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  • Do you need a building inspection before you buy?

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    Do you need a building inspection?Before committing to buying a property, consider including a building inspection as part of your contract for the purchase so you can avoid any nasty surprises once you've moved in.

    A good building inspection will provide you with information that could ultimately influence your decision to purchase the property.

    It will assess things like whether the house is structurally sound and whether you can expect major expenditures in the future.

    When should a building inspection be carried out?

    Ideally, a building inspection would be completed before you make an offer to purchase. However, this process isn't always practical as it can cause delays.

    More commonly, a buyer will include a building inspection as a condition to an offer to purchase a property. This condition should be carefully written in order to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.

    A pre-purchase building inspection condition should state:

    • who pays for the report (usually the buyer);
    • the required completion date;
    • any criteria, such as an assessment of any structural defects;
    • actions necessary if the inspection finds that the dwelling does not conform to the declared standards required by the buyer.

    In the event of a negative report, the pre-purchase inspection condition should offer the seller the option of fixing the problems within a set time frame. If the seller refuses to comply, the buyer should have the option of terminating the contract.

    Building inspections should be personalised

    Your building inspection report should also be tailored to suit the age of the property. When buying a recently built home for example, it makes sense to have a thorough inspection of the property’s fixtures and fittings (including the quality of the cabinet making and tiling) in addition to the structural report itself.

    Naturally, with an older home you would expect a reasonable amount of wear and tear so your primary concern should be with any structural faults that could lead to expensive repairs, like damage to the foundations and not with minor matters like rusty gutters.

    A reputable building inspector, ideally a registered builder or architect, will discuss all these issues with you and more to create an inspection that suits your requirements and provides you with peace of mind about your greatest asset.

    View more information for buyers.