So, you’re thinking about buying a property, but you’re not sure whether it’s worth buying at all. Well, booking a building inspection will help shine a light on the property’s shortcomings — saving you thousands of dollars, whilst giving you peace of mind.
But let’s be honest: A pre-purchase inspection is a mind-numbing aspect of buying a property, and many would-be homebuyers would rather skip it. However, think of it as a real-estate equivalent to a test drive — because it is.
Forgoing an inspection, therefore, in the name of saving a few hundred dollars, can be costly and bring about unwanted surprises in the future.
But you may be wondering: How does a building inspection work? What happens during an inspection?
Before we go there:
When Does an Inspection Happen During a Property Sale?
A building inspection can happen in two ways: when you’re buying a property (buyer’s inspection) or selling a property (seller’s inspection). The former occurs when you, as the buyer, make an offer on the property or before you close a sale, subject to a builder’s report.
A seller’s inspection, on the other hand, occurs before your building is listed for sale. A seller can opt to have their building inspected as they prepare to put it on sale. That gives them more time to repair any structural defects on the property in advance – hastening the closing process immensely.
What if specific issues come up after a pre-purchase house inspection? Can I (the buyer) renegotiate the offer or request for structural repairs? Of course, you can.
What Happens During a Property Inspection?
A pre-purchase building inspection can take a few hours depending on the size of your property. But a building report can take at least four days to complete — and for a good reason.
A building inspector takes hours on end to access all the interior and exterior of your property and, while at it, records any structural defects and hazardous issues that surround the entire property — or anything that might pose a danger to the occupants of the building once they move in.
Put simply; a building inspector looks out for safety issues in the property.
Want to ask the inspector a few questions? Go ahead! Inspectors will always answer your questions. So, it’s best, as the buyer, to be present during a building inspection to help you see first-hand where the building’s problems are.
It also helps to be present as a property seller to know what building inspectors look at, and when it’s time to find an expert repair service to fix any structural defects in your property.
Remember, inspectors have a long and thorough house inspection checklist of things to look for in a property. And they often concentrate first on the health and safety concerns, and then major property defects come second in their list.
Here’s what a building inspector looks for in a property:
- Water damage
- Structural defects and other problematic issues
- An old and damaged roof
- Damaged electrical and alarm systems
- Plumbing problems
- Insects and pest infestation
- HVAC system failure issues
Side note: Home inspectors don’t create building reports based on cosmetic issues unless they pose a danger to your safety in the long run. For example, they won’t report the peeling of wallpaper, but they’ll report water stains on the wall.
How to Prepare For a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection
An inspector looks at literally everything (wrong) in a property. Often, they go through a detailed property inspection checklist. So make sure to prepare for the inspection well to avoid tainting the building inspection report.
When your building is on the hot seat of the property inspection, what do you do?
No building is perfect — always remember that. Even a reasonably clean house inspection Auckland report will test your nerves and patience. It might even sting a bit. But don’t worry.
Here are things to quickly double-check before a building inspector walks in:
- Keep Receipts
Ever had routine maintenance checks done in your property before? You know, water heater repairs, HVAC filters changed, furnace repairs, chimney sweeps, etc. If so, did you keep the receipts? You better have receipts to show the inspector and the buyer. And make sure to keep the receipts organized and ready for their easy perusal.
- Clear out the clutter
Check all the crawl spaces, including the garage, attic, and basement for clutter. Remember, building inspectors will crawl in there at some point.
So you don’t want them to find clutter while checking for damages and moisture levels. Unless, of course, you want them to mark the spaces “can’t be inspected,” – which will prolong the inspection process eventually.
- Create access
Make sure the inspector has uninterrupted access to your entire property, including the water heater systems, furnace, electrical panels, etc.
- Lock up the pets
Make sure to lock up your pets before the inspector walks in for his or her safety. You don’t want to scare the building inspector away now, do you?
- Ensure the light bulbs are working
Bulbs that fail to light up can indicate that your property’s electrical system isn’t correctly working. Of course, this can taint the overall inspection report.
- Run water
Before the inspection. Make sure to run water in every bath and sink to check for minor clogs, which might give the inspector the opinion your plumbing system isn’t working properly — only to have them enter the issue in the report.
- Replace the HVAC filters
Dirty air filters are a big red flag, as it means the air quality in the entire building is compromised. You can bet your bottom dollar the inspector would hesitate to enter “replace filters” as an issue in the building report.
- Address any bug issues
If you have a bug, borer infestation in your property, it’s time to address this issue by spraying or seeking the professional services of an exterminator. If an inspector spots any sign of borer damage then expect them to indicate you have an infestation in the building report.
- Trim the trees
Low-hanging tree branches raise the possibility of roof damage. Trees hanging too close to the roof or branches touching the roof means the roof can be a point of access for rodents. Be aware rodents can potentially access chimneys and other openings. You don’t want an inspector to include this as a potential risk to your property, so trim the trees.
Final Thoughts On Pre-Purchase Building Inspections
It’s easy to see why property inspections are often looked upon by many home buyers as well as sellers. It’s a time-consuming, nerve-racking process — and it gets even worse when it’s your property in the hot seat.
But the good news is: no building is perfect. So, no need to worry, especially if you’re a seller that has taken all the necessary steps, as highlighted in the post, to ready yourself and your building.
There’s a lot that happens in a pre-purchase building inspection, which takes considerable time. But make sure you’re not only present during the inspection, but also understand what inspectors look for in a property.
Lastly, don’t forget to prepare for an inspection to avoid unnecessary adverse reports.