Why Do You Need a Building Inspection
You are buying a home and attend the open for inspections and you are doing the right thing by having a good look around, BUT are you equipped, experienced or qualified to find defects and do you inspect under the home or in the roof where most nasty problems are encountered.
Some buyers may see a crack in a lath wall and think the house is falling down but in reality it may be just some minor settlement that most homes will experience.
That's the benefit of engaging a qualified and experienced building inspector - he is equipped to thouroughly inspect the home, he goes under the house and into the roof cavity, he knows where to look for problems, identify defects and likely cause of that defect.
Peter Alexander from Safehome Inspections in Melbourne says "People buying a home need to engage an experienced and qualfied building inspector because he will be able to explain the cause of the defect and rectification methods."
Peter advises to try not to use a friend who is a builder or carpenter, saying, "They may be great builders or carpenters but they turn up during an open for inspection which goes for about 15 minutes and from what we have seen, they don't have a torch, they dont have a ladder and they don't carry out a thorough termite inspection using equipment to find them, not mention they are probably not that interested as they are doing it for nothing". Peter says, "There is no way you can do a thorough building inspection in 15 minutes, you need at least 2 hrs set aside"
Building inspectors use moisture meters for rising damp, thermal cameras for inspecting for damp and termites and even the advanced termatrac radar that can detect termites moving in a wall cavity. "We get under the house and in the roof where you would be surprised by what we find, typically, because rarely does anyone go under a house or hop into the roof."
You may be lucky and purchase a home without any major defects or termite infestation but is the risk worth the cost of rectifying defects or damage if you were unlucky.
A building inspection in Victoria is (or should be) to Austraian Standards 4349.1 and building inspectors need to report on structural defects, major defects, minor defects and saftey hazrads. Termite inspections should be to Australian Standards 4349.3 which should detail termite infestation, termite damge, past termite damage, conducive areas that will attract termites and then give recommendations as what you need to do to keep them away.
CSIRO studies reveal that 1 in 4 homes in Victoria are or have been infested with termites - that is good enough reason to have a termite inspection carried out in Safehome's opinion.
From a building inspection perspective, since 2004, Safehome Inspections have found that 80% of homes we inspect have one or more major defects (defects that require rectification to prevent further deterioration of the dwelling or a componenent). 95% will have minor maintenance defects and 25% have a structural defect.
To put it into perspective, people will spend $250 on a roadworthy on a $10,000 car, but are reluctant to spend about $550.00 for a building and pest inspection on something worth $500,000 - go figure - especially when we have come accross a termite rectification cost of at least $80,000 at one house this year.
If you saw the things Safehome Inspections observes on a daily basis we would be certain you would obtain a building inspection and a timber pest inspection on the home you were buying - at least you will know what is wrong and then can make an informed decision on whether or not you wish to proceed.