I would never recommend that you buy a house without getting a building and pest inspection by a licensed inspector. Now, having your builder mate stick his head under the floor and in the roof space is not sufficient, the house needs the once over by somebody who does this job all the time and can properly advise you on its condition.
And I am not a fan of those pre-prepared reports from companies that give you a partial refund if you don’t end up buying the property. All you get is a report that is full of disclaimers and standard text with very little that directly relates to the house in question. I am surprised that anybody buys a house after reading one of these reports – they are so negative!
The simple fact is that no house has a clean bill of health. They all have issues and the point of the building & pest inspection is to get a gauge on the severity of any problems. Then you can decide whether the house is for you or not. Houses need ongoing maintenance and the report can give you a checklist of the things to tackle should you go ahead and buy it.
What you want from a building & pest inspection is an understanding of whether this house is better than/on par/worse than other similar properties in the area. For example, if you are buying a Victorian terrace, it is going to have faults. It will probably have some damp and mostly likely have had termites chomping away at it at some point in its history.
The important thing to understand is whether there is anything structural to be concerned about, whether past damage has been rectified, how well it has been maintained over time and what the likely cost of repairs will be. We always use an inspector who is prepared to meet us at the property and run through the important issues with us – or who, at the very least, will speak with us on the phone. We want to know how this house stacks up against its neighbours and whether there are any deal breakers.
If you are left to simply read the report without it being put into context, you could easily be scared off the property. In fact I have met people who, after being scared off a number of properties by the building reports, ended up getting fed up and buying a house without even getting an inspection done!
Top 5 questions to ask before you exchange contracts:
1. How does this property compare with others of a similar style and age?
2. What are the most important issues that need to be addressed straight after I buy this property?
3. Can you please advise me on the likely costs of tackling each issue?
4. Do you foresee any ongoing maintenance problems?
5. Would you let your daughter buy this house?
Veronica Morgan is the co-host of Location Location Location Australia and principal of Sydney based Good Deeds Property Buyers.
The information in this article has been provided by a third party. Aussie makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the article. The article does not constitute financial, tax or legal advice. Any suggestions or recommendations made in the article should not be relied upon as such. If you need advice, you should seek advice from your own professional advisors.