Why do you need a building report, and what will it tell you?
April 26, 2023

Have you found the home of your dreams? It’s easy to push forward and make an offer right away, but you should always hold off until you’ve gotten a building inspection report.

An inspection of the building is an essential part of the home buying process. To avoid problems and extra costs, it’s important to have an inspector look at the property before signing the dotted line.

An inspector is a professional builder, surveyor or architect who provides you with a standard property report. They follow specific guidelines and know precisely what to look for and how it may affect your property in the future.

Imagine you want to know whether the property could sustain a second story in the future. In that case, they may be able to tell you as well.

Having a separate pest inspection report completed will ensure there are no hidden pests under those polished floorboards.

In this article, we take a look at some of the reasons intelligent and savvy home buyers pay for a building inspection.

What are the benefits of a building inspection?

A building inspection is a visual inspection of the property to identify any defects and to get an overview of the property’s general condition at the time of the inspection.

By requesting an inspection report, you can be more confident that the property you are about to buy is safe and relatively trouble-free. This will help you decide whether to continue with the purchase.

Problems can be identified with a clear head and without emotion

When you first view a property that you love, it’s only natural to get carried away. You can get caught up thinking about which room will be the study and whether the kitchen cabinets need an update.

That is why you need the trained eye of a building inspector.

Is the paint concealing moisture or mold? Is the water flowing as it should? Is there movement in the walls causing cracks?

These are all issues that are easily overlooked by a standard walkthrough, but when you’re making the most significant investment of your life, you need to know what you’re buying.

A building inspection report may also increase your negotiating power, which is an often overlooked advantage.

Prepare for future costs

Even though not everything discovered during a building inspection will require repair, the report can highlight important issues that may need to be addressed in the future. This may affect your decision to purchase the property.

Imagine you know that you’ll need to have the entire house renovated in a few years or that the energy rating will triple your electricity bill. If so, you can plan for these costs.

You should also consider future works when determining the amount of money you need to borrow.

Increase your negotiating power

A building inspection report may increase your negotiating power, which is an often overlooked advantage.

You cannot use this at auction, but you can use it as a bargaining chip if the house is passed in or sold privately.

Understanding the house’s structural issues and producing a formal report to support it will give you the edge at the negotiating table.

In either case, an inspection report could potentially save you thousands of dollars. Having this information means you can decide whether to buy your new home, negotiate a better price, or look for something else.

How do I know what’s included in the report?

While a building inspection covers many aspects of a property, you should understand what is included in the report before paying for it.

Contact a qualified and licensed home inspector in your area to do this before initiating the report.

What are the qualifications I should look for in a building inspector?

You don’t have to be licensed, qualified or insured to call yourself a building inspector in some states. The industry is not regulated.

Before you hire a building inspector, here are some questions you should ask to make sure they are qualified:

If they answer yes to these questions, feel confident you’re getting a quality inspector.

Suitable building inspectors have a broader understanding of Australian building standards and other codes relevant to the Australian construction industry.

Using an unqualified building inspector may seem like the cheaper option, but there can be significant financial repercussions in the long run.

What will the inspector look for?

Building inspectors should check both inside and outside of the property, including:

  • the structure
  • roof space
  • drainage
  • moisture
  • dampness

Building inspectors may also check electrical amenities such as power points, lighting and appliances.

Ask what will be checked before the inspection and ensure that it covers everything you need. The building inspector should investigate anything that could be a ‘deal-breaker,’ such as structural movement, water damage, and deterioration of property elements.

How soon will you receive the report?

Depending on the company, this can vary. Some companies will email you the report within an hour of completing the inspection, while others may take up to 24 hours.

During your cooling-off period, you should receive a written statement.

Is it necessary to get a building inspection on a newly built property?

The answer is an unequivocal YES – you should get a building inspection! A newly finished property is only as good as the people who built it.

Tradespeople are under pressure to deliver on tight deadlines and are often juggling multiple jobs. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for work to be rushed.

A qualified building inspector can identify work that is poorly finished.

What are the costs of a building and pest inspection?

The building and pest inspection costs will vary depending on the size and location of the house.

A building and pest inspection can range from $200 – $1000.

In this package, you will receive two inspectors – one for the building inspection and one for the pest inspection – as well as two reports.

However, suppose you only want a building inspection plus the standard three-bedroom, metropolitan property report. In that case, the approximate price is $440.00 inc. of GST.

Note, these prices are approximate and can vary. There may be a range of prices depending on various factors, such as the number of bedrooms and stories, swimming pool, granny flat, regional location, and unit type.

Can one inspector complete the building and pest inspection?

Several inspectors offer to complete both the building and pest inspections. You should, however, ensure that they have the qualifications to do both.

They might not have the necessary capabilities to conduct both a building inspection and a pest inspection.

If this is the case, it’s wise to hire two inspectors to do them separately or hire a building inspector who can do both.