When a Pest & Building report is commissioned its content will likely have an impact on the vendor as well as the purchaser. As an agent I have seen my share of sales been adversely impacted by these reports. Choosing the right person to do the inspection is important. Fair Trading NSW says “Always use a suitably qualified person (such as a licensed builder, a surveyor or an architect) to provide a professional building inspection report of the property you are thinking of buying. These professions should see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye. A professional person will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the relevant Australian Standard. Ensure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity” 1.
Lets start with the purchaser. A purchaser may decide after viewing a property that they would like to get a report commissioned. If this purchaser is a first home buyer or has no experience with these types of reports they are likely to get quite a shock by the content. The reports are designed to show the property in its worst light and not to gloss over any issues. The building inspector can later be held liable for negligence if he fails to identify issues with the property. So with this is mind I would always recommend contacting the inspector after you have read the report. They will be able to explain various issues that have come up and give some sought of indication as to the cost required to fix the issue. This type of conversation often helps put issues into perspective. In some cases a property may have problems that you may decide are greater than you would like to deal with, in this case it may be best just to walk away.
When an owner decides to sell their home I always recommend they get a pest and building report completed. This may not be so relevant for a new build where insurance and documentation is already in place but for everything in between it is recommended to get a report commissioned. It then allows the seller to fix up things that need attended to also it allows the agent to have better conversations with purchasers at appropriate times. This report can then be on sold to purchasers of the property at a reduced price. The benefits to the vendor means less inspectors coming through their home and also if a buyer happens to stumble across the property the day before the auction or at the pointy end of the negotiation an independent report can still reach their in-box within minutes of a request. If you are a vendor you do not want to loose a buyer just because a report had not been commissioned.
Pest and building reports provide great information to help make an informed decision on whether to buy or not to buy a property based on its condition. The key for purchasers is to learn how to interpret them and better understand the scope of the problems that in most cases will be uncovered as well as their limitations. Vendors have an opportunity to anticipate that purchasers will be asking for access to or be wanting to purchase a report and if they can choose a reputable company that will prepare a fair and concise report for purchasers to buy they will be a better position. In NSW a report doesn’t have to be commissioned by the vendor in most cases it just makes sense to get one produced. One last point if the agent or someone gives you a report free of charge and you are not the person who has had the report prepared for or you have not purchased the report you will not be covered for any issues that come up later and were not covered of in the report. In short if you are planning on purchasing the property make sure you pay for the report.
Finally if you are a purchaser or a vendor, don’t be afraid of these reports understand what they mean, what they cover off and don’t. Then use them to your advantage when purchasing or if you are a vendor get one commissioned to avoid the pitfalls I have talked about in this article. Please feel free to comment, share or contact me with any questions.