For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they will ever make. Add to that how difficult it can be to break into the Melbourne property market, especially if you’re a first home buyer. When buying a property, you can’t afford to take any chances. You need to know what you’re buying and what the risks are.
When it comes to buying property in Melbourne, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you invest in a pre-purchase property inspection from a registered builder.
A pre-purchase property inspection will help you identify any property defects, essential repairs or potential issues with a property before you buy. It could save you tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance costs down the road and will usually cost you no more than $400 to $600 up front.
What is a pre-purchase property inspection report?
A pre-purchase property inspection report will outline the property’s condition in detail. It will help you understand exactly what condition the property is in, what repairs may be required, what ongoing maintenance costs you can expect, and will flag any potential safety hazards or defects with the property.
The inspection and report will cover structural elements of the house including the walls, roof, under-roof, structural timbers, foundation, flooring and under flooring and any other accessible structural components. The inspection will look for structural damage, leaks, damp, moisture damage and building code violations. It will also look for evidence of dodgy or amateur repair or renovation work or any quick patch-up job that look like they’re hiding more serious issues.
It will also take into account drainage, wiring and smoke alarms, outbuildings, safety issues and can sometimes include plumbing.
Most property inspection companies can also include a pest inspection to look for termite activity or other insect infestations.
Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a pre-purchase property inspection report (most companies will deliver the report within 1-2 days). The report will document all the findings of the inspection. It will outline any damage or defects and include detailed photos of the condition of the property. Any issues will usually be separated essential or non-essential repairs.
Depending on the building inspector, the report may also include general cost estimates for repairs or suggestions for further specialised inspections (e.g. from an electrician or plumber if particular issues have been identified).
Once you purchase a property, any defects, building code violations or repairs will be entirely your responsibility. By identifying these issues before you purchase the property, you can negotiate with the vendor to have the problems fixed or to lower the purchase price in line with the cost of the repairs.
It will also help you understand what the ongoing maintenance costs are going to be, as well as prepare for any significant repair costs down the road.
A pre-purchase inspection is all about empowering you to make the most informed purchase you can.
Choosing the right property inspector
When it comes to choosing a building inspector, you need to select an experienced and qualified registered builder. Chances are the vendor’s real estate agent will recommend you an inspector. However, you’re better off finding your own inspector so you know you’re getting independent advice that you can trust.
To save money, you’re best off finding an inspector that can do a combined building and pest inspection. Make sure your building inspector is fully licensed and qualified, experienced and able to provide a quick turnaround on the report.
When it comes to buying property – especially in a market as competitive as Melbourne –organising a pre-purchase property inspection is essential to help you make the informed choice and buy with confidence.