11 Oct 2017

What Does A Pre-Purchase Building Inspection Look For in Adelaide?

Picture this — you’ve just found a perfect investment property on the market. It’s almost a touch outside your price range, but everything about it is perfect. You decide to rejig your finances and take the plunge. You negotiate what you feel is the right price, you move your tenants in, and the rent starts flowing. Everything is going to plan.

But then, a couple of months after the purchase, you get a call from the tenants who have noticed some moisture build-up in the timber flooring of the master bedroom. They contact you to get it checked. It turns out that due to dilapidation in the roofing, and the terrible weather, there has been an ongoing leak of water that has compromised the structural integrity of one of the timber walls. To get it fixed, you’ll need the tenants to move out of the bedroom. Not only will you be up for repair costs, but you may also lose rent. We don’t want anyone to experience this.

Consumer Protection Law

A pre-purchase building inspection aims to avoid the unforeseen hiccups that might affect your back pocket. This is especially the case given the unregulated nature of the building industry in South Australia. Consumer protection law only covers purchases under $40,000, which means you inherit everything about the house after the sale—even the problems. The inspection will highlight the minor and major defects of the property and assess the strength of the building’s structure.

Detail Building Inspections—and its meticulous eye—will ensure that we uncover defects before you take that plunge. By understanding what problems the property might be facing—often invisible to the naked eye—you can negotiate a more suitable price, or avoid the sale altogether.

Beware the Dodgy Seller

The real estate industry is a competitive one. There is significant money to be made in the sale of houses, but in the quest for the almighty dollar comes many people who cut corners to get the best price. A home with faulty pipes might have caused damage to the bathroom. A touch-up job could include a fresh paint job, new grout and a bit of silicon. However, this doesn’t solve the issue of the pipes that are slowly leaking into the internal cavities of the home.

The industry experience of Detail Building Inspections provides our clients with a service that actively looks for this type of misleading behaviour. With an extensive background in construction, our building inspectors are well versed in what the ‘patchwork’ might indicate.

The Vacant Home

A pre-purchase building inspection is often conducted in houses that have not been lived in for months. When repair work has been completed, its aesthetic appearance might give the impression of an environment durable to a regular tenancy. But, as the saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Our building inspector will establish what the reasoning behind the repairs might be and how the condition could change with the inclusion of people living there.

By being able to differentiate between the original build and patchwork, the pre-purchase building inspection report will provide you with information that can best prepare you for a future in the property. There is also absolutely no harm in probing the vendor or the owner about what the repairs were for and why. After all, this is a huge investment for your life and you are well within your rights to act diligently.

Minor Defects

These defects could be superficial, such as the wearing of paintwork or the fading of exterior window frames. Alternatively, they could be something that requires more work in the future if left untreated. This is the type of minor defect that we pay close attention to, particularly because of how costly this might be for our clients if it goes unnoticed. For instance, a small build up of moisture in the bathroom wall might reflect a slight shower leak. This type of defect is quite common and usually no need for alarm. However, if it is not fixed, the leak is likely going to get worse, meaning more moisture. This is where the headaches can come.  Guess who likes moist timber? Termites!

If termites come along and eat away at the timber, the approach will require treating the infestation and restore the structure. This could be especially difficult and costly if a brick veneer wall surrounds the timber, making access challenging.

Major Defects

Major defects are usually small defects that have gone untreated. In the worst cases, a major defect can leave the home uninhabitable. This would usually be due to the structural integrity of the house being seriously compromised. As part of our pre-purchase building inspections, our initial approach will be to assess the level of the roofline. If there is variation on a specific side, it can often be an indication of structural damage. This could be due to general dilapidation, undersized timber, or inadequate repair work.

A roof at risk of collapse is certainly classified as a major defect. In these situations, the financial burden is important to understand—the age of the house often means that there are no options for recourse from poor tradesmanship. Importantly, major defects could have a large impact on the sale price. Having an understanding of these problems will put you in a good position to negotiate with the agent and the current owner.

Booking

After booking online, we will speak to you and the home’s agent to arrange an opportunity for the building inspection to take place. We understand that time is precious so we offer a prompt service whereby you receive the building inspection report on the same day that the inspection takes place (usually in the evening).