What does a pre-purchase building inspection mean and why is it so important?

Houses cost a lot of money so you want to be sure you are investing your hard-earned dollars into a home that is going to stand the test of time. While a property may appear to look in good condition to an untrained eye, it may be hiding costly damage. Here’s what you need to know about pre-purchase building inspections and why they are so important.

What is a pre-purchase building inspection?

A pre-purchase building inspection is conducted by a building inspector that is trained to detect imperfections within the home both internally and externally. Defects can range from small cracks to significant structural damage and everything in between. They will write up an unbiased, detailed report on damages they have found and the repairs that are needed to bring the property up to standard. From the details provided by the inspector, you can make an informed decision on whether the home is a sound purchase or not. You can use this information to your advantage, if money needs to be spent on the house you can negotiate a lower asking price. It’s a good idea to include a pest inspection at the same time as your building inspection to ensure there isn’t active termites or damage.

Are our pre-purchase building inspections expensive?

Pre-purchase building inspections vary in price depending on the size of the home and company doing it. For an apartment or unit less than 100 sqm in Queensland, the starting price is around $300. Generally, the bigger the property the more expensive the inspection will be. While it may be an initial outlay, it’s worthwhile as it could save you potentially thousands of dollars in repairs.

What is a building inspector looking for?

The objective of a pre-purchase building inspection is to investigate major structural issues rather than minor flaws. Here are some areas that you can expect to be inspected during the inspection.

Structural issues

Structural issues are one of the most expensive things to replace or repair and if the home you buy has major structural problems, you may have to fork out thousands of dollars to fix it. Getting a pre-building inspection means that the building inspector will visually assess the structure of the building to identify any areas that do not meet the current Building Codes and Standards or Australia.

Other potential issues

A building inspector will be able to point out areas of the home where the safety isn’t up to par, some of these include:

  1. Renovations or extensions that haven’t been approved by council or are deemed unsafe. If they weren’t authorised to build, you will foot the bill to remove them if necessary.
  2. Cosmetic repairs that have been done in an attempt to cover up significant faults, a skilled inspector will be able to pick these up.
  3. Uneven, bouncy, or sloping flooring can be the result of stump issues.
  4. Moisture problems have a few give away signs such as lifting tiles, soft walls, peeling paint, mould, and/or puddles of water. If moisture is behind the walls and it has been left untreated for some time, this not only compromises the structural integrity of the home, but it can be hazardous to your health if mould is present.
  5. Cracks can be a sign of major structural failure or they may simply be cosmetic. A qualified building inspector will determine the severity. The longer structural cracks are left without repair the more damage they will cause and the more money they will cost to repair. In extreme cases, areas of the house may need to be demolished and rebuilt which is excessively costly.
  6. Hollow sounding timber, cracked paint, power issues, doors and windows that are sticking, are all signs of termite activity. If the home has termites or has had termites in the past, the cost to repair the damage can be extensive.

Smoke alarms

Its law in Queensland that all homes are fitted with adequate smoke alarms. They must be compliant and meet current building standards and legislations. Most fire-related deaths occur when people don’t have smoke alarms fitted in their home. Skipping a building inspection could see you without smoke alarms or ones that aren’t working which is putting your families safety at risk.

Inspection of other structures

It’s not only the house that will be inspected when you hire a building inspector to conduct a pre-purchase inspection but also any other structures on site such as sheds, granny flats, playgrounds, or verandas. As mentioned earlier if the current owner has not got approval from council to erect one of these structures you may have to dismantle it, which can be frustrating especially if having it in the backyard was a selling point for you.

How long does a building inspection take?

A pre-purchase building inspection can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete with bigger homes generally taking longer than smaller ones. The building inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home and compile a list of their findings. You will usually get the report back in a matter of a few days or less. If there are extensive structural issues within the home, it’s a good idea to seek advice from an engineer or you may decide that the home is not worth your time and money.

If you’re looking for the Gold Coast’s most trusted and experienced building inspectors, Premier Building and Pest Reports can help. Contact us today!