A Homebuyer’s Guide To Building Inspections

Image provided by author
Image provided by author

Are you in the market for a new home? If you’ve already ventured out to a few auctions, the inflated prices might have left you feeling slightly… deflated.

Let’s face it – it’s competitive out there. In the current sellers’ market, many homebuyers are tempted to leap on the first prospect that comes close to meeting their ‘dream home’ expectations. But it’s important not to rush in and make hasty decisions you will have to live in. After all, this is a home we’re talking about, not a handbag. For most, buying a property is a once-in-a-lifetime decision.

Perhaps you can’t control market prices, but you can avoid making expensive mistakes by investing in a Building Inspection. There are three crucial reasons why you should organize a Building Inspection before you commit to buying:

1. Know All Features, Great And Small

Before you become legally and financially tied to a property, you should know its flaws and its virtues. Most virtues will be apparent with a simple walk-through but a professional Building Inspection will unveil those problems, both major and minor, that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, without the help of expert eyes you may not notice that there’s no firewall in the roof to the adjoining terrace, or that the suspended pool may not be Engineer designed.

Common flaws or problems include:

  • hazards
  • poor quality or illegal building work
  • non-durable timbers
  • rising damp
  • termite problems
  • roof damage/leaks
  • cracked basins
  • asbestos
  • shared electrical supply

A Building Inspection will help you identify problems that could prove costly to repair, if left unchecked.

2. Negotiate Price

A Building Inspection takes the guesswork out of buying a home. After a comprehensive Inspection, the home that had you at ‘Hello’ might start to seem like more of a potential liability. Or – if you’re lucky – the unpopular property that seemed dilapidated from the curb might prove to be a diamond in the rough.

In a competitive housing market, there’s not much room for unsubstantiated bartering. However, if you can identify tangible problems or damage, there may be scope to negotiate price. When a thorough Building Inspection exposes serious problems or issues, you’re in a much stronger position to confidently negotiate price reductions. Especially now as the market loses a bit of heat.

3. Assess Safety

Building Inspections can literally save lives. Would you knowingly expose yourself and your family to danger?

An inspection can alert you to potential health hazards and safety issues, such as asbestos, non-safety glass fall risk or structural failures. Some health and safety issues can be easily repaired but others will make the purchase untenable. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, for example, rising damp or termite chemicals in the sub-floor could be deal-breakers.

Image provided by author
Image provided by author

Your home can be more than just a a place to live – it’s an investment and a safe haven. So before you put your money down, assess the potential return on investment and also the likely need for future costs and renovation. Some property flaws can be easily fixed but you should know upfront how much additional time and money you’ll need to invest in the property, to make it safe and functional.

Author bio: Jerry Tyrrell has over 40 years’ experience in the building, architectural and timber pest industry and founded Tyrrells Property Inspections more than 30 years ago. Since then Jerry has supervised the inspection of, or directly inspected, over 90,000 buildings. He has hands-on experience in most building trades, and has designed, built, supervised and project managed building projects from $5,000 to $8m.