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What is a building inspection?

Posted on 16 August 2016

A building inspection is an important part of buying your home. Having your property inspected by a professional can give you peace of mind that you are moving your family into a sturdy and safe home.

 



Do I need a building inspection when buying a house?


Generally a building inspection is not an obligation, but some banks may require a report before finalising finance. You can usually enter into a contract with your real estate agent that stipulates that the house must pass a building inspection if you are worried that the house will sell in the time that it takes for you to arrange for the report to be completed. If you are entering into this type of contract, ensure that you are able to cancel without penalty if you are not satisfied with the contents of your building report.

What will a pre-purchase building inspection tell me?


While you may have gone over the property that you are looking to buy with a fine tooth comb and think that everything is perfect, a building inspection will generally look at the things that you cannot see. A building inspector will look at things like mould or rising damp, cracks in the walls, movement of the house, the quality of the roof, safety hazards and in some cases may uncover damage from termites or other pest infestations, however a detailed pest inspection is separate to a building inspection.

Who does building inspections?


A building report is generally undertaken by a professional in the construction business. Ask your inspector what experience they have had in the industry before choosing the inspector that will compile your building report to ensure that you are comfortable with their knowledge of the industry. For example, a builder or an architect is a good choice; these professionals will be better able to see problems that may have been covered up by the current owners, or not repaired properly in the past.

How much will it cost?

Building inspection prices range between inspectors, but generally don’t run more than a few hundred dollars. Paying a building inspector before you purchase a property can save you thousands of dollars later by identifying a problem before you finalise your contracts.


You can also save money on a building inspection if a report has already been completed. Compare Inspections inspections offers reports on many properties in Australia at discounted prices. Just enter an address in the order tool and see if a report already exists. 

What will the building inspector look at?

A building inspector will look at all structural areas of the property. These include

- Interior and exterior of the building
- Roof interior and exterior
- Under the floor
- Garden sheds and garages
- Paths and driveways
- Water drainage
- Fencing

You should talk to your building inspector about what will be included in your report. Generally, inspectors are very flexible and are able to look into specific areas or concerns you may have. Check if your building inspector is going to look for termite damage also, as you may need to engage the services of a pest inspector as well. There are many things that a building inspector won’t check, such as plumbing and electrical wiring. If you are buying an older home, you may like to have further inspections undertaken by other professionals to ensure that your purchase is in good repair.

What if there are problems with the property I wish to buy?


If a building report has turned up problems with the property in question, it is a good idea for you to arrange another viewing to look at the issues armed with your new knowledge. For example, if your building report states that the roof is in disrepair and is leaking in one room of the house, you should go back and look at the leak, and look at the roof. Talk to local contractors to find out the costs involved in a full repair on the roof. At this point, you can choose to walk away from the sale, or renegotiate the price due to the money you will need to spend on the home after you purchase. In some cases, the current owner may choose to repair the problem for you before you move in.

 

 

By Darel McBride

 

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