Pre-purchase inspections - Why are they so important?

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Buying a home is a significant investment. When you’ve just found your dream home, the last thing anyone wants to think about is whether there are any defects or faults that exist. However, thinking about this early will better safeguard you in making one of the biggest purchases of your life. A lot of first home buyers may cringe at the idea of paying additional costs on top of an already expensive purchase, however having a pre-purchase pest and building inspection done will provide you with peace of mind and may also save you money later down the track.


It’s important for you to know exactly what you are buying. In New South Wales, property is a “buyer beware” market. If there is a problem or defect with the property, in almost all cases, it becomes the buyer’s problem to deal with. We all know that many people are motivated by emotion when they are looking to buy a property – we imagine what life will be like in the new home and don’t necessarily think about all the things that could go wrong. So it’s in your interests to have someone not affected by the emotion of the purchase involved look at the property with a critical eye.


Building and pest inspections will offer you invaluable insight into the condition of the property. The inspector, usually a licensed builder or a licenced pest inspection, will give you a report on the condition of the property, highlighting any issues you might want to get solved. They will look for a wide range of issues, such as cracks in walls, rust, moisture, mould, plumbing and electrical issues. They will also check to see whether the buildings have any rotting timber or pest damage. Sometimes a report will identify a merely superficial issue – a sign of normal wear and tear. However, in some cases the inspector will identify an issue that is a sign of a major problem – for example a termite issue that requires significant structural repairs or a moisture damage that will involve fixing the damage, diagnosing the source of the moisture and plumbing work to fix the source.

Whether it is a a minor issue or a major structural issue, knowing about the problem may give you leverage to negotiate with the vendor. For example, you can sometimes negotiate with the vendor to have the issues fixed or lower the price. Sometimes knowing about the issue might mean you decide not to proceed. Either way, you are in a position to make informed decisions.


We recommend ordering a building and pest inspection as soon as your offer has been accepted. This allows you to be ahead of the game in the negotiation phase of the purchase. If you are unable to book an inspection in early, you can request a pest and building inspection condition to be included in the contract. A clause like this means you can arrange the inspections after you have entered the contract. If the inspections aren’t satisfactory, you are able to pull out of the purchase. Not every vendor will agree to this type of clause – it often depends if it is a buyer’s or a seller’s market.


We can help you to engage an experienced inspector. But you should always review the reports carefully yourself. We don’t typically check or comment on the reports – solicitors are qualified to do law but generally have no qualification to give advice about these reports. What we will do is help you to negotiate on the price or to have the issues rectified.


Building and pest inspections are not compulsory, but we highly recommend you take these steps. They don’t guarantee a perfect property, but they do provide you with enough information about potential issues prior to investing time, energy and money into a property.  If you are in the market to purchase a property and would like to chat further about this, please contact us. We’re always happy to have a chat with you about an upcoming purchase and you can do to make sure you don’t get stung.