A pre-buy building inspection is an unquestionable requirement when you're purchasing a property. It can help reveal critical issues which enable you to negotiate a price that mirrors the property's condition or, subject to the terms of any agreement in place, exit the agreement altogether. The cost of a building inspection for a standard four-bedroom house in a local region is around $400-$500, with costs for comparable homes in urban territories at around $800+.
A pre-purchase building inspection is a must when you’re buying a property. It can help uncover significant defects and so help you negotiate a price that reflects the property’s condition or, subject to the terms of any contract in place, walk away from the purchase altogether. The price of a building inspection for a typical four-bedroom house in a regional area is around $400-$500, with prices for similar homes in urban areas at around $800+.
Prices will vary depending on the type, age, size and location of the property as well as the scope of the report. Bear in mind that the cheapest deal may not be the best value – a more expensive, but more thorough inspection could save you a great deal of money in the long term.
A building inspection is the best way to help ensure you don’t unwittingly buy a property with significant defects that could be difficult and/or expensive to put right. It can also help identify illegal additions to a property that may become your problem if you buy it.
Nielen Prince of Refresh Renovations South Australia says a building inspection can also help you understand whether or not your plans for a major renovation are feasible.
‘Getting a building inspection before purchase helps avoid costly errors. It will help determine the structural appropriateness of the property and whether it suits your long-term goals. If you’re thinking of extending up or out, for example, you need to know that the building’s footings are suitable.’
The NSW Government’s Fair Trading website advises a full review of the building’s interior and exterior including the roof, roof space and underfloor space. The site (e.g. garage/carport, garden shed, small retaining walls, steps, fencing, surface water drainage, storm water run-off, and paths and driveways) should also be checked.
The site recommends checking for working electrical safety switches and smoke alarms, as well as looking for signs of asbestos (particularly important for properties built before 1985).
This is good advice but, if you live outside NSW, check government resources for your own state too.
Fair Trading also advises that it’s important to appoint a qualified person such as a surveyor, architect or licensed builder to conduct the building inspection and prepare the report:
‘These professions should see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.’
Consumer Affairs Victoria recommends using an inspection service with full professional indemnity insurance that will protect you if the inspector overlooks an issue that must be fixed.
It’s usually worth including a pest inspection with your building inspection. Units and apartments on the first floor or higher are generally at lower risk of termites and other pest-related damage, but these checks are relatively inexpensive when included as part of a building inspection.
Look online, ask your real estate agent for suggestions or contact your state branch of Master Builders Australia. Check licenses and credentials as well as online reviews.
‘Make sure your building inspector is fully qualified,’ advises Cinzia Gagliardi of Refresh Renovations Illawarra. ‘We’ve seen reports that just look at the surface of the property and that’s not good enough. Your inspector should be going into the roof and under the house and taking lots of photos of the building’s structure and footings.’
Most building inspectors have a checklist of things they include. They may offer different levels of inspection at different price points, so understand what you’re getting for your money. If there’s anything else you need, ask upfront for it to be included.
Check that the inspection includes photographs, particularly of hard to access areas such as the roof exterior or property foundations.
Finally, make sure you agree the deadline for the report to be supplied to you.
Put your building inspector in touch with your real estate agent to arrange property access. Reputable inspectors will act quickly, visiting the property and delivering their report within a few days.
If you would like to discuss home renovation options for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.