Why should you get an inspection?

When purchasing an existing property it is important to understand that you are buying the property in an as-is condition. What this means is that the condition of the property at the time of the inspection is what you are purchasing. In essence it is no different to a second hand car purchase. You would expect that, for a second hand vehicle, the condition of the tyres, seating, paintwork etc, may not be to the same standard as a new car. This is the same for an existing property.

Often buyers do not understand this and have unrealistic expectations of what the vendor is required to fix and upgrade as part of the sale process.

This is why it is recommended that for all purchases of existing property, the purchase be made subject to a building and timber pest inspection. Without a thorough inspection, it is not possible for you to fully understand the condition of the property, whether there are any defects or structural issues, and what maintenance items you should be aware of which may need attention.

While these may not be issues that the vendor necessarily has to rectify, it is still important that you are aware of the full range of information relating to the property.

In most instances when purchasing a home, the time spent inspecting the home during the open home or the initial viewing of the home is around 10 to 15 minutes.

We look at the property from the road, then casually wander through the home and the yard assessing if we like the home and are interested in making an offer. In most cases purchasing a property, particularly one we intend to live in, is an emotive process. It is based on this limited viewing of the property that we make a decision to buy.

In many cases today, homes are being bought sight - unseen.

With the advent of the internet, investors and international buyers are purchasing property without actually stepping inside the property. Having an independent, professional third party be your eyes and fully assess the property is essential. When a thorough inspection is carried out on a property, depending on the level and type of inspection, it can take an average of 1 to 1.5 hours. This is a reasonable amount of time to assess the property condition and do a non-emotive discovery process for any issues which may exist. It should also involve accessing parts of the property that you would not, or have not, had the chance to view. This includes the roof covering (roof tiles etc), the internal roof space and, if present, any sub-floor areas.

It is essential to have the areas that you cannot see inspected. An example of an issue with the internal roof space which could otherwise be missed is air-conditioning duct work which has opened up or separated. This will have an ongoing impact on the performance of the air conditioning unit undetected. Not all inspections will do this. It is essential that you confirm they will also inspect these parts of the property as a minimum.

Due to our emotional involvement in the purchase, minimal time to view the property and inability to fully access all components of the property, it makes sense to get a comprehensive inspection undertaken. It is also essential that you protect your position by making the purchase of the property subject to these inspections.

For more information about pre-purchase property inspections, please contact the expert contributor.

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