Could there be anything worse than finding out that the real estate asset you have bought comes with a lot of problems that warrant immediate repair or renovation? This nightmarish scenario isn’t unheard of but you can keep yourself from going down the same route by getting a building inspection done prior to the actual purchase.
Because buying properties is an expensive affair, you may not like the idea of shouldering substantial repair costs later on. With a timely building inspection report, you can minimise the chances of that happening and be sure that you’ll have little regret upon exchanging sales contracts with the real estate vendor.
Although some investors opt to do personal visits to do a quick ocular inspection, this may not be enough to come up with a thorough assessment of the property you’re about to buy. For one, property viewing lasts anywhere around half an hour to an hour so one may not have sufficient time to check every important feature in the building including sub floors and roof spaces.
Meanwhile, others will ask real estate agents if they can repurchase property inspection reports that have been commissioned previously. However, this strategy comes with a few risks.
The best way to get a building inspection done is by commissioning an independent team before a contract of sale is finalised.
What can investors like yourself expect from the content of a property inspection report?
To begin with, know that the detail and format in the building inspection report depends on the client’s specifications and the type of property assessed. In most cases, the size and age of the property as well as the property’s general condition and the reporting process used by the inspector all comes into play as the said report is prepared, too.
It’s worth emphasising that the report has to include enough information for buyers to be aware of the property’s general condition. This should help them identify significant problems that they may likely deal with down the track and decide if those hurdles are risks worth taking.
Even with this premise, remember that a standard building inspection report is largely limited to a visual inspection only. It may not identify major structural defects and other problems that may be hidden from plain view.
To dig deeper into the state of a prospect property, you may have to obtain additional assessment from other specialists e.g. structural engineer, surveyor, geotechnical engineer and utility companies.
Building inspectors are expected to check every accessible parts of the property in question, which should include these areas:
- building’s interior and exterior features
- roof space
- under-floor space
- roof’s exterior
As a prospect buyer, you may also ask the consultant to check particular issues e.g. existence of operable smoke alarms and safety switches as well as any visible signs of asbestos.
Most building inspection reports will generally include assessments of these features:
- Separate outbuildings or attachments
- Decks and steps
- Surface water drainage
- Paths and driveways
- Garage, carports, and garden sheds
- Retaining walls
In addition to the ones mentioned, the building inspection report normally includes the following information:
- Date, reason and scope for the inspection
- Address of the property assessed
- List of areas that weren’t checked, including the reason why they were excluded
- List of significant issues that may need immediate repair
- Minor issues and maintenance
- Recommendation for a further assessment from other accredited specialists
Perhaps the most important portion of the inspection report is this one. It’s here where a brief summary of major faults found in the property can be found as well as the asset’s overall condition, an assessment done in consideration of the estate’s age, type of construction and state at the time of the inspection.
Not everything will be covered by the building inspection, however. Details like an estimate of the repair costs or signs of termite infestation may not be included in the final report. If there have been parts of the property that has been barred from public access at the time of the inspection, the report may not include a proper assessment of such inaccessible areas.
In some cases, really minor defects may be excluded, especially if the said issue is cosmetic in nature. In addition, anything that may categorically be outside the inspector’s expertise will likely be left out in the final report.
Simply put—inspection reports aren’t all-encompassing and should only be seen as a reasonable attempt to identify major problems that are visible at the time of the inspection. Typically, the extent of such concerns largely depends on the age and type of property that is inspected.
A comprehensive report will help property investors decide on the appropriate course of action in their real estate venture. They may use it to back out of buying the asset, request for repairs, or negotiate a price that is reflective of the current condition of the property. To get a good idea of the state of the building, the inspector will have to carefully look for signs of defects.
For this purpose, a building inspector will crawl under the floor, check inside the roof, investigate the site drainage and retaining walls just to uncover any defects that are hiding from plain view. The issues he or she would be looking for include:
- Drainage issues
- Water ingress
- Maintenance cover-ups and defects
- Mould and dampness
- Structure movement
- Deterioration to the foundations, floors, and walls
- Fungal decay
- Alterations to the original structure
- Non compliant building work
Although some vendors will offer to get a building inspection report themselves, it’s best if you get an independent and unbiased assessment done by someone not emotionally invested in the property in question. You could be excited at the prospect of purchasing the place but this excitement may only cloud your judgment, likely making you overlook potential problems.
With an impartial inspector assessing the structure and providing a factual report on the current state of the property, it can be easier for investors like yourself to make a sensible and informed buying decision.
It has become a commonplace to employ the help of building inspectors like Buywise prior to buyers purchasing a property. Doing so will save anyone from getting nasty surprises the moment they move into their newly acquired property.
If it’s an impartial building inspection that you want done, get in touch with us today!