Just like almost everything in life, we do something for the first time. Once we’ve done it for the first time, we learn from it and get better at it. The thing is though, when it comes to buying a house, you need to get it right the first time otherwise, it could cost you, a lot. This is where it’s a good idea to heed the advice of professionals, do your research and be prepared before making one of the most significant purchases of your life.
What building inspectors want you to know
As a first home buyer, it’s understandable that you may have a limited understanding of exactly what happens when it comes to a building and pest inspection so here are six things building inspectors want you to know.
1. Magic equipment doesn’t exist
There is no such thing as x-ray equipment that can look through walls or furniture. Legally, building inspectors are unable to move furniture or conduct invasive inspections that will damage property. So how do inspectors know if problems are lurking behind the walls? Well, an experienced and qualified building inspector would have seen thousands of different properties, so we know a problem when we see it. We also have specialised equipment that helps us gather extra information (minus the x-ray goggles).
Just because there are obstacles that inhibit a proper inspection, doesn’t mean you don’t have a leg to stand on as a buyer. You have some things you can do in this situation. This may be:
- Back out of the sale
- Ask for a re-inspection at the seller’s expense if there are some significant obstructions. Please note, the seller is not obliged to say yes.
- Ask for advice from the building inspector, and they may be able to offer some suggestions and ideas on potential issues.
- Request a longer settlement date or a price reduction. Speak to your solicitor first though.
3. Roof risks
Building inspectors do not always venture onto the roof. If your roof is higher than 3.6 meters, there can often be a chance the building inspector will not check it due to the height risk involved. Building inspectors should carry out a risk assessment before getting onto a roof. Safety and weather conditions are always assessed before working at heights.
4. You will find problems
You’ll be hard pressed to find a property that does not have a problem. Even if a property is new, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need an inspection. Most of the time they are just cosmetic issues or minor repairs but having these on a report may help you with negotiating the sale.
5. You need to be quick
The building inspection report may be done, you’ve read through it and have an idea of the defects that need repairing, but don’t sit on it. A building inspection report is a precious negotiating tool and will help you get the right price for the property given the new findings. Make a list of all the defects, do a bit of research to find out the potential repair cost and submit a new offer based on what it will cost to make the repairs. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll save.
6. There’s no crystal ball
Unfortunately, building inspectors do not have a mystical crystal ball and can’t predict how long the roof has left in it or if the stumps will last another ten years. All we can do is give a very rough estimate based on our experience and other properties we have seen.
7. Don’t be nervous
Waiting for the outcome of a building and pest inspection can sometimes feel like waiting for a doctor’s report but, it shouldn’t be that way. Look at a building and pest inspection as buying peace of mind knowing what defects there are and deciding what to do about it. It’s certainly a lot better than skipping a pre-purchase inspection all together and then being faced with a costly and not so pleasant surprise or two.
As a first home buyer, approach the entire purchase process with an open mind and expect defects. It may turn out that your dream house isn’t ‘the one’ but it will certainly mean you won’t be out of pocket and living a defect nightmare!