Property inspections

Pre–purchase property inspection reports

Knowing as much as you can about the condition of the property before you buy will help you avoid problems and extra costs down the track. The best way of doing this is to get a pre–purchase property inspection report – commonly known as a building inspection.

What is a pre–purchase property inspection report?

It’s one of the different types of building inspection reports you can get done. As the name says, this building inspection report is the one you get before you buy a property. Sometimes referred to as a ‘standard property report’, a pre–purchase property inspection report is a written account of the condition of a property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof to name a few. It is usually carried out before you exchange sale contracts so you can identify any problems with the property which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair. Throughout this web page we will refer to the report as a ‘building inspection report’.

Note: A building inspection report is different to a ‘pest inspection report’. While a building inspection report should identify any visual damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually won't include the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests. It can be advisable to get a separate pest inspection report done before you buy a property.

Why do I need one?

There are three good reasons why you should get a building inspection report done before you buy a property:

  1. so you will know in advance what the problems are
  2. so you can use the information to try and negotiate a lower price for the property i.e. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems
  3. so you can get specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time.

Of course, the building inspection report will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property.

Inspections done during the cooling–off period

When you buy a property in NSW there is a 5 business day cooling–off period after you exchange contracts. During this period, you have the option to get out of the contract as long as you give written notice. The cooling–off period starts as soon as you exchange and ends at 5 pm on the fifth business day.

A cooling–off period does not apply if you buy a property at auction or exchange contracts on the same day as the auction after it is passed in.

If you want to get a building inspection done during the cooling–off period, make sure you give the consultant as much notice as possible. They will have to do the inspection, prepare the report and still give you time to make a decision. If you decide not to buy the property you will also need time to get a letter to the vendor or their agent, saying that you are withdrawing from the contract.

Pest inspection reports

While the building inspection report should identify any visual damage caused by termite activity, it won’t include the detection of whether termites and other timber destroying pests still exist.

You should consider getting a pest inspection done as well as the building inspection, especially if the property is located in an area where termites are known to be a problem.