Is a building and pest inspection important when purchasing a property?

Purchasing a property can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.  If the property you are looking at is to be your ‘forever home’, it is even more important to carry out proper due diligence before you jump in with both feet.

Such due diligence should include obtaining a building and pest inspection from qualified building and pest inspectors.  These types of reports help safeguard you against investing in fault-ridden properties. The reports will reveal any hidden problems and can give you peace of mind that what you are buying isn’t going to collapse around you.

Inspections will cost you around $350 to $500 for a single inspection or, if you employ a company who conducts both types of inspections, you could expect to pay between $500 to $700. Take it from us, the inspections are well worth your time and money.

In choosing the right inspector, consider the age and location of the property. In particular, find out whether the property is in one of Victoria’s declared termite areas by checking with your local council.

The sorts of things that building and pest inspections identify include:

  • water leaks
  • outdated wiring
  • existence of an operable electrical safety switch
  • movement in walls as well as interior and exterior cracking
  • pest infestation
  • evidence of termite damage
  • risk of termite infestation
  • rising damp
  • presence of asbestos
  • operable smoke alarms
  • availability or sufficiency of stormwater run-off, and
  • availability or sufficiency of surface water drainage.

The inspections will also provide you with:

  • a summary of the property condition
  • the age of the building
  • a list of the areas inspected and areas not inspected and why
  • list of problems identified
  • any further inspection recommendations to be completed by a specialist
  • repair recommendations, and
  • any relevant photographs.

The areas that will be likely be inspected (subject to access) are the interior and exterior of the building, roof space, under floor space, roof exterior and the site.

You can expect an inspection to be conducted relatively quickly once booked (subject to the availability of the inspector) and your report would normally be received within 2-4 working days.

Special conditions properly included in a Contract of Sale will allow you to obtain a building and pest inspection before the contract becomes unconditional.  But these terms need to be included in the contract before you sign it. A conveyancer can assist you with that.

If the contract properly contains building and pest conditions and one or both of the inspections uncover major defects, then you will have the option to terminate the contract and obtain a full refund of all deposit monies paid by you up until that point.

Alternatively, if you have received inspection reports identifying major defects, you may be able to use this as bargaining power to obtain a reduced price for the property.

If you are currently looking at buying your forever home or even a property as an investment and would like assistance in appointing a building or pest inspector, we are able to recommend a qualified professional to assist you.