Let me talk about property inspections. Usually, at the second inspection of a property of interest, I tend to get past the 3 P’s of Price, Presentation and Position. By this stage my client and I are considering ordering a pest and building inspection.
I hate to spend my client’s money unless it is absolutely necessary. A P&B inspection is usually in the range of $400-600 and for a rural property is more. Let me be honest here, I always insist my clients engage a licensed Pest and Builder inspector even though, in 99% of cases, it is a complete waste of money.
Why? Because the service agreement of a P&B contract has so many holes in it, it looks like the termites have already been through it. Also, in 99% of the cases, a reasonably intelligent person with minimum handyman skills can do their own P&B – if they know what they are looking for. I advise my clients to do it for a second opinion and to provide certainty. Spending that minimal amount of money in the larger scheme of things is worth it for the piece of mind.
On a second inspection, I usually go through this checklist myself. If a property fails too many of these points, I consider not proceeding with the negotiation – or at least ensuring the listing price has included rectifying any faults. A known tactic of some aggressive buyers is to proceed with the negotiation to offer acceptance and then use a negative P&B report to renegotiate the price. To get a better price they are relying on a vendor’s impatience to be done with the deal. This is sometimes a successful tactic but one I would not use.
Building Inspection Interior Checklist
- Look beneath the kitchen sink for damp patches or water damage.
- Inspect bathroom floor and walls for leaks, cracks, or any water damage.
- Flush toilets and inspect cistern for leaks.
- Turn on bathroom and kitchen taps to check water flow.
- Check that there is sufficient storage space.
- Check the doors are even by opening and closing them.
- Check that there are enough power points.
- Look for patches of damp on the walls and ceiling.
- Look upwards when inspecting rooms. Signs of roof leakage are apparent in ceilings and hairline cracks may appear.
- If light fittings are missing, confirm that the seller intends to replace them before the transfer of the property.
- Check that electrical appliances such as a dishwasher, air conditioner and/or heater are working and that they will remain in the property.
- Check carpets and floors for stains. If in doubt, ask for some furniture to be moved so you can inspect the carpet underneath.
- If keys are missing from doors, cupboards or windows, confirm that replacements will be provided.
- Where fixtures appear to be built in, confirm that these will remain in the house after the sale.
- Look for telephone, cable television and aerial connections to ensure they are conveniently positioned.
Building Inspection Exterior Checklist
- Check the roof for loose or broken tiles.
- Confirm that all extensions have council approval.
- Come back at a different time of day to check the traffic noise.
- Check all outside taps, irrigation systems and water tanks for cracks and leaks.
- Check garden beds are lower than the weepholes around the outside of the house.
- Check that the gutters have been cleared out and that there are no overhanging trees.
- Inspect the swimming pool for cracks and leaks, and ensure that adequate safety precautions are in place.
The above is for a building inspection only, it was provided by Newcastle Buyers Agent Alan Fox from www.propertunity.com.au. A pest inspection is a bit more complicated as you need to take into account the age and location of the structure as well as the building materials used. This will affect how the property is approached. A simple checklist however includes:
Pest Inspection Checklist
- Inspect all slabs and ensure a 150 mm of visibility between the ground and top of slab.
- Look for any visible termite trails on slabs.
- Look for any history of previous pest maintenance. This includes any holes in the ground or in slabs surrounding the property where a pest barrier has been installed. Look in the electrical meter box. The date of any previous pest management is supposed to be registered there.
- Make sure there are no wooden posts, beams or joists coming in contact with garden beds.
- Inspect outside structural timbers for any signs of pest infestation. Tap lightly on painted surfaces to make sure they are solid with no signs of infestations.
- Get under the house and inspect foundations and look for termite trails.
- Check that all brick or concrete piers are ant capped.
- Notice if any loose timbers or termite-friendly material is stored there.
- Look closely through all bathrooms and wet areas as damp timbers are more attractive to pests.
But let me state again: pest and building inspections are a highly litigious and heavily insured area of property purchasing. I recommend all buyers to get professional advice and this list is of a general nature only. A faulty Pest and Building Inspection Report can seriously afeect your property values.