When you’re in the market for your first home, the number of questions you’re likely to have is staggering. After you’ve found a home with potential and are ready to submit an Offer and Acceptance, however, many of those questions will be related to the building inspection process. A thorough inspection is your first line of defense against inheriting costly and potentially dangerous problems which may not be immediately apparent, like significant or structural defects.
What is a Structural Defect?
Unless you’re employed within the building trades, real estate or legal professions, you may not have a clear understanding of exactly what the term “structural defect” entails. Because such faults do have the potential to dramatically affect your lifestyle and financial well-being after the purchase of an affected home, however, it’s wise to have at least a basic understanding of the phrase.
Essentially, a structural defect is any fault which can be attributed to poor workmanship, defective building materials or improper design which may prevent practical use of the building, or result in physical damage to any part of the building. This includes the threat of imminent collapse, and can be applied to any issues with load-bearing components of the structure, including beams, flooring, walls, roofs and foundations. It may also apply to faulty weatherproofing or external components of the building.
Homeowners’ Responsibility in Relation to Significant or Structural Defect
When you purchase a home, you own not only the property itself, but also responsibility for any needed repairs or lurking issues. Structural defects are among the most serious for new homeowners, as they may leave your new home unstable, or even downright dangerous. Furthermore, repairing significant or structural defects can cost thousands of dollars and cause quite a disruption to your household.
Legal protections for home buyers who choose not to invest in a professional building inspection before assuming ownership of their new home can be scanty, so you may be left with little to no recourse if you discover a structural defect or significant fault after the purchase is complete. The best and most reliable method of protecting yourself, your family and your investment is to insist upon a thorough building inspection before submitting and Offer and Acceptance form.
One of the most common mistakes potential buyers make when faced with a home inspection report which indicates a major fault is scuttling the sale completely. Such discoveries don’t have to mean a home purchase is impossible, as professional building inspectors don’t give the property in question a “pass or fail” grade, they simply report their findings. Armed with the information in your building inspection report, you may be able to negotiate a lower selling price in order to offset the cost of repairs, or make those repairs a condition of purchase as part of your Offer and Acceptance. As long as a significant fault or structural defect is detected before you assume ownership of a property as part of a pre-purchase inspection, you can protect yourself from financial hardship or substantial inconvenience.
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