What is a building and pest inspection?

A building and pest inspection is a thorough check-up done on a property you’re looking to purchase. It involves qualified building and pest inspectors checking for structural damage, cracks and leaks, as well as signs of pests like rodents or termites. Most property purchase contracts have a building and pest clause.

Why should you pay for a building inspection?

Think of a building or pest inspection as buying insurance for your investment. While it seems like an extra upfront cost, it has the potential to save you money and hassle in the long term. A thorough investigation will uncover hidden problems that aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye. Issues like roof damages or termite infestations, could cost a lot of money to fix if you found out about them after purchasing the property.

Doing the inspection covers you from potential financial risks and ensures you’re making a smart and informed decision about purchasing your home. Generally, the cost of a pest and building inspection varies as it depends on the size and location of the property, as well as the level of detail required in the inspection.

What isn’t covered in a building inspection?

A building inspection report is unlikely to cover aspects like estimating the cost of repairs or providing advice on whether it’s worth buying the property. It will also not include assessments of areas that are inaccessible or concealed within the property. While a building inspector will provide valuable information about the property’s condition, it’s important to understand there are limitations and you may need to seek further advice from relevant professionals.

When should you do a building and pest inspection?

It’s always a good idea to conduct an independent building and pest inspection before entering into a contract. If you discover something that isn’t agreeable, you can effectively decline the sale and not risk losing your deposit. However, this isn’t always possible, especially in a fast-moving market where the owners want to sell quickly. In this instance, a building and pest clause should exist as a condition of the sale when you buy a home. The clause allows you to get written reports from qualified building and pest inspectors about the property. A correctly worded building and pest clause may give you the right to withdraw from the contract if the report isn’t satisfactory. Seek the expertise of a solicitor to help you get the wording correct so you’re covered.

However, you should act reasonably when entering into any building and pest negotiations with the seller. Even if your solicitor has read over the contract before you signed, don’t assume that the mere mention of a minor defect in the report will allow you to pull out of the contract. The seller has the right to dispute your attempt to pull out of the contract.

Make sure you understand all the conditions of your offer when you buy a property. Don’t wait to find out until it’s too late.

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Important information

The information in this article has been written by Michael Sloan from The Successful Investor. While Mr Sloan has been careful to ensure the information is correct and accurate, Mr Sloan’s views are his own and do not necessarily represent those of National Australia Bank Limited ABN 12 004 044 937, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686 (NAB). This information should not be relied upon as financial product advice as none of the information provided takes into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. NAB recommends seek the counsel of an independent financial advisor before making any investment decision.