How A Property Inspection Can Save You Money. It is tempting to perceive property inspections as an unnecessary task, prolonging the property investment buying process and another expense out of your pocket.
Getting a pre-purchase property inspection completed however, can actually save you thousands of dollars in future expenses and help you during the negotiating process.
By investing in a professionally carried out property inspection, you avoid the possibility of expensive financial outlays due to repairs and structural damage, and also the risk of putting yourself and others in danger.
What a property inspection involves
You should personally inspect each property that you are interested in buying, and consider taking someone else with you to gain another perspective.
As well as a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior of the property, consider the following checks:
- Windows and doors open and shut easily.
- Look for danger signs of sagging ceilings or bucking walls.
- Signs of damp or mold on walls or under carpets.
- Check under sinks for signs of rust on the pipes.
- Check hot water system for its size and age.
- Look at the roof for its general state, and also the condition of the gutters.
- Take note of noise levels when in different parts of the property.
- Check exterior walls for signs of cracks.
A pre-purchase property inspection is carried out by a qualified, professional inspector who provides information on the property’s current condition. It enables you to make informed decisions about the property and be aware of any significant problems.
The format and detail contained in the report will depend on:
- Type, age and size of the property
- Property condition
- The reporting process used by the organisation preparing the report.
These factors will also influence the cost of the report.
You should always ensure that the inspection report you receive complies with Australian Standards.
The person carrying out the inspection should inspect all accessible areas of the property, and the report should contain information on:
- Interior of the building
- Exterior of the building
- Roof space
- Under-floor space
- Roof exterior
- Garage, carport and garden shed
- Separate laundry or toilet
- Small retaining walls (non-structural)
- Surface water drainage
- Stormwater run-off
- Paths and driveways.
The property inspection report summary
The summary is possibly the most important part of the report.
It should give you an overview of the major faults found in the property and its overall condition considering its age and type. Photographs may be included depending on the company you use.
Remember that the report you receive is based on a visible inspection of the property, and may not identify any structural defects or other hidden issues.
If you have further concerns about the property, consider having it checked by another suitably qualified specialist e.g. structural engineer or surveyor.
It is also important to note that the pre-purchase property inspection is not the same as a pest inspection. Whilst the report should pick up any visible signs of damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually will not necessarily detect the presence of these pesky critters.
It can be advisable to get a separate pest inspection carried out by a qualified professional.
What the property inspection report will not generally cover
- Termite inspection
- Minor defects
- Swimming pools
- Paint coatings
- Electrical wiring
- Alarm systems
- An estimate of the repair costs
- Any areas outside of the inspector’s expertise
However you can make specific requests to your property inspector if there are particular items that you want included.
How a property inspection can save you money
- Ability to negotiate purchase price
When you invest in a property inspection, you gain knowledge and awareness of the property’s overall condition, including areas of the property that may need improvements and repairs.
You can use this information as a tool to negotiate an appropriate, discount purchase price based on existing property damages and repairs that need to be carried out.
The seller could potentially be more likely to reduce the price, or in some cases, even pay for necessary repairs.
*Tip: When you receive the property inspection, call the inspector immediately.
By doing so, you will receive insight into the property’s status since it will be fresh on the inspector’s mind.
You can then read through the full property inspection report and digest all the details.
- Identify foreseeable, costly repairs
As mentioned above, a pre-purchase property inspection lets you know of any serious damages or repairs that will need to be made in the future.
These foreseeable costs include repairs such as:
- Leaky ceiling
- In-wall dampness
- Rotting floorboards
- Pest infestations
Early access to such information lets you budget with a more reasonable estimate of potential expenses which could affect your cash flow.
- Avoid safety hazards and medical bills
A property inspection shines light on unsafe areas in a home, such as presence of asbestos, mold, or any other harmful materials, which could lead to extra expenses in repairs and possible medical bills – which can easily be avoided.
Knowing about these safety hazards, especially before purchase, allows you to decide whether or not you’re willing to pay the necessary costs to keep the property safe – saving you money in the long-run.
- Awareness of insurance coverage
Not all home insurance companies will cover a property due to certain conditions, which is why it’s important to be aware of the property’s condition beforehand.
Choosing the right person to inspect the property
Always use a suitably qualified person to carry out the pre-purchase property inspection.
Many property inspectors will require 2 to 3 days’ notice in order to carry out the property inspection, so make sure you give them enough time to get the report completed.
If you are interested in a property, get the vendor’s permission to have the property inspected as early in the sale negotiations as possible, so you can leverage the information in the property inspection report to your benefit if possible.
When investing in property, you can get peace of mind and knowledge by getting a building and pest inspection report carried out.
By Fallon Stovall