Buying a property may probably be the largest financial investment you will ever make, so it's vital that you know exactly what you're buying before you sign on the dotted line. That's why having a pre-purchase property inspection carried out on your potential dream home is so important. Not only can you make sure that any issues are put right before you buy, you can also use the inspector's report as tool to negotiate the price down if any major work is required.
So, what should you look out for in the pre-purchase building inspection report and what action can you take prior to commissioning one? Read on to find out more.
Your own inspection
It's a good idea to make a note of any potential problems you notice when you're looking around the property. Have at least two viewings prior to commissioning a pre-inspection report, as it can be easy to miss things in the excitement of your first walk-around.
Issues that you should make a note of include:
- cracks in walls or ceilings, particularly if the ceilings or walls are bowed
- signs of water damage, for example stained wallpaper or flaking plaster, that could point to a leaking roof or faulty plumbing
- extensive growth of mould or mildew that could indicate a deep-seated dampness problem
- missing roof tiles or flashing
- any evidence of termite activity, for example tiny holes in wooden beams or exterior fencing
The pre-purchase building inspection
Armed with your notes, you should now commission an experienced buildings inspector to carry out a pre-purchase inspection of the property for you. This inspection will take the form of a more in-depth look around the property to identify more subtle signs of potential problems that the inspector's experienced eye will detect. Based on his findings, the inspector will produce a report for you and will walk you through the findings, highlighting any areas that may need remedial work prior to purchase.
It's important not to be too disheartened if the report throws up a few flaws; very few houses are completely perfect. An experienced inspector will be able to advise you on the likely cost of any repairs, as well as highlighting more serious problems that might prove too much of an issue to put right.
In the light of the findings in the inspector's report and with the benefit of their professional advice, you can now make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the purchase. If there are any major issues, for example if a new roof is required, you can use this as a bargaining tool. The vendor may agree to have the work carried out while the price remains the same, or you may prefer to pay less and organise the project yourself.
On the other hand, if major structural damage has been caused, for example by subsidence or termite damage, you could walk away from the deal safe in the knowledge that your pre-purchase inspection has just saved you a lot of money and hassle.
Before making an offer on a property or proceeding with a purchase, always have a pre-purchase building inspection carried out. A small outlay now could save you a fortune in the long term.