Having a pre-purchase building inspection is generally a very good idea when considering buying a property. A pre-purchase building inspection, conducted by an independent, experienced and Victorian Building Authority-licensed builder – Domestic Builder Unlimited (DBU), completed in accordance with Australian Standard 4349.1, is a crucial step in the property buying process. Here are some reasons why it’s highly recommended:
1. Identifying Structural Issues: Building inspections can uncover any structural problems with the property, such as foundation and drainage issues, roof damage, structural cracks, and failing balconies. These issues can be expensive to repair and may affect your decision to purchase.
2. Detecting Safety Concerns: Building inspections also help identify safety hazards, including electrical, plumbing, or gas problems. Ensuring the property is safe for occupancy is essential. We’re regularly surprised to find properties with no smoke detectors or inoperable detectors. At some properties, we have recommended demolition of dangerous structures such as a garage, carport, pergola, sheds or even parts of a house.
3. Evaluating the Extent of Repairs: For any issues found during the inspection, such as cracks, water leaks, and failing roof covering, you will gain a better understanding of the extent of repairs needed and the associated costs. This information can be used for negotiation with the seller.
4. Budgeting for Maintenance: A building inspection report can provide you with insights into the property’s maintenance requirements in the short and long term. This will help you assess your budget for ongoing upkeep.
5. Peace of Mind: Knowing the condition of the property in detail provides peace of mind so you can make an informed decision when purchasing. It also helps avoid unexpected surprises after you move in.
6. Negotiation Tool: Whenever significant issues are discovered, you may use the inspection report to negotiate the property purchase price or request that the seller make necessary repairs before the sale is finalized.
7. Compliance and Permits: The inspection can reveal whether any renovations or additions to the property are compliant with building codes.
8. Insurance Considerations: Some insurance companies may require a building inspection report before providing coverage for certain types of properties, especially older homes.
When arranging a pre-purchase building inspection, make sure to:
· Hire a qualified, licensed building inspector with a good reputation. A VBA-registered builder is the most certain standard of qualifications and knowledge. Other companies do not guarantee a registered builder (DBU). You might get someone who has only done a company-paid in-house training course of a few days. They are “licensed” by that company but are not licensed Builders and do not have the industry registration of DBU from the Victorian Building Authority.
· Review the inspection report carefully and seek clarification on any points you perhaps do not understand.
· Consider the findings in the context of your budget and your willingness to take on repair or maintenance responsibilities.
Remember that no property is perfect and minor issues found during an inspection are common. What’s important is to uncover any major or costly problems that might affect your decision to proceed with the purchase. Or if you proceed with the purchase, at least, you are informed and prepared for the necessary repairs and maintenance works. A pre-purchase building inspection is an investment in making an informed and confident real estate decision.
What else to consider when buying a property?
Whilst the building inspection report arms you with the critical information you need to know if the property is sound or has any current or potential problems, there are many other important factors to consider when buying a property. Purchasing a property is a significant financial and life decision, and careful consideration of various aspects is essential to ensure you make a sound investment and choose a home that aligns with your needs and goals. Here’s a comprehensive list of factors to consider:
1. Location: Choose a location that meets your lifestyle, commuting needs, and proximity to amenities, schools, and workplaces.
2. Property Type: Decide whether you want a house, apartment, townhouse, or another type of property that suits your preferences and life stage needs.
3. Size and Layout: Consider the size of the property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the layout to ensure it fits your family and lifestyle.
4. Condition: Evaluate the condition of the property, including any necessary repairs or renovations.
5. Building Inspection: Conduct a pre-purchase building inspection to uncover any structural or safety issues.
6. Property History: Research the property’s history, including previous sales, any legal disputes, or zoning changes that might affect its value.
7. Safe Neighbourhoods: Investigate local safety, crime rates, and overall community vibe.
8. Schools: If you have or plan to have children, check out the local schools catchment area and the quality of schools.
9. Transportation: Assess the accessibility of public transportation and road networks.
10. Future Developments: Research any planned developments or infrastructure projects that might impact the area.
11. Amenities: Evaluate the proximity to shopping centres, parks, hospitals, and other essential amenities.
12. Property Taxes: Understand property tax rates and how they may affect your ongoing expenses.
13. Resale Value: Consider the potential for the property’s resale value in the future.
14. Body Corporate: If there is a body corporate/strata, check their rules, fees, and any restrictions imposed by Consumer Affairs Victoria.
15. Insurance Costs: Get quotes for home insurance to understand the ongoing expenses associated with the property.
16. Market Conditions: Be aware of the current real estate market conditions and trends in your chosen area.
17. Interest Rates: Consider prevailing interest rates and mortgage options to secure the best financing.
18. Financial Pre-Approval: Obtain a mortgage pre-approval to strengthen your offer’s credibility.
19. Budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on a property, considering your income, savings, and potential mortgage options.
20. Legal Considerations: Consult with a solicitor or conveyancer to handle legal aspects of the transaction.
21. Hidden Costs: Account for additional costs, including stamp duty, conveyancing fees, pre-purchase inspection and furniture moving expenses.
22. Future Plans: Think about your long-term plans and whether the property aligns with your future goals.
23. Negotiation Strategy: Develop a negotiation strategy, including your initial offer and any contingencies.
24. Property Inspection Clause: Include a pre-purchase inspection option in your offer, so as to protect yourself against major issues.
25. Balance of Considerations: Balance logic with emotional and lifestyle factors when making a decision.
26. Future Growth Potential: Assess the property’s potential for future value appreciation.
27. Environmental Factors: Consider environmental issues such as flood zones, bushfire risks, or other natural hazards.
28. Sustainability: Evaluate the property’s energy efficiency and sustainability features.
29. Local Regulations: Familiarise yourself with local zoning regulations and land use policies.
30. Government Planning: check out local council plans for the area, both current and longer term.
Buying a property is a complex process, and it’s essential to take your time, conduct thorough research, and seek guidance from professionals, such as your legal advisors, real estate agents, and a Houspect Victoria Inspector familiar with building qualifications and knowledge, in order to make an informed decision. Each factor listed above may have different levels of importance depending on your unique circumstances and priorities, so prioritise what matters most to you in your property search.