THE GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME
Step 9 – Conduct Building Inspection
Whilst the contracts are being prepared, you may want to have several property inspectors check the property you intend to buy to provide you with a detailed report of the property. Your solicitor or real estate agent will be able to refer you to professionals who can do these property inspections.
They will likely cost you from $200 to $600. Don’t skip the inspections because you’re worried about the cost. In the long run, the inspections may save you a lot of money. Ensure that the companies you choose are fully licensed and insured.
If you discover problems with the property (e.g. rising damp, white ants, sinking foundations) and you are still interested in buying the property you can ask for a reduced price, or ask that the problems be rectified. Alternatively, you may decide not to purchase the property because of the extra cost of fixing the problems.
A qualified building inspector will check the interior and exterior of the building, including the roof, sub-floor (if accessible), fences and garages. Some of the things he/she will be looking for are:
- Cracks in interior and exterior walls
- Structural defects
- Presence of asbestos
- Electrical or plumbing faults
- Ventilation, damp
- Drainage problems
- Conditions of windows, carpets, walls, fittings etc.
But remember that a building inspector, no matter how good they are, won’t find all the potential faults with a property – especially if they cannot access certain areas.
A pest inspector will check the property for signs of damage by borers and termites, and assess the extent of the damage. There may be evidence of live termites/borers or past damage. The inspector may be able to give you advice on how to get rid of the pests and the cost, as well as any other ongoing problems that it may present.
Strata title inspection (if buying a unit or townhouse)
A strata report will provide you with the following information:
- Whether or not the strata scheme is adequately insured
- What the regular or special levies are
- What renovations and maintenance has been done
- Whether or not there is any evidence of building or structural problems that may be expensive to fix
- Whether or not the strata scheme has an adequate reserve of funds
- Evidence of how well the owners work together to maintain the property
- What the strata regulations are regarding items such as renovation, refurbishment or pet ownership
The strata titles are either managed by a professional independent strata services organisation, or by someone who lives on site in one of the other units/townhouses. You can ask your solicitor or conveyancer to do the strata inspection, or you could do it yourself if you feel comfortable doing this.