Buying a new property is quite possibly the biggest monetary investment you will ever make, so it’s important to get it right. After all, you don’t want that emotional thrill to turn into a painful financial lesson! So what are the main pre-purchase inspections you need to organise?
Building and Pest Inspections
When it comes to new home inspections, a building inspection is designed to discover mainly structural deficiencies in properties. Qualified inspectors will examine all parts of the property (including the roof space) for movement, cracking and dampness and issues like corrosion and poor plumbing.
Queensland is also one of the worst states for homes affected by termites, and the consequences can unfortunately be catastrophic. Which is why it’s important that a pest inspection is also carried out including a timber inspection. This will alert your inspector to any evidence of pests in and around the property, including termites and other wood-destroying insects, as well as fungal organisms that may cause timber rot.
Buyers can pay for a building and pest inspection separately, but most businesses offer a combined service. However, it’s important to ensure your inspector has a current license from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
It’s also worth noting that if you are planning on bidding at an auction, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland recommends you organise a building and pest inspection before you bid – ideally even before you start negotiating. However, this can only be carried out with the permission of the current owners and will be at your cost.
Swimming Pool Inspections
If your prospective property has a swimming pool, the Queensland Government Property Inspections guide states that you must arrange for a licensed inspector to check that it’s safe. They will ensure that it meets construction standards as well as following safety regulations in terms of fences and signage.
In terms of pre-settlement inspections, sometimes a sale contract can be negotiated to include a pool safety certificate. If the property already has one, then you don’t need to pay for an additional one!
If you have successfully negotiated a purchase on a home, it is also recommended that you inspect the property two to three days before settlement. This will assure that it is in the same condition as when you signed the contract, and includes anything specific that has been included in the contract.
Other pre-purchase building inspections to be aware of include checking for:
Unexpectedly noisy properties are a growing issue for home buyers. Unacceptable noise levels can be a result of nearby property developments, the property being under a flight path or party-animal neighbours!
In terms of the last two, spend some time familiarising yourself with the area and have an open and honest conversation with the property manager to discuss any noise issues. In terms of new property developments, check for any planning zoning updates in the suburb on your local council’s website.
After the devastating floods of 2011, the level of awareness around flooding is now significantly higher. The tools for predicting which areas could be affected again are also becoming more sophisticated. And while flooding in Brisbane is meant to occur every 30 years, many prospective buyers are still nervous about considering a property purchase in a flood-print area.
However, it is worth noting that the 2011 floods were caused by a unique combination of events – extensive rain and the too-quick releasing of water from Wivanhoe Dam. This caused the Brisbane River to rise by up to 10 metres - hopefully something that won’t happen again!
If you are considering buying a property in a flood-prone area, you should ensure this is factored into the building inspection. Once-wet wall cavities can be problematic years after the flooding, causing structural damage and unhealthy mould build-up.
Need some advice on what building inspections should be undertaken before buying? Get in touch with our Body Corporate Management services!