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Building Inspections: Before Or After Offer?

Importance of Building Inspection

Building Inspections: Before Or After Offer?

by | Nov 9, 2021

When Should A Building Inspection Be Conducted?

The prospect of owning a new property is always appealing. However, before you sign on the dotted lines and commit to buying a new property, there are a few things you need to put into consideration.

A Building inspection is necessary as it reveals lots of information about your property. This is something you should expect as it will be featured in the purchase contract. It is meant to protect you from unpleasant surprises when you move into the house eventually.

Why Is A Building Inspection Important?

Decisions to buy or not to buy properties are usually influenced, to a large extent, by the information that is being revealed in property inspections. Such information includes whether the property is structurally sound and what type of expenditures may arise after the purchase is made.

Often, people think they can still purchase without going through this process, and whilst skipping the inspection process may save you some money and time in the short term. Regrettably, in the long term, there may be huge losses because you skipped an important step.

Appropriate Time For A Building Inspection

The ideal thing to do is to conduct a building inspection before making an offer of purchase. The trouble with this approach is that it is not always practical as there are delays experienced in the process.

The usual practice is for a buyer to have a building inspection included as part of the conditions to be fulfilled before a property is purchased. This condition needs to be written out carefully so as to avoid any form of misunderstanding or confusion.

The conditions in a pre-purchase building inspection should include the following:

  • The person responsible for the inspection report which is usually the buyer.
  • The stipulated completion date.
  • Criteria for assessment of structural defects.
  • Actions that may be taken if the property does not conform to the standards expected by the buyer.

If the pre-purchase inspection picks up defects in the property, the seller should propose repairs within a stipulated time frame. If the seller does not show the willingness to comply with this arrangement, the buyer can terminate the contract.

Building Inspections Should Be Customised

A property inspection report needs to be customised to suit the age of the property you are looking to buy. For example, after purchasing a newly built house, it will be to your advantage to ensure that the quality of fixtures and fittings are included in the structural report. Usually, after having houses inspected, it is common to find wear and tear.

Your primary concern should be about the structural issues, which can pave the way for more expensive repairs such as damages caused in the foundations and not so much as with minor defects such as rusty gutters. For most people, going through a building inspection may not be something they are confident about doing themselves.

There are qualified and reputable building inspectors who will discuss these issues with you and your available options. Whether you carry out a building inspection yourself or enlist the service of a building inspector, you will be able to make informed decisions concerning the property. The question that has continued to trouble many people looking to buy a new property is whether the offer should be made before or after a building inspection is carried out.

There is definitely a lot more controversy surrounding this topic, and this is because many people have had their fingers badly burnt from making the wrong decisions regarding this issue. There are different options that you should carefully look through before you make the decision yourself.

Doing A Building Inspection Yourself

The first chance most people have at inspecting properties is during an open-house viewing. When this opportunity presents itself, it gives potential buyers the chance to look over the property and come up with thoughts about it. Such events would normally last about 30 minutes, during which people can have a general feel of the quality and the features the property possesses.

It is good practice to go along with someone who can help you during the inspection process as two heads are better than one. A second perspective can help you identify some faults and issues you may otherwise have thought nothing of or missed.

Steps Involved In Personal Inspection

Having the opportunity to wander around and within a property with a bunch of other buyers will give you the chance to have an overall feel of what the property offers, including the things you like and the ones you don’t.

If you are going for a building inspection alone, arm yourself with building inspection tips to help you through it. You can make use of the following when you embark on such an activity:

  • Check and confirm that the windows and doors open and close easily. This will tell you if they get stuck or are free on their hinges.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of dampness or mould on walls and the ceiling.
  • Assess the structural integrity of the house. Look through to see if there are sagging walls or ceilings that may be giving way.
  • Confirm that the taps are running.
  • Check the age as well as the conditions of the plumbing in the property and confirm they are not faulty.
  • Check to see if there are defects in the roof, gutters, and exterior walls.
  • Confirm that no bad smell is coming from within or outside and there is no noise from a nearby road.

Building Inspection By A Professional

While you can work with any form of homebuyer’s guide to help you perform a personal inspection, hiring a professional building and pest inspector would be a better approach. A professional will be able to get the house thoroughly inspected before you make a purchase.

With the assistance of the expert you hire, you should be able to have a building inspection report completed. In the report, the expert will fill in the information regarding structural soundness and various other issues.

Such issues may include rising dampness, which you might miss if you inspect it by yourself. Part of the expert’s job will be to confirm that the building is safe to occupy.

If you are on your own, you might not be able to identify where cosmetic improvements or repairs have taken place in a property, but this will be easily done with the help of a qualified inspector. The experts will also take note of unsafe renovations meant to hide issues that will likely occur in the future.

The usual practice is for building inspections to take place before any further agreement is made. Therefore, you should try and take this step before you sign the contract and not later. It is best to work with a third-party professional and not the one provided by the seller, as they will most likely work in their favour.

What Is Involved In A Building Inspection?

Building inspectors are able to carry out a visual inspection of all areas of a property. They are experienced enough to detect signs of structural defects or any expensive problem that may lie ahead.

Some of the areas of the property that the expert will look at include the following:

  • A building’s interior – The inspector needs to have a thorough look at a property’s interior to check for signs of weakness or underlying defects. The expert would know how not to be deceived by fresh improvements that are not in-depth, starting from the ceiling to the walls and down to the foundation.
  • The roof – It will not be enough to cast a quick glance over the roof because the real problem is maybe hiding out of sight. The roof exterior will have to be properly checked for damaged downpipes and gutters.
  • Roof and under-floor spaces – Where possible, the inspector should see to it that these areas are checked and confirm that they are free from structural damage.
  • The property site – A property inspection report will include information on the condition of the carport, garden shed, retaining wall, laundry, surface water drainage, separate toilets, paths, and driveway.

If there is any specific area of the property you would love to have inspected, you should mention it before the inspection commences.

Pest Assessment During Building Inspection

As already mentioned, you will be able to save a lot of money on potential future repairs you may run into if you perform due diligence at the time of inspection.

One of the places that need to be covered during building inspection is a pest inspection. It should be done before a deal is reached. It is usually good practice to have a combined building and pest inspection carried out.

Steps Involved In Pest Inspection

  • A pest inspector is expected to thoroughly look through the property and check if there is any presence of wood-destroying insects.
  • The inspector will want to see if there is existing damage caused by these pests and the potential damage that may arise as a result of this in the future. The building inspector should inspect both the interior and exterior of the property and the accessible roof cavities and under-floor areas.
  • Where the building and pest inspector can confirm the presence of pests, the inspection report should include the necessary steps that may be taken to determine the type of treatment that should be given.

Hire An Inspector To Get Value For Your Money

The need for a property inspection cannot be overemphasised, and although there could be that urge to cut corners, you should think more about the long-term consequence of doing so.

Going through the process will not only give you real value for money spent, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing you have taken the necessary precautions for safety.



Buying a home?

Before you purchase, you need to be aware of what financial liabilities may be incurred. Our trained, experience and insured Adelaide building inspectors will be sure to assist you in this regard. Don’t leave your investments to chance




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