Building inspection FAQs

Why have a pre-purchase inspection?

Whether it’s a new build or a yesteryear masterpiece, having a pre-purchase inspection done by an experienced building consultant ensures you make an informed purchase decision. A home that looks good at first glance might have nasty issues lurking below the surface. An experienced and reputable building consultant can ‘see through’ coats of paint and fresh renovation efforts.

Should an identified issue mean the end of a purchase?

If an inspection flags an issue it doesn’t have to mean a no-deal outcome. An inspection highlights anything needing urgent attention, as well as any longer-term maintenance items that should be considered. It gives would-be buyers an opportunity to understand the financial impact they might be facing in the years ahead and consider that during the sale negotiation. Most savvy purchasers will make an offer on a property subject to a satisfactory report from an experienced building inspector.

If something needs greater examination, consider speaking with a specialist before the sale is finalised to avoid having to deal with an expensive or complicated problem later. You may not have time to engage a specialist during the Cooling-Off period, so avoid limiting yourself to a brief timeframe.

What involvement does a potential buyer have?

Most buyers generally attend at the end of a pre-purchase inspection so they can discuss any concerns and get greater context of any issues found.

It’s a great idea if you are a novice buyer, because discussing with your inspector can help to understand the difference between a minor problem and a serious defect or issue. A typical inspection takes at least a couple of hours to check the roof cavity, salt damp, moisture levels, paving, electrical and plumbing work, as part of a comprehensive checklist.

When can you get a pre-purchase inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection does not have to wait until a contract has been signed or a Cooling-Off period has started. It can be done at any stage of the sale process, and if you make an offer on a property it can be made subject to the satisfactory outcome of a building inspection.

Is a DIY inspection just as good?

No. You wouldn’t trust your own health to a dodgy doctor and buying your potential next home should be no different. When choosing a building consultant, remember that you are selecting a professional who will give one of your biggest investments a proper physical check-up.

Do your homework and choose an inspector who is competent, experienced, thorough and trustworthy, rather than going with the cheapest option or one suggested by the real estate agent.

Should I get an inspection on a new home or one being currently built?

A home under construction should still have an independent review of work being done, as the days of mandatory inspections of houses being built are long gone. A construction inspection will identify any major faults now, rather than down the track or when it comes to sale time. Don't assume a builder or contractor is doing everything to the highest standard – and remember that an inspection might be the last line of defence against major defects.

Sometimes a building consultant is employed by a builder as part of a quality assurance program. Having an independent inspection by a building consultant is a valuable contribution to the process and offers builders the advantage of having someone who is outside their organisation alert them to potential issues as they develop.

What is the most common fault found in a pre-purchase inspection?

The most common fault found in home inspections is leaking showers. It is estimated that more than 90% of older homes have problems with leaking showers, but similar issues can also be found with recently built houses.