usually carried out before the exchange of contracts, allowing you to identify problems that could be expensive to repair in the future. If the building inspection report reveals significant issues with the property, you can withdraw your offer.

It's recommended that you use a third-party professional, rather than one suggested or provided by the seller.

What does a building inspection involve?

A professional building inspector will visually inspect all areas of the property for signs of structural defects or expensive problems. The inspector will cast their eye over every part of the property they can access, including:

  • Building interior. From cracks in the walls to problems with electrical wiring, doors that won't shut and broken windows, the inspector will look at every aspect of the property's interior.
  • Building exterior. The inspector will examine the construction of the property for any defects.
  • Building roof. Loose or damaged tiles or roofing, damaged gutters and downpipes will be included in the report.
  • Roof and under-floor spaces. If these areas can be accessed, the inspector will check them for any structural damage.
  • The property site. The building inspection report will also include details of the condition of garages, carports, garden sheds, retaining walls, separate toilets or laundries, fencing, surface water drainage, driveways and paths.

If there are any particular items or areas on the site you'd like checked out, make sure to mention these before the inspection begins.

Pest inspections

Just like a building inspection, a pest inspection can save you thousands of dollars when it comes to potential future repairs. If you live in an area prone to termites or other pests, this type of inspection is essential for your peace of mind before you buy a property.

A pest inspection should be carried out before you exchange contracts, and sometimes it's possible to get a combined building and pest inspection.

What does a pest inspection involve?

A pest inspector will thoroughly investigate the property to check for the presence of any wood-destroying insects, such as termites or borers. The inspector will also look for any existing damage caused by those pests already, plus any potential damage they could cause in the future. The interior and exterior of the home will be inspected, including any accessible under-floor or roof cavity areas.

If pests are present and active, inspection reports help determine what treatment should be taken.

Termite inspection is mostly a visual process and is done by a qualified professional. Aside from the building interior and exteriors, areas such as roof and crawl spaces, trees and fences are also inspected. Ideally, this is all done before the property is purchased with a recommended repeat every four to six months.

Experts advise that pest inspections be done simultaneously with building inspections. Any damage detected from the former can be assessed by the latter and immediately determine the extent of repairs to be done. Pest inspection can range from $200 for a simple report, to up to $500 to include infrared thermal images.

Repairing termite damage to a house can cost you several thousands of dollars, so a pest inspection can be the difference between buying your dream home and buying a property that turns out to be a nightmare.

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