11 May 2015
Considering a building inspection?
There are enough jokes out there about what a real estate agents description of a “fix-it upper” actually means but in a place like Adelaide, when "character" in an advertisement usually means "old", and that any home in a sought-after suburb is more than likely going to be prone to the effects the “special” crack-inducing Adelaide soil, it is no wonder that many potential buyers will seek the security of a pre-purchase building inspection.
No one expects the real estate agent to give a confident building inspection, for starters they are not in that business, their job is to sell the home and really if they did do inspections, would you as a buyer trust it anyway?
This would also go on to say, why would you ask the agent for the name of a reliable inspector; why not jump online and search building inspectors, find a specialist - a qualified builder, and preferably one who actually spends most of their time engaged in building inspections.
This could easily be done prior to you searching for a property, that way you already know what the cost of an inspection will be and you can check and alert the building inspector to any key areas you would like them to focus on, you can ensure that they can be called upon at short notice to examine properties for you and that you will feel confident that you will be receiving true objective and independent advice.
As for the inspection, it is possible to have the clause "subject to a building inspection" included as a condition of sale.
This can have consequences both ways for you and the vendor as this extra condition may be the reason the vendor discards your offer in favour of another or as a clause the wording usually is around the property being “deemed” satisfactory for its, age and location. An issue if you are purchasing an older home where time has had an effect on the property so ensure your condition stipulates "subject to a building inspection satisfactory to the purchaser", or something similar, this will ensure that you, as the buyer have the right to determine what`s "satisfactory" or not. The last thing you want is to end up in a legal wrangle over a house you no longer want, just because you didn`t carefully consider the wording of a document.
A couple of the most popular methods for conducting building inspections in South Australia is to either have the property inspected before you make the offer (or if the property is going to auction, this may be your only chance), or arrange the inspection during the legislated two-day cooling-off period, both this ways allow for the building inspection to go ahead without being a subject condition.
The important thing to bear in mind is the impact such an inspection will have on your decision to go ahead with the purchase, remember in most cases you are not buying a new property and the report will give you the information you need to make sure that there is no surprises, in essence, you are paying them to find faults, so don’t be surprised when they do, don`t expect perfection - rather, consider any potential problems found can be a negotiating chip in the purchase of the home.
In the end, if the inspection does turn up that there is too much work to be done and you are not prepared to either cover these extra costs or do the work required - walk away - that`s why you wanted the inspection in the first place.