| Building & Pest

Pre Purchase Building Inspections: What You Need To Know

What is a pre purchase building inspection?

An independent inspection/ reporting of a building (such as a home, townhouse or apartment) that is organised by a prospective purchaser prior to private sale or bidding at auction.

In short, a pre purchase inspection is a risk mitigation tool for buyers.

What does a pre purchase building inspection cover?

An experienced & qualified consultant will provide advice on the following:

  1. The condition of the land around the building.

A property inspection report should not only focus on the condition of the building, but it should also focus on the land and structures around the building.

For example, the structure of a home may be sound today but can be undermined in the future if site drainage systems are blocked or failing. Small trees planted too close to a home may have no impact on the home today but are very likely to cause serious cracks in external walls as they increasingly suck moisture out of the ground below the footings of a house or from below concrete slabs.

Structural defects in brickwork

  1. The condition of the building.

It’s here that the pre purchase report focuses on the condition of the roof, flashings, gutters, and downpipes, the condition of the external walls, internal walls, the alignment and functioning of  doors and windows, the floor and the condition of the subfloor area (e.g. stumps, brick piers, bearers, floor joists and dampness, ventilation etc.).

A fully completed report advises of defects and their location on the day of inspection, and what is required to rectify identified defects, along with the type of tradesperson typically engaged to rectify each defect.

Additionally, the report will also detail specific areas of the building that require maintenance, the type of maintenance works that need to be completed, and the type of tradesperson who would usually carry out such works.

Any serious safety hazard aspects of the building. For example, unstable balcony platforms, unsafe barriers around balconies or decking, cracked glass in windows or doors and inadequate barriers/ fencing/ gates around swimming pools or spas.

Why do I need one?

The main reason is to help buyers understand if there are any major defects in and around the property.

Buyers are able to mitigate their risk of buying a property at a price that’s affordable only to discover there are many costly defects and maintenance works required post-sale – additional costs that most purchasers can’t afford.

Some examples:

For many, these additional costs are simply not budgeted for particularly after having already stretched themselves financially to acquire their dream home.

Who should I contact to carry out the inspection?

Pre-purchase building inspections should only be carried out by an experienced building consultant with at least 15 years’ experience inspecting and reporting on the condition of residential buildings.

They will inspect the building in accordance with Australian Standard AS 4349.1-2007 Inspection of Buildings Part 1: Pre-Purchase Inspections – Residential Buildings, and must also meet any Government licensing requirement, where applicable.

Should the building consultant be covered by insurance?

Yes, for peace of mind, we highly recommend your inspection company is covered by professional indemnity insurance and liability insurance.

When should I organise a pre purchase inspection?

If you are making an offer on a home that is for private sale, it is recommended that you only make the offer after you have received the building inspection report from the building inspector and taken into consideration all costs associated with rectifying identified defects and carrying out recommended maintenance works.

If there is fierce competition for a house, unit or apartment that you are interested in, we recommend that you make an immediate offer on the property subject to the following conditions:

  • obtaining finance from a financial institution at an interest rate you are satisfied with.
  • a report on the property you are satisfied with.

If you are going to make an offer for a property at an auction, it is recommended that you arrange for an inspection report to be prepared at least 3 days prior to the auction.

It is important to give yourself enough time to read in detail the inspection report and ask the inspector any further important questions before you attend the auction.

Should I accept a verbal report from a building inspector?

Our advice here is simple: verbal reports are not worth the paper that they’re not written on!

If you seek initial verbal advice (to make a quick decision) always ensure that is followed up with a detailed electronic report.

How long does it take to inspect a home?

An apartment, a townhouse or a house inspection should take at least one hour to complete.

If the condition of the building is in very poor condition or the house is very large, more time is needed to inspect all areas and record all defects in the report and consequently, some inspections can take up to two and a half hours.

How long until I receive a building inspection report?

For an average size home (3 or 4 bedrooms), the building and timber pest inspection report should be emailed to you on the day. Urgent reports can be requested verbally immediately after the inspection and a report should then follow.

How do I book a pre purchase building inspection?

We’re glad you asked! ABPOM services all suburbs across the Melbourne, Mornington, Dandenongs, Latrobe & Gippsland regions, simply give us a call on 1300 022 766 or fill out the form on this page to have one of our team call back at your convenience.

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Inspections ABPOM