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Buying a home can turn from an emotional thrill into a painful financial lesson if potential problems are not picked up early.
That’s why building inspections are a must-do step in your home-buying process.
The Queensland Government recommends arranging property inspections before you start negotiating.
The Queensland Government Guide to Property Inspections states buyers who do not arrange inspections early can still get them done before settlement day, but will need to write terms into the contract to allow for a sale cancellation if the inspection reports are poor.
The aim of a building inspection is to discover deficiencies in new or existing buildings.
Inspectors should examine all parts of a property, including the roof space and gardens where trees and shrubs may lead to problems. They will check for structural damage such as cracking, movement and dampness, and issues such as poor plumbing or corrosion.
A timber pest inspection will alert you to any evidence of pests in and around the property. It should check for termites and other wood destroying insects, plus fungal organisms that could cause timber rot.
Buyers can pay for building and pest inspections separately, but most inspection businesses offer combined building and pest inspections.
The Queensland Government says buyers should ensure that inspectors have a current licence from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.2
The Queensland Government Property Inspections guide says all swimming pools should be checked for safety by a licensed inspector. Unless a building inspector is also licensed for pools, this will have to be done separately.
Swimming pool inspections usually cost between $170 and $350, according the Queensland Government.
Pool inspections ensure the pool meets construction standards as well as safety regulations such as signage and fencing.
A buyer will not have to pay for a swimming pool inspection if the property already has a pool safety certificate. Sometimes there can be a special condition in the sale contract for the seller to provide the buyer with a pool safety certificate.
It is recommended that buyers inspect their property a couple of days before settlement to make sure it is in the same condition as when the contract was signed.
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland says people planning to bid at an auction should organise building and pest inspections before they bid.
“There is no cooling off period when you buy a residential property at auction in Queensland,” the REIQ says.
1 Queensland Government Guide to Property Inspections https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/buying-and-selling-a-property/buying-a-home/making-an-offer-on-a-home/inspections
2 Queensland Government Guide to Property Inspections
3 Real Estate Institute of Queensland research: Buying at auction http://www.reiq.com/REIQ/Research/Tips_for_Buying_at_Auction/REIQ/Research/Tips_for_Buying_at_Auction
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