Once home buyers have circled on their perfect home and had made offers, what’s the next step? A buyer should well-know that their offer is made subject to building and pest inspections.
Buying a house is a major financial commitment, so the last thing you want is to move in and then find a major problem that could be extremely costly to rectify and not have the budget to fix.
Having professionals conduct building and pest inspections for you on every property you are interested in would be costly.
One solution is to take the time do a basic pest inspection yourself. You may inspect each property using a simple building inspection checklist. You can eliminate the properties on your shortlist with the most obvious or potentially costly problems, then call in the professionals to do a full inspection of the property of your choice. (Schedule a building a pest inspection by calling (02) 8007 4666!)
Doing building checks yourself also has another advantage. Should you find flaws that you would be prepared to live with or can deal with in your budget, you are in a stronger position to negotiate the asking price downwards.
What do you need when doing a simple building and pest inspection?
- Your checklist
- Safety boots
- Sturdy gloves
- A good torch
- Flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers
- A power point tester (this can be purchased inexpensively from a hardware store)
- A ladder (if the current homeowners don’t have one, you can just borrow)
Here’s a checklist you can print out and take along with you when you go to inspect a property.
A great place to start is downstairs – with the stumps! Older homes’ inspections often throw up something called concrete cancer in their stumps and this can be apparent in anything as far back as the 1950’s style of home. Timber stumps would have either rotted out at the bottom or been munched upon by white ants. This causes the stumps to be wonky.
If one or two have deteriorated severely but the rest are solid, then possibly replacing those few could be a good idea. If the numbers are large and potentially a total re-stump is required, then you have to weigh up whether you would consider a lift and redevelopment underneath your home.
What about up on top? Is the roof old or has it been replaced? You should have concerns if the roof is in poor repair with lots of rust. This can be a large expense on top of your purchase price and so, once again, price your offer accordingly.
Gutters can be an issue. Some mild rust holes are often accepted, but this can vary on the degree of damage obviously. Check for trees that overhang as they will exacerbate any such problem.
Check out the timbers! Old fence posts, old packing pallets, cardboard boxes, and old furniture. Say for example, an old cupboard stored against a wall and sitting on the ground. If you move the cupboard, you may witness the biggest white ant party to be seen in a while! Better check the vertical timber battens around the home. Do they touch the ground anywhere? Old timber stumps used as landscaping features can be another site for the munchers to be found in.
Hot water systems. The most sought after territory for white ants is in dark, moist, and often airless spaces. So, another spot to check is where the hot water system has its overflow outlet.
Water! Check where water flows around the home. Make sure every drain or pathway directs water flow away from the house.
Another thing to check up on are the steps. How are the external stairways? Are the treads in good order? Or are there a few a little worse for wear? Are the railings firm? Safety, particularly for children, has become a major concern. If the stringers are steel, are they solid or suffering from rust and corrosion?
Take a walk around the garden. Are the trees and shrubs wild and woolly? Or could they do with a trim? Paved areas even? No spots where you would trip easily?
Check everything! Even something so minor can actually cause a contract to crash. Thus, inside, how are the door handles? Hinges? The windows? Do they open and close easily? Handles firm? Locks working? Do all of the light fittings work? The fans? The air conditioners? The smoke detectors? Does it have a safety switch installed? Are all the power points securely screwed to the walls? Are all appliances that are to be included in working order? Remote controls for garage doors in working order?
Verandahs and decking timbers. Check that there are no rotten boards and that railings are intact.
Taking the time and effort to carry out an inspection using the above comprehensive building inspection checklist is a great way to consider a property purchase in greater detail and allows you to take off the rose-coloured glasses and make a considered purchase rather than a purely emotional one.
Overall, if the problems seem overwhelming, then it could be best to move on. If you think the problems are fairly minor and you love the house and think it could be perfect for your needs, then it could be time to put in an offer in writing (citing that it is pending a full building and pest inspection by professionals). You will most likely want your own inspection because you can trust the source. Once you’re sure enough of the house, it’s easy to ask questions. Talk to a professional pest control team and get your own building inspection. Call (02) 8007 4666!