When you order a Building & Pest Inspection remember that the inspector’s job is to find the flaws in the property – that is, what is wrong, and not what is right.
Always bear this in mind and the fact therefore that if there are problems, they will nearly always read more negative than positive.
It is vital therefore to actually call the Building Inspector yourself after you receive the written report to have an informal chat with him to confirm what the real position is.
Remember, inspectors have a duty of care and thus they must advise you in writing of problems they encounter, otherwise their professional indemnity insurance won’t cover them in the event they make a mistake.
The issue, however, may take on a whole different light and you may see it more in perspective when you discuss it with them over the phone.
I have written before about the importance of using a Pest & Building Inspector that you source yourself who is truly independent and prepared to critically look at any property you are buying without fear or favour of upsetting anyone involved in the sale process.
So therefore, never accept a recommendation from a Real Estate Agent.
Give the Housing Industry Association or the Master Builders Association a call for the name of a suitable inspector.
It goes without saying too, that you need to engage an inspector who will provide you with a Report that is actually helpful.
Beware reports that appear to be very comprehensive and run for pages, but when you look at them carefully they are effectively “Tick-box Reports” that contain nothing more than a lot of verbage and some blank lines where the inspector fills in general comments.
Apart from the general comments, they are either so technical that you cannot follow them or they contain so many qualifications that they are of little use or service to you in assessing whether or not to buy the property.
So my tip for you is this.
Before you engage the Inspector, ask them to send you a pro-forma of their report to see that it is user friendly and does not fall foul of some of these comments I have just made.
If, after looking at the pro-forma, you still want to use that inspector rather than source someone else, call them and tell them about your concerns about the report and ask them if they will, in addition, provide you as part of their fee an Executive Summary of any issues in relation to the property (no longer than one page).
If they are serious about being of service to you and are keen to get the business, they will agree.
Remember, particularly where a property has had extensive renovations, the benefits of thermal imaging.
A lot of building inspectors now can offer this additional service for up to say another $150.00.
This process can uncover pest and water problems that have been covered over during renovations.
Wherever possible, be in attendance at the property with the Building and Pest Inspector.
Then you can ask them all of your questions and you will be surprised sometimes at the answers.
Be very careful in trying to lever down the price because of claimed defects in the Building & Pest reports.
Remember, the Sellers will often be at the property themselves to observe the inspection and will usually have asked the inspector first hand if there were any problems.
Trying to lever down the price therefore when there wasn’t really an issue, can backfire.