For most homebuyers, this event only happens a few times in a lifetime – maybe even only once. The whole process of purchasing a property can be quite daunting even if you’ve bought before. It’s particularly stressful as a first home buyer when there’s no previous experience to relate to.
One of the most confusing elements of the home-buying process is the pre-purchase building & pest inspection.
So let’s try to demystify the building and pest inspection process and explain: What exactly is a building and pest inspection?
WHY Get a Building and Pest Inspection?
The building and pest inspection is undertaken before you buy a property, so it’s sometimes referred to as a pre-purchase inspection. It’s an important step in the due diligence process and can give you the heads up about any significant issues the property has, such as water leaks, wall cracks, stumps deteriorating, roof issues, and termite activity just to name a few. (For a more complete list, go here.)
The report will also note minor defects that are not considered to be safety issues such as wear and tear.
You can then use the information to negotiate a lower price for the property if there are repairs that need to be done, or, if the report indicates major defects that you are not prepared to deal with, you can legally withdraw from the contract (should the seller request a copy of the Building and Pest Report, it must be provided to them in a timely manner.)
It’s important to note that a pre-purchase building and pest inspection is a broad observation of the general condition of a property. It doesn’t encompass every single aspect and is designed to give you a good overview of the home so you can factor any issues into your purchase plan.
WHEN Should You Arrange the Inspection?
In a standard REIQ contract, Clause 4.1 offers the option to specify a date whereby the building and pest becomes due. This date can be anywhere from 3 days to 21 days after the date the contract was signed and executed by both parties. (It’s usually 14 days.)
It’s important to book your inspection as soon as possible in this window of time, otherwise the opportunity to take action could be lost and you may end up buying a home with unforeseen major issues that could be very costly to repair down the track.
WHAT Does it Cover?
A pre-purchase inspection is a visual inspection only, and there are specific items and areas that are covered, including:
- Exterior roof condition
- Roof void and insulation
- Interior walls and floors
- Under-floor space
- Fences and retaining walls
- 30m of grounds surrounding the main building
- Wet areas
- Doors and windows (but not every opening window)
- Drainage and paths/driveways
- Sheds and garages
- Hot water system
More importantly, there are things that are NOT covered in a standard building and pest inspection, including:
- Any electrical wiring, air conditioning units or appliances (a qualified electrician can be arranged to inspect these elements).
- Plumbing, water pipes, gasfitting (again, we can arrange a qualified tradesman to inspect and provide a report if you require.)
- Smoke alarm condition and testing
- Garden watering systems
- TV aerials
- Home alarms or intercoms
- Swimming pool condition, water or equipment
- Anything that cannot be inspected due to safety concerns, eg. If the manhole is not structurally supported, the inspector will not enter the roof void.
- Anything that is concealed and cannot be visually accessed, eg. Timber framing behind walls.
- Property boundary checks or council plans. A registered surveyor would be required to check these items.
- Household pests such as cockroaches or ants are not part of a standard building or timber pest (termite) inspection.
- Quotes for repairs or rectifications.
If you have any specific concerns regarding anything that’s not normally included in a pre-purchase report, you may need to request a “Condition Report”. This type of inspection can include aspects such as an asbestos survey for example, or recommendations and quotes for repairs. A licensed plumber or electrician can also be arranged as part of a more comprehensive building report.
HOW to Book?
The process of getting a building and pest inspection is very simple and easy. Just follow these steps:
- As early in the buying process as possible, do some research on local building inspectors. Often your real estate agent or mortgage broker can recommend someone they’ve worked with before. It’s important to get a dependable company who is local and established, and who has a good reputation. Check online reviews and Facebook pages.
- Call and ask questions – are they fully licensed and insured? How much experience does the inspector have? Do they take photos? Are they flexible? You may be able to make a tentative booking before the contract is executed and confirm it later.
- Book it! If you would like to be present at the inspection, most inspectors are happy to answer any questions from you as they go around the property. Just let them know you’ll be there.
- You should receive your report within 24 hours of the inspection.
WHO Should You Call?
Contact All Building Inspections today for free, friendly advice on what exactly is a building and pest, and a no-obligation quote.