Why a Building and Pest Inspection is Essential Before You Buy

With the market so hot right now, it’s tempting to skip a building inspection in your race to win the home of your dreams. But don’t do it!

It shouldn’t even be tempting. A golden rule of buying property is, eliminate emotion!

There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with a property, but you need a more hard-headed approach when it comes to judging the quality of the property.

There’s no point in loving the swimming pool and its cabana if the foundations are rotting and they’ll cost you tens of thousands of dollars to remediate. And if you don’t order an inspection by a qualified building professional, you will only find out when it’s too late.

As an experienced local real estate agent, I can list two dozen reasons why you should never skip that critical step of seeking a report on the state of the building you’re about to purchase.

An inspection will focus on the integrity of the structure. So, it’s never a bad idea to seek an assessment of the electrical wiring, roofing and whether there are any pest infestations, such as termites, that would cause you financial heartache down the track.

Further, you should make clear in your Contract of Sale that any transaction is contingent on a satisfactory building report. If your inspector comes back with a list of significant issues, you want to be within your rights to pull out and have your earnest money – the deposit – returned no questions asked. Or to be able to negotiate a deal.

Another very important reason for ordering an inspection is that both lenders and insurers may refuse services to you without an assessment. But don’t bother checking if that’s true of your providers – just get one done and enjoy the peace of mind it provides!

Here’s are six more reasons why you must get the inspections done.

  1. I’m out of here – An inspection will allow you to back out of a sale if it finds significant problems with the building. Make sure your Contract of Sale is drafted to include this contingency. Your agent and lawyer should be all over this.
  2. Safety first – I’m not referring to financial security. A property in poor repair can be a health risk. Mold on walls from rising damp is detrimental to air quality – and lungs! Buildings also emit fumes, such as carbon monoxide and radon. Interestingly, radon is a radioactive gas that forms when metals break down in soil, rock and groundwater.
  3. Illegal extensions – It’s not unknown for an owner to improve their home without seeking permits. This is most commonly found with extensions to garages and basement conversions. Don’t pay for anything that shouldn’t exist, or you’ll inherit the problem and subsequent loss in value.
  4. Re-negotiate option – If the inspection discovers issues, you don’t have to walk away. You can go back to the negotiation table and talk to the seller about either rectifying any problem or discounting the price sufficiently to cover remediation costs.
  5. Crystal ball – An inspection might not be so damning that it puts you off a purchase. However, the inspector can forecast some of the problems you might face in the coming years. These might include the longevity of the heating and cooling systems, integrity of wet areas in bathrooms, the state of the wiring and future upgrades to plumbing and this can help you to understand what you’ll need to budget for.
  6. Take it or leave it – An inspection is essential if you’re buying a deceased estate or foreclosure where the purchaser must buy on the condition of WYSIWYG – “what you see is what you get”. Also, be careful if you’re considering a home that’s been boarded up. This is where hazardous mold often lives.
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