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8 things to look for when hiring a building inspector

Are you in the market for a new home and considering hiring a building inspector to perform your pre-purchase inspection? Purchasing a home is one of the most significant financial commitments you will make in your life, so it’s important that you take the right steps towards choosing the right investment to protect yourself against any un-forseen home expenses.

Calling in an expert should be included as part of your home purchase budget, as without it you risk buying a home that may be hiding serious structural defects.

A pre-purchase property inspection is designed to make you aware of any lurking potential dangers or hidden damages the property may have. It is not uncommon for a builder or DIY renovator to cover-up damage for the purpose of a sale, so it’s important to choose an inspector who knows the tricks of the trade.

Finding a good building inspector can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for, and not all building inspectors are created equal. Here are 8 things you should consider when choosing a building inspector.

1. Are they qualified to be a building inspector?

This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but in South Australia there are no formal qualifications required to perform a building inspection. This means that anyone with a business card can call themselves a “building inspector”.

Take the time to ask your inspector about what industry experience they have and how long they have been in business. A typical building inspector is a Licensed Builder and understands the in’s and out’s of sound home construction. All licensed builders are allocated a license number and are required to provide you with this information. If you have any doubts about their credibility you can check their registration details.

Other reputable qualifications to look for in a building inspector are surveyors and architects.

2. Are they experts in the type of inspection you are looking for?

Not every type of inspection will require the same skill set. A pest inspection will require an expert in pest tracking and analysis, whereas a pre-purchase building inspector will be well versed in the building trade. Finding the right person for the right job is paramount to avoid any sudden surprises after your sign on the dotted line.

3. Are they offering a thorough inspection?

A thorough pre-purchase building inspection can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes- depending on the size of the house and the complexity of issues. As a general rule of thumb your inspector should be looking for:

  • Cracks in the wall
  • Mould and leak stains
  • Cavity dampness
  • Leaks, drainage and general plumbing issues such as water pressure
  • Working windows
  • Electrical faults
  • Rusting framework
  • Low hanging trees, tree rot, root travel
  • Structural integrity of gates and other external structure i.e. verandas
  • Signs of pest infestation*
  • Roof integrity- missing tiles, rust, holes
  • Structure of garden beds and retaining walls

This is not an exhaustive list, however it is a good start.

It’s important to also note that for an in depth analysis of what pests may be hiding in the property you will need to obtain a separate Pest Inspection.

4. Do they offer follow up support?

Be aware of inspection services that do not allow post inspection follow up or charge you extra money to go over their findings.

We carry out a post inspection debrief with you to take you through our report findings and to answer any questions you may have. This generally takes 30 minutes and is our chance to make sure you are happy and clear on everything we have discovered. It is our mission to help you make the right decision when it comes to purchasing a new home, so we are happy to go over the finer details with you.

5. Are they insured?

When choosing a building inspector you should ensure they are adequately insured. A professional service should have Professional Indemnity, to cover the advice they are offering and Public Liability, to cover any damage caused to a third party person or third party property.

We carry $2M for Professional Indemnity and $5M for Public Liability.

6. Do they allow you onsite during the inspection?

A key indicator of an inexperienced building inspector is their hesitance to allow the customer to be present during an inspection.

When we perform a home inspection we spend the first portion of the inspection alone. This allows us to methodically go through the house and focus 100% of our energy on the finer details. We invite you in during the last 15 minutes so we can address any initial concerns you may have or to clarify our findings.

7. The report.

Here at Precise Building Inspections we offer our clients a same day report with over 75 pages of information about your home. We include color photos and unbiased reporting to help you in your decision making process. We call this report “The Decision Maker” and we pride ourselves in its content.

Our report complies with the Australian Standards set out for Pre-Purchase reporting.

8. How much do they charge?

Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for?” well it certainly applies to the building inspection market. It may be tempting to hire the cheapest inspector in the market, however it’s important to consider the quality and thoroughness of the service on offer. Choosing an inspector solely based on price may lead to cutting corners and can cost you in the long run.

Our pre-purchase inspections start at $350.00 and includes the assessment of any visual defects, and covers all areas of the dwelling.

The easiest way to avoid any unwanted inspection surprises is to choose a local and well trusted building inspection service. Precise Inspections is proudly SA owned and operated and \ inspects over 600 Adelaide homes per year.

Book your inspection online today and help us choose your dream home.