The process of buying a property is one that’s surely both exciting and stressful. Whether you’re looking to add an old or new asset to your portfolio, you have to be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. But as exciting as the whole thing can be, you may not be as thrilled when you think about the possibility of ending up with a building that hides too many unpleasant surprises.

Before you proceed with your real estate endeavour, you have to get the prospective property checked by a licensed building inspector.

A Timely Building Inspection

As its name suggests, this is the process of assessing the structural integrity of a building you’re about to buy. This kind of inspection can be carried out before, during, and after a building is built. It can even be done at random to ensure builders are complying with the proper legal standards.

From a buyer’s perspective, property inspections are something that has to be on top of the investor’s priorities. After all, it determines whether a residential or commercial asset is structurally sound or generally safe. For sure, no real estate buyer would want to discover later on that the asset he or she just bought is actually in a state of major disrepair.

How Long a Building Inspection Takes

This is a commonly asked question about the job and generally, this kind of inspection gets done in about 90 minutes to 2 hours. It’s important to note that the length of the inspection largely depends on the size of the property being checked, condition and type of foundation, though. As much as you’d want the job done ASAP, remember that a thorough assessment will often take time as the inspector goes over a comprehensive checklist of potential issues.

Comprehensive Building Inspections

Depending on the age and size of the prospect property, this inspection can take a few hours to get done. The inspector will assess every major and minor defect along with other safety hazards. That means thoroughly checking the exterior, sub-floor, roof space, interior, roof’s exterior, attachments and other crucial parts of the structure.

Structural Inspection

For this type of inspection, it can go for a little above an hour. Although it may be less comprehensive, it will aim to identify major defects on primary structural elements of the estate in question. However, the inspector won’t be reporting issues found on exterior features within the site (i.e. retaining walls, fencing, roof material type, etc.) with this kind of report.

New Home Building Inspection

While some may do this kind of inspection in as little as under an hour, considering the fact that the building is newly built, this may not be enough time to thoroughly assess all aspects of the prospective property as outlined in AS4349.1-2007. New buildings have to be built in compliance with legal and industry standards, after all. This kind of assessment should take an hour or two to be done.

Again, the duration of the inspection will likely depend on the size of the real estate property being checked. The longer the inspector does the job, the less likely he or she may overlook issues that may become a nuisance later on. The findings should either boost the confidence or warn any potential house buyers before proceeding with signing the sale contract.

The Coverage of Standard Building Inspections

Building inspectors will observe various aspects of the property, including structural, safety, accessibility, and adherence to the original building plan. The last one, however, is a critical metric often reserved for houses that are still under construction.

For the most part, the qualifications of the building inspector will determine what part of the building he or she will cover. Nevertheless, most inspectors generally check for issues on these areas:

  • Asbestos, possibility of being present
  • Ceilings, walls, and retaining walls
  • Roof
  • Electrical system, visual wiring only
  • Fencing
  • Floors
  • Foundation
  • Guttering
  • Ventilation
  • Hot water system
  • Maintenance issues
  • Moisture levels
  • Visual plumbing and surface drainage
  • Structure
  • Movement to walls
  • Garage/Carports
  • Other attachments

The Building Inspection Report

The time you receive this report will largely depend on the workload of the inspector you got as well as the nature of the issues that may have been found in the process of the inspection. For some building inspectors, they will guarantee to send in the report on the same day the inspection was carried out. Others, meanwhile, will take longer than that. This is likely the case for commercial property inspections where there are more variables and concerns to consider compared to residential assets.

Is a Building Inspection Necessary?

No matter how stressful it might get on your part as a buyer, a building inspection is an important phase of the real estate process. Rushing or even skipping it will only end up with you forking out for a property that may hide one too many headaches. Because you don’t want to be put at such a disadvantage early on, you have to demand that the inspection be done thoroughly and accurately so you get a good idea of what’s in store once the purchase is complete.

With that said, expect a comprehensively done inspection to report a plethora of problems and potential issues. Some can be minor enough that they can be sorted out at a later time but others may have to be dealt with immediately by the appropriate professionals. And if you find out about such concerns before the actual purchase, you can use the information as a bargaining chip to lower the vendor’s asking price. This may be why getting pre-purchase inspections are becoming a standard across the country.

In the end, you wouldn’t want to invest hard-earned money into a property that’ll keep surprising you with one building issue after the other. If you’re just about ready to buy a property, it should go without saying that you have to keep our team of building inspectors within easy reach. Call us when you’re investing in real estate so you don’t get duped into biting off more than you can chew.