The ancient Romans had a saying that is still extremely true today – even in our modern society of the 21st century – and this saying was ‘caveat emptor’ – in essence, it is the principle that if you are not in possession of an extended warranty, then you as the buyer take the risk. It is sometimes more commonly translated as ‘let the buyer beware”.
Nowhere is this truer than when purchasing a property. It is well known that property will usually be the largest investment that any consumer will make in their lifetime. So if you are in the market for a home it is absolutely essential that you ensure that the residential property is free from any defects or hidden problems prior to signing that final document that changes the ownership into your name. The only way to do this with confidence is to organise a combined building and pest inspection service.
Two of the most important ways of doing this is to insist that the owner from who you are purchasing the property has had the building inspected for faults – and has also allowed a qualified professional check for any pest infestation that may lead to problems either currently or at a later date.
If these inspections are not carried out professionally the buyer can be in for an extreme shock as far as the costs for repair are concerned. For instance in regions where termites are common and wood is used extensively as a building material the damage that termites can do is always apparent – but it can seriously affect the structural integrity of the dwelling.
If problems aren’t serious the results of inspections can still put the bargaining power back into the hands of the buyer. those minor problems can result in significant savings after sitting around the negotiating table.
So what are the most common types of inspections that should be carried out?
The building inspector should make sure that all roofing materials are in good condition, as well as guttering. Failure to do this can result in extensive water damage and a significant insurance premium increase. Of course, the entire exterior and interior of the building should be examined to ensure that there is no evidence of problems with structural integrity.
An examination of the finishes to the home, including discoloration of paint finishes, should also be carried out as this may be an indication of deeper issues.
If there is a basement space then this should also be inspected to ensure that flooding and other water-related problems will not affect the livability and value of the property at some future point. Sealing of such spaces is also a point which must be considered.
Of course, the aforementioned pest inspection is absolutely essential.
There are many types of reports that are supplied and many depend on the individual inspectors. Some supply simple lists where boxes are ticked off for compliance while others can supply multi-page reports which go into great depth regarding the state of the property. The buyer should also take into account the fact that costs for these reports can vary – however balancing their value against the future value of a large investment makes a more extensive report an excellent first step to protecting that all important investment and in fact the happiness of those who would call the property home.
As part of the process, the buyer should also request an electrical compliance certificate. It may also pay in the long run to obtain the opinion of a master plumber as to the state of fixtures and plumbing.
Your bank account and mortgage obligations are going to place the significant strain on your finances – a little money spent now will go a long way to reducing the pain of obtaining your dream home.