Pest and Building Inspections

Most people who have ever purchased a property will be familiar with the term “Caveat Emptor”, which basically means “let the buyer beware. The literal definition means that vendors and agents selling a property are under no legal obligation to disclose anything that is wrong with the property or the property’s history, providing everything is legal and above board.

One of the worst surprises you Can have upon taking possession of a property is to find out that it is structurally either an active or previous pest or vermin infestation. Both conditions can cost thousands of dollars to repair and will detract from your excitement and enjoyment of having purchased a new property.

When you become serious about making an offer on a property, it’s a good idea to have a pest and building inspection conducted before purchasing it. The older the building/property is, the more important inspections become. That being said, even relatively new properties can have problems. Commissioning a building report on a new property increases your chance of uncovering any minor defects or damage.

If you don’t get the chance to have any inspections done before you make an offer, you make be able to make your contract of sale conditional on receiving satisfactory pest and building and your solicitor or conveyancer will be able to assist you with making this request.

Before you exchange contracts on a property, you need to satisfy yourself that the condition of that property is adequate, or at the very least, you know what is wrong with the property. If you have already exchanged contracts, but something is found that you feel detrimentally influence your decision to continue with the purchase, you may have grounds to cancel the contract and should immediately contact your solicitor or conveyancer for their advice.

When a building inspection is being conducted, the obvious things being looked for are the structural soundness of the building, repair jobs that may indicate previous damage, or anything that may not be visible on the surface and may require work.

A building inspection should take between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the size of the property and you should be provided with a written report detailing any faults. Ideally the report should also state information on how faults can be fixed and at what cost.

Pest inspections should take an additional 30 to 45 minutes to complete and should be conducted only by people appropriately qualified. While most pest reports will be heavily laden with disclaimers, you should check with the company conducting your inspections that they are covered before you order the inspections.

Most pest and building inspections cost between $350 and $500 depending on the quality of the inspection and the size of the property. If you do find something wrong with the property, don’t automatically disqualify yourself from buying it. If you really like it, get a quote for repairs and then use the faults revealed in the reports as a bargaining tool to negotiate a better price.