While most home buyers know how a building and pest inspection is crucial when looking to buy a house, many are unsure about getting one when it comes to purchasing an apartment. When you’re indecisive about commissioning one, remember that 7 out of 10 new buildings will hide a variety of defects at the time of purchase. Yes, you’d be wise to get this kind of pre-purchase property assessment done.
Who’s Responsible for What?
As you’re about to invest in an apartment, you’ll learn that some structural issues fall under the responsibility of the owner’s corporation. However, keep in mind that if the structural issues are found within your unit, the responsibility to get the problem diagnosed and fixed falls squarely on your shoulders.
Although it’s comforting to think that repair costs will be shared between members of the owner’s corporation, this doesn’t take away the fact that you’d still end up paying for a substantial special levy that you might not have anticipated.
It is for this reason that you’ll need to obtain a strata report as well as commission a building and pest inspection to be sure that your unit is a safe investment.
Building Inspection in General
Regardless of the property you buy, it would be reckless if you proceed without commissioning a building and pest inspection report. Whether you’re on the market for a house or an apartment unit, you have to know what its general state is.
A building inspector knows what to look for in an apartment and he or she can see through any cosmetic improvements that have been used to cover up various faults. For the most part, the final report will take note of any issues in the property as well as make a verdict whether those defects can be repaired. If they’re not deemed as something beyond repair, the inspection report will state how much it’ll cost to fix them. Aside from these, the building and pest inspection report will highlight any unauthorised or unsafe renovations.
Building and Pest Inspection in Apartments
Once you book a pre-purchase building inspection for an apartment, know that the inspector can only report on the interior features of the unit you’re buying along with any other areas included in the purchase (i.e. car parking space). This means that common areas like the stairwells, driveways, lobbies, and elevators won’t be covered. These areas fall under the responsibility of a body corporate. This arrangement is what you call the ‘strata title’.
As the building inspector assesses the apartment unit, he or she will be on the lookout for maintenance issues like water damage and leaks. These are two of the costliest to deal with and they’re typically the product of poor-quality materials, ageing/poor interior design, and faulty workmanship. Leaks may not sound intimidating on paper but they’ll give you a serious headache, especially considering the fact that it’ll cost you thousands of dollars to sort them out. Another cause for leaks is a badly constructed balcony and all it takes is a blocked drainage point, a poor sealing job, or a broken tile to wreak havoc onto an adjoining property. Don’t forget that dampness issues do not only start from your apartment but also under it due to rising damp and above with falling dampness (leaking wet areas to apartments above)
Not only is water damage a costly problem, it can have a major impact on your health and safety. Water leaks will result in mould growth, which is a serious health concern once you occupy the apartment. Once water gets into electrical fittings, that’d be another safety hazard you wouldn’t want on your hands. Older properties may still have the galvanised water pipes in solid walls that rust, these pipes will need replacing with copper or poly pipes and can be very expensive to do.
Another major problem a building and pest inspector will anticipate is the presence of termites. Remember that you will be liable to fix the damage caused by a termite infestation in the unit you’re planning to purchase. If you wouldn’t want to shell out a fortune to eradicate these wood-eating pests, your best bet is to get the appropriate termite inspection done.
Is a Building and Pest Inspection Necessary for Apartments?
Although it can be argued that an inspection done in an apartment is more limited than the one performed on a house, we can’t emphasise enough its importance in identifying major safety issues and structural defects. This limitation shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, since the inspector can only access the apartment itself as well as common areas in the building. Despite this, a building inspector can help identify roof leaks from top-floor apartments as this can directly affect your unit. In addition, their expertise in pest inspection allows them to anticipate if there is a risk for a termite infestation by assessing the vulnerability of ground-floor units.
For the most part, property defects relating to the building itself are the responsibility of the owner corporation. But for sure, you wouldn’t want to invest in an apartment that is in a building with several problems. It is for this reason that a building inspector may recommend that you dig about the history and situation of the apartment complex. This information can be obtained if you can get a hold of the strata records held by the strata manager.
By going over this report, you can hopefully get a better feel for the current issues involving the building as a whole. If there have been problems identified in that particular report, a building inspection helps assess the risk level it has on the apartment unit you’re prospecting. On that note, it can actually be helpful if you can show the strata report to the building inspector so you can have a better understanding of any ongoing structural concerns.
Thorough Building and Pest Inspections Help You Find the Best Apartments
When you’re on the market for an apartment, you obviously want to purchase one that wouldn’t be giving you more headaches than comfort. For this to happen, you will need the trained eye of a building and pest inspector to figure out if the unit you’re looking at will be a worthwhile investment or not.
If you need a team of experienced inspectors to help you in this regard, don’t hesitate to call us today!