If you’re considering buying a property in Queensland then you should be aware that under the standard contract of sale there is a clause for a pest & building inspection to be carried out on the property prior to settlement. Under this clause you have the right to terminate the contract if the report received is unsatisfactory to you.
However all too often we find that some buyers don’t consider having an inspection carried out to be important and don’t want to pay the costs associated with it. But if you’re paying several hundred thousand dollars or more for a property that you are likely to spend many years living in, is it really worth skipping this step just to save a few hundred dollars? We think not, which is why we advise all our buyers to have a pest & building inspection carried out.
Why is a pest & building inspection important?
The aim of an inspection is to protect you as a buyer from any nasty surprises and associated costs down the track. You wouldn’t buy a car knowing that it had a problem in the engine, so why would you buy a property that could have a structural problem or a serious termite infestation?
Even if the property is near new, it’s still worth having an inspection carried out, because the alternative is always a large bill.
The most common things a pest inspection will assess are:
- Evidence of termites and other timber pests;
- The severity of any infestations;
- The severity of damage caused by current or past infestations; and
- The susceptibility of the property to a pest infestation.
You’ll then receive a report outlining any remedial or protective measures that may be required to the property and details of any further investigations that may need to be undertaken.
When choosing a pest inspector ensure they are qualified to deal with termite treatments and do this on a regular basis. If termites are found ask them to prepare a treatment plan and a quote to rid the property of them. If you have this prepared before the property goes unconditional you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to buy the property and take on this cost, or cancel the contract. You can also ask your conveyancing solicitor to negotiate with the buyer for a reduction in the price to the value of this treatment plan. That way you can still purchase the property, but not take on any additional costs as a result of the termite discovery.
A building inspection meanwhile will identify any deficiencies in new building work and existing structures. A building inspector will look at the overall condition of the property and its workmanship and provide you with a summary of its condition and recommendations of things to be rectified.
If you have a building inspection carried out prior to the contract becoming unconditional then you can make an informed decision about whether you are happy to proceed with the purchase being fully aware of any structural problems the property may have.
If there are problems identified in the report you can also ask your conveyancing solicitor to negotiate with the buyer to have these repaired prior to settlement, or the purchase price reduced in the amount required to rectify them. The seller doesn’t have to enter into these negotiations, but it’s always worth asking the question. If they refuse then you can always terminate the contract based on the report being unsatisfactory to you as the buyer.
The most common things a building inspection will assess are:
- The state of the property within the boundary up to 30 metres from the main building;
- The exterior condition of the roof;
- The exterior condition of the walls;
- The sub-floor space;
- The condition of the interior of the roof; and
- The condition of interior walls and floors.