It pays to get a building report and pest inspection

There are times when it pays to bring in the professionals, particularly when you’re thinking about buying residential property. That is to say, unless you’re an expert there may be serious problems or defects that may go unnoticed if you do a property inspection yourself. It’s a bit like buying a car. It might look shiny and sleek on the outside but on closer inspection by a mechanic or panel beater you may discover the engine needs a complete overhaul, the brakes are shot or there’s been some major body work done to hide the effects of a previous collision.

There are two main types of property inspection – a pre-purchase building report and a pest inspection.

As the name suggests a pre-purchase building report occurs before you buy a property. It’s aim is to let you know whether there are any significant building defects or problems and normally includes a cost estimate for repairing the defects found. Examples of some of the problems that could be identified include rising damp, shower leaks, timber decay or pest damage, cracks in brick-works and walls, problems with the roof and sub floor ventilation and drainage issues. These can be expensive to repair so it’s great to find out about these before you buy.

A pest inspection looks for the presence of wood destroying insects like termites. The inspector looks for past and present damage and provides information on the consequences of any infestation and the type and cost of the recommended treatment.

The cost of these inspections vary but could range between $500 and $1000 each. And I can tell you from personal experience they can be worth it. While living overseas my wife and I bought a unit in outer Melbourne. The unit was inspected by a member of the family. We subsequently discovered the roof needed significant maintenance work and the unit (and surrounding area) was infested with termites. The outcome – the unit is still standing but it cost us thousands of dollars to fix the roof and get rid of the termites.

We will definitely get a building report and pest inspection done before we buy our next residential property.

My tip

If you get a building or pest inspection done and discover problems, don’t be afraid to negotiate down the asking price to take into account the cost of fixing the defects, or walking away from the property altogether.

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