Building and pest inspections are important when buying a house because faults can be difficult to detect and very expensive to repair. The person selling the home may not even be aware a defect has developed.
Building and pest inspections are often (but not always) done by the same person. Building and pest inspectors should be registered. They are paid to assess the property and report on the condition, including any defects.
A building and pest inspectors duty is to warn a consumer on all the major and minor defects and the safety hazards. Some of which may not be obvious.
The inspectors are paid to find out what’s wrong with a property, not what’s right. Any issue they raise can warn a buyer off. So you need to have some perspective on how serious the defect is – and in fact what actually constitutes a ‘defect’.
Is the defect serious? Or can it be fixed easily?
In some cases it might be something obvious, serious and expensive. Like subsidence, cracks, dry rot or termite damage. Or it may a list of issues that look bad on paper but can in fact be remedied without too much drama.
Often there is no objective measure on what constitutes an official ‘defect’. It can be subjective to a certain extent. Opinions may differ a bit. Also, building and pest inspectors will naturally try and do a thorough job by noting as many possible problems as possible. They are concerned about being sued for missing a defect, and need to protect themselves from that outcome.
Experienced buyers analyse a defect list carefully
A list of defects will scare a few buyers off quickly. Or some buyers may just use a defect report as a bargaining tool to negotiate the asking price down. Experienced buyers are likely to assess the list and work out what is serious and what is not. And if the issues are fixable, move the negotiations forward, to avoid losing the property. So a defects list can be seen as an opportunity, by an experienced buyer.
Other factors that effect how buyers will react to a building inspection report will depend on three things;
• the demand for that property;
• the personality of the buyer together with their level of determination to buy;
• and the pacifying skills of the selling agent who may offer solutions to the issues, based on experience.
It is worth noting that building and pest inspectors are paid for every inspection. They are likely to make more if their client does not buy, but moves on and then requires more inspections for the next property! Certainly it would be rare to encounter an unscrupulous inspector, but it does illustrate the point that being very particular and finding lots of defects, can pay dividends for them.
Building and pest inspections play an important role because a good report will not only spot a defect but provide a pathway for rectifying it, or a path to advice or consultants for further investigation.
An organised vendor will have the reports already done and available for viewing, to validate their Vendor’s Statement (Section 32) and support their asking price.
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