Home Improvement

Do I Need a Building or Pest Inspection Before Buying in Australia?

While not mandatory, a building and pest inspection is necessary for homebuyers.

Building inspections can reveal structural, conditional, and design flaws in a property, potentially affecting the offer to buy or causing withdrawal. Inspection findings may affect your offer to buy the house or cause you to withdraw it.

A pest inspection and a building assessment should uncover termite or woodworm damage, and it may be able to determine whether they still live there.

How to Schedule a Building Inspection 

When you request a contract of sale, the selling agent must disclose any past building inspection results on the property. You might negotiate a lower price to repurchase the report from the author. It is suggested that it be replaced as the former owner likely did it years or decades before.  

Always choose a skilled builder, surveyor, or architect with expertise in residential reports as an inspector. Tradespeople’s credentials may be checked on your state’s Fair Trading website.

Good building inspectors can identify hidden flaws and ensure the report meets regulatory requirements. Preparing inspections before contracts are signed can prevent issues. Obtaining vendor approval early in sale talks is crucial to avoid contractual complications. Inspections take one to two hours or up to a few days.

A Building and Pest Inspection Includes a House Inspection Checklist

Check all accessible areas of the property, including the roof and space between it, both inside and outside.

  • Underfloor space
  • Garage or carport
  • Exterior sheds, laundries, or toilets
  • Non-structural retaining walls
  • Roof and the area between it
  • Fence
  • Pathways between buildings and fences
  • Stormwater and surface drainage
  • Driveways

In the final report, mention any significant building faults or difficulties, such as structural issues.

  • Dampness rising
  • Rotting floors
  • Wall movement (cracks or warping)
  • Safety risks
  • A defective roof
  • Termite or pest damage (get a pest report)
  • Asbestos visible indications
  • Power points and switches that are unsafe or exposed

Your building inspector will have a checklist, but you may request items or places to be examined.

What is the Duration of a Building and Pest Inspection?

The size and complexity of your prospective house will determine how long a professional inspector will take to assess it. A complete building and pest inspection usually takes 90 minutes to 5 hours.

Cost of Construction and Pest Inspection

Before investing in a property:

  1. Ensure you’re ready to buy before spending hundreds of dollars on a building inspection.
  2. Use property viewings strategically to check easy access, minimal rust, and functional lights and switches.
  3. Create a checklist before viewing. 

 Who Pays for Building and Pest Inspections?

Buyers pay for inspections, which are not tax deductible but may be added to the cost base to minimise capital gains. Choose an inspector with building and pest check experience.

Reasons to Receive a Building Inspection Report

A building inspector must produce an Australian-standard property report detailing the property’s condition and potential issues and may suggest additional inspections by a structural engineer or power or water supply authority.

So, do you require building and pest inspections, or are they optional? Having a professional check your home before purchasing may save you thousands and be considered as insurance.

If the report’s flaws didn’t deter you from buying, you could use it to negotiate a lower price, especially if the seller is concerned about the transaction’s failure.

Engaging agencies like Ownit Conveyancing can help simplify property transfers for Australians facing building and pest inspections, as well as other complex steps.