Professional property inspections - should you have one before buying?

It is a question that we often hear from buyers who are considering the purchase of a property - should I have a professional property inspection conducted before buying? While I can’t speak for every real estate agent in the business, from my experience I can tell you that arming yourself with the knowledge from a property inspection usually puts you in a much better position. 

The purpose of a building inspection is to determine any issues that may exist in a property that you are looking to purchase.  This will allow you to make a judgment about the property based on all relevant information. 

You should ensure that the specialist you employ to conduct your property inspection is appropriately qualified and properly insured.  Inspectors are often professional builders, architects or surveyors. 

The inspector should examine all aspects of the building to which there is access.  This includes the building’s interior, exterior, roof, under the flooring and any other on-site structures, such as fencing, sheds, carports and driveways. 

Be aware that there are some aspects of a property that building inspections may not cover, for example the presence of pests and defects that arise in certain weather conditions, such as flooding.  It is often a good idea to clarify with the specialist exactly what will be covered before the inspection takes place. 

After the inspection you should receive a report, detailing the state of all elements examined.  Note that a building inspection does not usually include a quote for any remediation works – in most cases this will need to be obtained separately. 

The different methods of selling a property will affect when the property inspection should take place.  In the case of a property going to auction, you must have completed a property inspection prior to sale.   Once you have won the auction, you will have no recourse if faults in the property become evident.  

In some cases when a property does not go to auction, it may be possible to have an inspection conducted after an offer has been successfully accepted.  In this situation, your purchase could be contingent on a satisfactory inspection report.  Your real estate agent will be able to offer further advice and guidance in these cases. 

If an inspection finds a fault in the property, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t purchase it.  However you will now have the opportunity (time permitting) to obtain a quote for works to rectify the issue, which can sometimes be used to enhance your negotiating position.  Alternatively you may choose to abandon your purchase altogether if the price of extra works needed falls outside your budget.


Posted by Charles Tarbey on 19/08/2010 at 9:35 AM | Categories: Buying - First Home Buyers -


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