Open For Pest Inspection
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Published by TOP4 Team
You may have fallen in love with a property, but don’t even think about buying it without full pest and building reports.
Some years ago I was in the last throes of buying a house and told the agent I would organise a pest inspection. He told me it wouldn’t be necessary because he already had a ‘clear’ pest report on the property. I got my own inspector anyway, and after several hours we only had the roof timbers to go. They turned out to be riddled with termite damage, and the only way termites get to the roof is up through the walls.
The lesson here is that a ‘clear’ pest certificate tells you only there is no live or ‘active’ infestation. It does not mean that termites have never been present and never had a good feed. But there’s more… Later I discovered that the agent had previously arranged several termite-damaged walls to be repaired. That was how he had come by his ‘clear’ pest report. I did not buy the property and the people who did eventually spent $250,000 in repairs and renovations.
A pest and building inspection is a must when you buy an older property and is even more important for a new one. Modern apartment blocks and project homes are more likely than not to have problems, sometimes serious ones like faulty waterproofing and inadequate fire isolation, which can cost millions to fix. Think hard before you buy a place off the plan; you can’t see what you’re buying.
A combined pest and building pre-purchase report costs about $475-$500 and it can give you a great bargaining tool. If the report suggests that vital repairs will $50,000, then demand at least that amount off the purchase price.
A pre-purchase inspection can cost more for an apartment than a house. Prospective apartment purchasers should also get a strata inspection report, an examination of the strata records to check for prior building defects and complaints, and to determine whether there is enough money in the sinking and administrative funds. You can carry out this inspection yourself at the strata manager’s office for a small fee, or have a professional company do it for under $300.
Even professional building inspectors can miss major defects in buildings and there have been cases of buyers suing inspectors for negligence. Choose a licensed inspection company and make sure they have professional indemnity insurance. Never accept a verbal or partly verbal report: it is worthless unless it is in writing.