Building inspectors work for you

property inspection reports highlight potential problems with properties for saleCaveat emptor. It’s the first rule of buying property, or of buying anything, for that matter, and yet, there are still many buyers who forgo having a pre-purchase building inspection done because they don’t think it’s necessary or because they think it will speed up the sales process, but usually it just causes stress later on down the track.

Whether you’re buying property to live in yourself or whether you’re looking to buy an investment property, getting a pre-purchase building inspection done is always important. Here are four reasons why:

Checking for structural issues

Structural issues, in extreme cases, can cause a property to collapse, but more likely, there’s the possibility that whatever the structural issue is, it could be nearly impossible to repair without significant construction work.

Many buyers assume that a vendor will know and disclose this information during the sales process, but oftentimes the vendor isn’t anywhere of the problems – possible because they never had a building inspection done in the first place.

A building inspection will also turn up any alterations or additions that may have been done to the home over time, which do not conform to the Building Codes and Standards of Australia and which you would become liable for fixing once you purchase the property.

Evaluating additional structures

Sheds, patios and certain enclosures also need to be examined. Local councils determine where these structures can be built and for what purpose they may be used – granny flats, for example, require special approvals – and if a structure doesn’t conform or have council approval, you may be liable to remove the structure or modify it.

Make certain that your building inspector pays attention to any additional structures, especially if you are buying the property due to the existence of those structures, to ensure they meet all council and building codes.

Identifying unsafe areas of the home

Building inspections will also identify any areas of the home that may be unsafe due to the presence of asbestos, lead, mould, termites, as well as cracks in walls and missing balustrades.

Uncovering these hazards will help you to decide if the home is safe and, if you were planning on making any alterations to the property after you move in, whether your budget will stretch to include whatever precautions may now be necessary in order to carry out your project – asbestos, for example, can be expensive to have removed.

Budgeting for repairs

Having a pre-purchase building inspection done will help you to determine whether there are any repairs that will need to be carried out immediately, and whether you will be able to afford to attend to them.

This is particularly important for property investors who intend to rent the property out later. A property that requires substantial construction work to repair any structural issues or deal with any other hazards may not be a suitable property to buy as an investment.

But if you don’t get an building inspection done and problems arise later on down the track, you may become liable not just to repair the issues immediately, but also for any damage that may have been caused to your tenant’s property or health as a result.

When it comes to whether or not you should get a building inspection done, remember: buyer beware. 

Educational videos about selling your property

If you would like to learn more about buying, selling or marketing property, Derek Farmer (Cammeray Real Estate Agent – specialist) has created 20 educational videos that are available to you at no cost – learn about them here.

— This blog first appeared at

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