Is a pre-purchase inspection really worth it?

In the rush to secure the home they have fallen in love with, many people are tempted to skip the pre-purchase inspections because they’re not sure if it is worth it.

Buying a property is probably one of the most important things you will do.

Some of us buy property only once or twice in our lifetimes. Some make a habit of doing it more often but no matter how many times you buy a home, it is likely to be the most important and valuable asset you will ever own.

To make sure you are truly getting what you pay for, a pre-purchase inspection is essential and definitely worth every cent you spend.

Take a look at why this is the case:

When you are planning to buy a property in NSW, it is up to you as the buyer to confirm the status and conditions of the property you’re looking at. As soon as the agent says ‘Sold!’, you are taking on responsibility for the property in its current conditions, subject to all the faults and defects… and there could be several hiding behind the pretty facade and fancy looking kitchen cabinets.

Because a home is such a valuable asset, it is very important that you know exactly what you are buying. This is why a pre-purchase inspection is worth it.

Think about buying a car. If you walked into a dealership, you wouldn’t just head to the counter and buy a car. Most of us would arrange at least one test drive to check and see how the car feels, how it drives and to see if you’re happy with it. You may also ask if you can invite a mechanic to look it over, particularly if it is a used vehicle.

The same should take place ahead of a property purchase, so you can check what condition the property is in and look ‘under the hood’.

Which pre-purchase inspections are worth it

If you’re buying a freestanding house, I strongly recommend you get a pest and building inspection of the property, prepared by someone who specialises in this area.

Pest and building inspection reports will provide you with information about the property that goes far beyond looks.
For example, if the place desperately needs repairs, an inspection will reveal where and how bad the damage is. Your inspector will also check to see if there have been any renovations or extensions done on the property and whether these comply with a building code.

Some inspectors may also provide photos of the defects/issues that they have identified and possibly even provide an estimate of how much it may cost you to repair or fix the problem. Things like plumbing, the condition of the roof and any electrical issues may be highlighted.

A pre-purchase inspection is worth it when it comes to negotiating. For example, the inspector may identify a termite problem or let you know the ceiling is about to give way in the master bedroom due to moisture. They can also indicate how much repairs will cost—something you can use as a bargaining tool.

The other benefit of a pre-purchase inspection is that it will come in handy when you determine the contract of sale. You may, for example, request the owner fix a broken gate prior to settlement as a condition of the price you’re willing to pay. Once this is in writing, the owner cannot go back on their word.

If you are buying a strata unit, organise an inspection of the strata records as well as the property itself. The strata inspection report will provide information about financial status of the complex, details of current strata levies, information about building defects or proposed future building works etc. This could reveal issues which might cost you a great deal in levies some time down the track.

When to organise a pre-purchase inspection

Now you understand that a pre-purchase inspection is worth it, when should you organise one?

Some people negotiate the price first and then if their offer is accepted they organise property inspection reports. This saves them from wasting money on the inspection report before they know that their offer has been accepted.

Some people do it the other way around, getting an inspection report and making an offer based on the findings.
There is not really a right or wrong way of doing it, however if you are going to bid at auction it makes sense to organise the inspection first as the sale to the winning bidder is final.

Another thing to note is that sometimes real estate agents will anticipate your needs and arrange to have a building and pest inspector’s report available to you during an open home. This can be helpful but be wary if the report doesn’t indicate any issues at all; every property has some quirks and you may still wish to organise an independent inspection to be on the safe side.

If you’re still not convinced that a pre-purchase inspection is worth it, consider that you’re spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on your home. It would be so disappointing to stretch your budget to the limit, move in and then realise the deck is not compliant with council regulations so it will have to be completely redone and meanwhile, a family of rats is chewing its way through your garage walls! For the cost of a few hundred dollars, you’re buying a lot of peace of mind with a pre-purchase inspection.

Need a conveyancer or advice about buying or selling a property? Contact Thorpe Conveyancing today.


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