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Bryce Holdaway Blog post by Bryce Holdaway

When should you do a Building and Pest inspection?

So the question is when should you get a building and pest inspection done on a property that you looking to purchase and in my view, you should always get it done prior to entering into a contract when you’re actually in a position when you can do that. But I’m also aware that in some cases you just can’t, so for example if it’s a really fast moving market or property that’s proven to be very popular at the agent just want to move very quickly. Quite often you are not in a position where you can actually get a building and pest inspection done prior to entering into a contract. So in that case, it’s important to make sure it is a condition of the contract but more importantly make sure the wording of the clause is very much in your favour. So this is where you want to get a solicitor/conveyancer to actually help you with the wording because you want to actually make sure that the building and pest inspection is done that is satisfactory to the purchaser and not some minor or vague clause that gives the owner very little scope to let you out of the contract. So you want to protect yourself and in my view making sure that the wording is right is absolutely critical and number one.

If you’re looking to buy at auction, it’s just non-negotiable that you get the building and pest inspection done prior to even turning up on the day because if you are the successful buyer under the hammer, you are unconditional. There’s no turning back.

It’s not as you can find out later on down the track there’s an issue and start negotiating because it’s too late. So that’s the number one time when it’s just non-negotiable. It is absolutely essential if you’re going to buy a property in auction, you need to get the building and pest inspection done prior to turning up on the day.

Now with the building and pest inspection, it’s important that it’s independent. In some cases, I’ve seen situation where the owner or the real estate agent had got one done and they’re making that available to prospective purchasers. But in my view, whilst it could be free, I think it’s important to spend the money and get an independent building and pest inspection done yourself. Just so you got a peace of mind and you know that everything has been disclosed that could be material for you in terms of making that decision to buy that property.

In terms of material, that’s an important point because you need to realize that a building inspectors is going to tell you everything that is wrong. Absolutely everything. You need to have the ability to discern between what’s material and what’s actually immaterial or non-material in nature. So, example of material are this termites all over the joint or the place is going to fall down. That’s obviously reasons why you wouldn’t want to go ahead with the purchase. But non-material things are you know a crack in the tile in the bathroom or the tap’s leaking and you got to think to yourself, “That’s not a deal breaker but there must be some leverage to help me negotiate better terms or better prices”. So, it’s important to distinguish between material and non-material.

And the final thing I’d say is: if you actually buying a brand new house, you can obviously have high expectations and what you should be getting because everything’s brand spanking new and shiny. But if you’re buying an old home, you have to be realistic. The property’s probably been around for 50 or 100 years in some cases and you know, you got to be realistic that something’s probably going to be wrong. So again, that distinguishing between what’s material and what’s non-material is really important when you’re actually reading these reports on the building and pest inspection that you do get from the inspectors.

I guess the number one takeaway here is whenever possible, you should always get an independent building and pest inspection done prior to entering into a contract.

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