Having a thorough building inspection report on hand when you’re about to purchase a property can help you negotiate the price using cold, hard facts. It’s just one of the reasons why it’s critical that investors get their hands on this document before adding anything to their real estate portfolio.

With a pre-purchase building inspection, you can be informed of any existing and potential problems in the estate. The inspector will also provide insight on the property’s overall state. Despite the wealth of information you obtain from this specific property assessment, it does have limitations.

Why Pre-Purchase Building Inspections Matter

In reality, this report is just one of the many types of building inspections you can request as you’re buying a property. Sometimes referred as a ‘standard property report’, it is a written account of the condition of a building. Requesting for one or getting a report done shouldn’t be a variable when you’re about to purchase a real estate asset because it gets you these invaluable advantages:

  • Getting informed of any significant problems in the building.
  • Obtaining professional advice on any major problems discovered and possibly getting insights on how they affect property integrity down the track.
  • Putting yourself in a great position to negotiate a lower price for a property as repairs and replacements may have to be taken into account.

We can’t emphasise this enough: a pre-purchase building inspection is a helpful tool that steers you away from properties that are essentially bad investments.

Coverage of a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection

The amount of detail in the report largely depends on the type of property assessed, its age and size, its present condition and the reporting process used by the inspector. For the most part, these will influence the cost of the subsequent report.

Whether the building inspection report adopts a standard format, uses a comprehensive checklist, or includes photographs, the most important thing is that it complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1). For compliance, the report has to cover all accessible parts of the property, most especially the following:

  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Under-floor space
  • Roof space
  • Roof exterior
  • Site features (e.g. garage, garden shed, carport, fencing, path, driveway, etc.)

One thing to keep in mind is that a pre-purchase building inspection report is generally limited to a visual inspection so it may leave out structural defects that are hidden from plain view. If you have concerns regarding this, you might have to consider requesting additional assessment done by an accredited specialist like structural engineers, utility service providers, and pest inspectors.

Other Things Pre-Purchase Inspections Cover

Despite its limitation, this kind of property assessment does its best to be as thorough in order to help property investors make informed buying decisions. As you receive the pre-purchase building inspection report, don’t be surprised to see it covering these other features.

Free-Standing Structures

Garden sheds, retaining walls, pergolas, carports, garages, and gazebos are just among the freestanding structures that building inspectors will assess. They’ll check the stability of the aforementioned structures and see if they won’t be compromising anyone’s safety.

Surface Drainage

Among the most important features to check in a property, this fixture has to be observed because poor surface drainage often causes a number of long-term issues. Leave it be and you could be dealing with moisture retention which leads to soil erosion, also rising damp is common with dwellings where drainage is poor. This may then escalate into structural movement and damage, which would be quite expensive to fix. Luckily, pre-purchase building inspectors can tell if surface water properly drains away from the property.


Although you may count these natural features as highly prized additions, you may want to know what’s going on with the trees within the property you’re about to buy. Tree roots growing in the wrong places can cause structural problems when nobody’s looking. Meanwhile, overhanging branches can be hazardous when growing near paths and the driveways. It certainly pays to get these natural features assessed.

Pest Infestation

The last thing you want to see in a prospect property is the sight of pests sharing the place with you. It can be especially worrisome when termites are the ones you’re dealing with. With several areas in Australia offering favourable climate and conditions to these wood-eating insects, you may need a pre purchase timber pest inspection to look out for these destructive white ants.

Exclusions to Expect From Standard Building Inspections

As thorough as a pre-purchase building inspection is, it will leave out some details for you to work out on your own. On that note, here are details commonly excluded in such reports:

  • Some costs associated with any recommended repair work as proper quotes should be obtained.
  • Minor faults i.e. features or fixtures that don’t need urgent attention or rectification; often done in consideration of the building’s age and condition and part of ongoing maintenance.
  • Comment on some structural design or adequacy of the materials used in the construction
You Need More Than Luck to Land a Worthwhile Investment

While paying a prospect property a visit helps you come up with an informed buying decision, nothing beats getting the place inspected by expert eyes. With so much to look for and assess, one hour of walking around the place may not be enough to give you a good grasp of what you’re about to invest in. Indeed, it’s best to leave the job in the hands of our capable inspectors.

With a building inspection report on hand, you can see whether an estate is worth top dollar or not. And if you’re serious about engaging in real estate, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve got a worthwhile deal on hand may be worth more than what you pay for this kind of building assessment.