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What you need to know about property inspections

Imagine finding your dream home only to discover there’s some serious issues with the property. It might be problems with the roof, water-proofing concerns in the bathroom or some dodgy paving that could prove a serious hazard. This is why building and pest inspections are so important to do before you purchase a house.

A qualified inspector will be able to highlight any minor and major defects – the sorts of things you probably won’t pick up yourself at an open inspection. You’ll then be able to determine whether you’re prepared to fork out the money required to fix these problems, if you can negotiate a lower price or if you should walk away altogether.

Our Finance & Loan Consultant, Ann-Marie Bosco, was pleased to recently meet Noel Flounders, from Adelaide Property Inspections, who had answered some of the most commonly asked questions on this topic.

What is a building inspection? A building inspection will provide you with an idea of the repairs, maintenance, or other problems a house might have. You’ll likely have an emotional investment in the property – but the building inspector won’t. They’ll take an unbiased approach and are independent from the individual buying/building process. They’ll tell it like it is.

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What should I do before I get a building and pest inspection?​

Before you put in an offer, ask your real estate agent some important questions.

  • Has the property had any pest control treatments?

  • Have any major repairs been carried out? (ie; underpinning, roof repairs or termite repairs)?

  • Have these renovations/modifications been approved by the council?

  • Has the house been used in drug manufacturing?

If you’re planning to bid at auction, ask these questions well ahead of auction day.

Ensure the Real Estate Agent corresponds to you via email.​

When should a building and pest inspection take place? Once the real estate agent has answered the above questions above and your offer has been accepted, it’s time to get a qualified building inspector involved. Make sure you get this done within your cooling off period. You could also ask the real estate agent to make the contract subject to you obtaining and being satisfied with a building inspection. If you’re buying at auction, make sure you have the inspection done ahead of auction day because once the gavel has gone down, the property is legally yours. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]

What qualifications should a building and pest inspector have? Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important you get the right building inspector to examine your potential purchase. In South Australia, inspectors don’t need a licence or insurance – so it’s vital you do your own research.

You’ll need to check if inspectors:

  • Have professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance

  • Are licenced, and

  • Are members of any professional associations. This includes the Masters Builders Association and the Association of Building Consultants.

Tip: Never assume that a building inspector will do a pest inspection.

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What else do I need to know about the inspection process? A quick turnaround is crucial. But, in saying that, the building inspector needs to spend a decent chunk of time at the property.

  • Ask how long the inspection itself will take – any response of less than a few hours should ring alarm bells.

  • Ask what will the inspector be checking for?

  • Most inspectors should also allow you to attend the last thirty minutes of the inspection and walk you through what they’ve found. This can also help make sure you don’t misinterpret what’s in the written report.

  • Ask when will you receive the report? This should be within the cooling off period.

  • You should also make sure you’re emailed the final report so you have a record and can plan for any repairs post-sale. Never accept a verbal report.

How much does a building & pest inspection cost?

Costs vary depending on the inspector and the size of the house. For a standard, three bedroom house in metropolitan Adelaide, for example, you’re probably looking at around $575. The inspections can be performed early or late in day and also on weekends; however weekends do incur an extra fee.

If I’m looking at a newly built property, I don’t need a building inspection. Right? Wrong. This is a common misconception. Time constraints can put builders and contractors under the pump – and sometimes they’ll rush or miss important details. We’ve previously found paint defects, drainage problems and guttering shortfalls in homes that are almost brand new. No matter how new the house is it always pays to get a building inspection.

It’s also important you ask the real estate agent if the structural warranty transfers over to you. Some companies will only allow the warranty to be held by the original owner.

Tip: Beware if stormwater etc has not been installed by the builder/qualified tradesperson or in accordance to the Australian Standards; this could void any termite or structural warranties.

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Is it only buyers who are requesting inspections or are sellers also requesting them prior to putting their homes on the market?

We have also done inspections for people selling their homes as they want to get the best price and don’t want hidden surprises or negotiations when they sell. [endif]

Takeaway message Don’t buy a house without getting a building and pest inspection first. Research the inspector to make sure they are qualified and thorough. If you were buying a car, you wouldn’t leave the showroom in it if it had even a few dings. Take this same approach to your potential new home and you’ll be on the road to success.

Want to know more?

We'd like to thank Noel for providing us with such useful and important information.

If you'd like to learn more about the property inspection process, please get in touch with Noel, details below:

Noel Flounders

Adelaide Property Inspections

Mob: 0423 618 553

ABN: 191 62788332

This information in tnis article has been provided by Nick Founders from Adelaide Property Inspections and is intended as a resource for general information. Please read our disclaimer and terms of use for this website and all our associated media as well as information regarding to links to 3rd Party / External websites that are not related to APLS Finance Solutions.

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