Pre–purchase property inspection reports
Knowing as much as you can about the condition of the property before you buy will help you avoid problems and extra costs down the track. The best way of doing this is to get a pre–purchase property inspection report – commonly known as a building inspection. The following information explains what you need to know about building inspections.
What is a pre–purchase property inspection report?
It’s one of the different types of building inspection reports you can get done. As the name says, this building inspection report is the one you get before you buy a property. Sometimes referred to as a ‘standard property report’, a pre–purchase property inspection report is a written account of the condition of a property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof to name a few. It is usually carried out before you exchange sale contracts so you can identify any problems with the property which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair. Throughout this web page we will refer to the report as a ‘building inspection report’. Note: A building inspection report is different to a ‘pest inspection report’. While a building inspection report should identify any visual damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually won’t include the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests. It can be advisable to get a separate pest inspection report done before you buy a property.
Why do I need one?
There are three good reasons why you should get a building inspection report done before you buy a property:
- so you will know in advance what the problems are
- so you can use the information to try and negotiate a lower price for the property i.e. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems
- so you can get specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time. Of course, the building inspection report will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property.
Choosing the right person to inspect the property
You should always use a suitably qualified person, such as a licensed builder, a surveyor or an architect to provide a professional building inspection report of the property you are thinking of buying. These professionals will know what to look for, and will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye. A professional person will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1). Make sure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity. The format and amount of detail in the report will depend on the type of property, its size and age, its condition and the reporting process used by the consultant or organisation preparing the report. These factors will also influence the cost of the report. Some building inspection reports will adopt a standard format or use a comprehensive checklist while others will be individually tailored for each property. Photographs may or may not be included. The important thing is that the report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1). A building inspection report should include enough information for you to be aware of the property’s condition and identify any significant problems
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