Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. But before you make an offer, it’s time to get a home inspection to make sure you’re buying what you expect. Pre purchase building inspections are a chance to look around and ask questions about the house, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to ask.
What is a pre-purchase building inspection?
A pre purchase building inspection is a service where an independent building and pest inspector checks out a property before you make an offer. We say independent inspectors because they are a third party who will offer you an unbiased inspection, unlike an inspector who may work for the seller’s agent.
The independent building inspector will walk through the house and provide a report outlining any problems that require attention. This report includes any issues that could affect your decision to buy the home or affect the price you offer.
General areas covered during the building and pest inspection include:
- Interior ane exterior
- Roof space
- Under the floor
- Roof exterior (where safe to do so)
- Structural checks
- Electrical wiring (note: only licensed electricians can carry out electrical work)
Why attending the building inspection is a good idea?
One of your first questions should be whether the building inspector will allow you to attend the building inspection. Alarm bells should ring if they don’t. Transparency is crucial when looking for a quality building and pest inspector. They should have nothing to hide and everything to give in terms of providing you with a thorough explanation of the things they’ve discovered. Attending the inspection means you can arm yourself with all of the information possible to make your decision on the property. If the inspector uses terminology you’re not familiar with, ask them to explain. It also means that you can relate better to what you’ve physically seen rather than just reading an inspection report.
What to ask the inspector?
Don’t hold back on the questions when you meet with your inspector, even if you feel like you’re asking too much or asking silly questions. Some question suggestions include:
- Are there any immediate maintenance issues?
- Is there structural damage that makes it difficult to live in the home, or could it lead to future problems?
- Are there any signs of pests such as mice, rats, termites, ants, or spiders?
- Is there evidence of mould in any area of the property?
Once you receive your report back from the inspector, take time to go through it and ask your building inspector any further questions needed. It’s important to know what needs to be fixed before committing to a purchase.
Things that might come up
One of the most important things to remember when making the most of a building and pest inspection is to have an open mind and prepare for issues. Issues are good! Think of it this way. Wouldn’t you prefer the inspector to identify defects rather than not? It means you can make a decision, and it means hidden defects aren’t going to pop up after you’ve signed the contract.
Be prepared for roof leaks and structural problems, doors that don’t close and sinking stumps. Be ready for things like bathrooms with missing waterproofing and rising damp issues. Particularly with older homes, be prepared that an electrician may need to rewire the house to get the property up to code. These are examples of what could appear, and wouldn’t you be glad to know about them? That’s why it’s crucial to have a reputable building inspector highly regarded for their thorough inspections.
How to find a reputable pre purchase building inspector?
Finding the right inspector is where it ultimately starts to get the most from a pre-purchase building inspection. There are several ways you can go about this, including asking friends and family for recommendations or searching the internet for reviews.
Use this checklist as a starting point for selecting an inspector:
- Is the inspector’s website professional?
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many years of experience?
- Do they provide references?
- What type of warranty do they offer on their work?
- Are they licensed? Ask to view it.
- Are they adequately insured? Ask to view it.
- Are they a member of the Master Builder’s Association?
When investigating building inspector licenses, it’s important to note that not all jurisdictions have the same requirements. We recommend you explore the correct requirements for your locale. For purposes of this article, the Queensland building and commercial oversees building inspectors in the state of Queensland to ensure their work is carried out to regulation and standards, specifically AS 4349.1. Pre purchase inspections shouldn’t be scary; it’s your time to put your opportunist hat on and get the best deal on a property (or save yourself from making a bad one). Don’t feel silly about asking questions or asking the wrong ones. Never apologise for going all-in on your investment. A good pre purchase building inspector will appreciate your interest and enthusiasm. When you get the most out of a pre purchase inspection, you get much more than information, and you get peace of mind, confidence and a brighter looking future.