Choosing the right person to inspect the property
East Coast Building Inspections pair an experienced Licenced Building Inspector & Pest Inspector to develop a comprehensive property & pest inspection, both inspectors have been in their fields for over 20 years, so you are getting two experienced inspectors on site together that gives you peace of mind. We strongly recommend that buyers carry out a combined Building and Pest Inspection to provide you with full insight into a property.
Always use a suitably qualified person (such as a licensed builder, carpenter a surveyor or an architect) to provide a professional building inspection report of the property you are thinking of buying. These professions should see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.
A professional person will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1). Ensure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity.
Be wary of any Building & Pest inspection report offered by the agent or the seller
Real estate agents will recommend a particular building & pest inspector to a prospective buyer sometimes a list of three is given out. How did these building inspectors “qualify” to get on the “approved” list? Are the agents recommending a thorough non-bias inspector or are the agents recommending someone who will help protect their potential commission?
If a real estate agent tells you that you cannot use an inspector of your choosing, or insists that you use one of their “recommended” or “approved” inspectors, you should seek Department Of Fair Trading.
As prospective home buyers you must keep in mind that real estate agents who receive a commission from the property seller, are working in the best interest of their client, (the seller). A real estate agent who tries to get you to use a building or pest inspector of the agent’s choice is trying to control the building inspector selection process.
Our advice is for potential purchasers to do their own due diligence and to get their own property inspection report. The independence of a report is only guaranteed if it is obtained specifically by and for the buyer.
Property inspections and reports
Knowing as much as you can about the condition of a property before you buy will help you avoid problems and extra costs down the track. Besides inspecting the property, yourself, you can also arrange a property inspection report – commonly known as a building inspection. This information explains what you need to know about property inspections.
You should personally inspect a property that you are interested in buying. You may wish to take someone with you to gain another perspective.
Property viewings usually last half an hour to an hour, so use the time wisely. On top of getting a general feel for the property, do the following checks:
What is a pre-purchase property inspection report?
A building inspection is just one check you can get done before buying a property.
Sometimes referred to as a ‘standard property report’, a pre–purchase property inspection report (subsequently referred to as a ‘building inspection report’) is a written account of the property’s condition.
It will include any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof. It is usually carried out before you exchange sale contracts so you can identify problems which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair.
Note: A building inspection report is different to a ‘pest inspection report’. While a building inspection report should identify any visual damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually won’t include termites or other timber destroying pests. You may choose to get a separate pest inspection report done before you buy a property.
Why do I need a building inspection report?
Benefits of getting a building inspection report done before buying a property are:
- knowing in advance what the problems are
- using the information to negotiate a lower price for the property ie. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems
- gaining specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time.
Contents of the report
The report’s format, detail and cost will depend on the type of property (including its size, age and condition) and the process used by the consultant or organization to prepare it.
A building inspection report must comply with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1) but otherwise may vary. Some use a comprehensive checklist, include photographs, adopt a standard format or are individually tailored to the property. The report should make you aware of the property’s condition and any major problems.
A standard building inspection report is generally a visual inspection only. It may not identify major structural defects or other hidden problems. You may choose to gain an additional assessment of the property from a suitably accredited specialist (eg. pest inspector, structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor, electricity supply authority or water supply authority).
The inspector should check all accessible parts of the property. These include:
- interior of the building
- exterior of the building
- roof space
- under-floor space
- roof exterior
You may also ask for a particular item or part of the property to be inspected, such as:
- visible signs of asbestos
- existence of an operable electrical safety switch
- operable smoke alarms
The following would normally be included in a building inspection report:
- garage, carport and garden shed
- separate laundry or toilet
- small retaining walls (ie. non–structural)
- surface water drainage
- storm water run-off
- paths and driveways.
Make sure you specify any particular items or areas on the site that you would like to be inspected.
The inspection report should also include the following information:
- your name
- the address of the property to be inspected
- reason for the inspection
- the date of inspection
- the scope of the inspection
- a list of any area or item that wasn’t inspected, the reasons why it wasn’t inspected and if necessary, a recommendation for further investigation
- a summary of the overall condition of the property (considering its age and type) and any major faults founds in the property
- a list of any significant problems that need fixing
- if necessary, a recommendation that a further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably accredited specialist (eg. pest inspector, electricity supply authority, water supply authority, structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor or solicitor).