Real Estate Resources

Buying a home isn’t a small decision, especially when it involves a great financial commitment. Therefore it is imperative for one to consider getting an inspector to carry out a “Pre-purchase Building Inspections Report” prior to committing to buying a property, as many problems may be exposed during a building inspection with possible defects only a trained specialist could detect.

For peace of mind and to ensure the home you are purchasing is structurally sound it is advisable to hire a licensed inspector for a Pre Purchase Inspection.
Your inspector will visually inspect all accessible areas of the property including the interior and exterior of the house, the sub floor, roof cavity, roof exterior, all out buildings, grounds, retaining walls and fences within 30 meters of the main dwelling.

A comprehensive but also easy to read written report of all the accessible areas inspected stating the condition of the building. The inspector also provides you with valuable knowledge and sound recommendations should defects be found.

You’re encouraged, if it’s possible, to attend the pre-purchase Building Inspection during which time you can ask your inspector any relevant questions. You should also organize for the pest inspection to be carried out at the same time.

Pre-Purchase InspectionProcess of Building Inspections

Some of the more common problems inspectors encounter during building inspections are:

High moisture content to masonry walls due to rising or lateral dampness problems.

Cracking to internal and external walls due to foundation and footing movement or failure.

Bathroom shower leaks into subfloor area causing decay damage to floor framing timbers.

Spalling concrete due to rusting concrete reinforcement.

Fretting brickwork, brick mortar joints or terracotta roof tiles.

Rusted roof gutters, roof sheets, steel window and door lintels and roof valleys.

Termite or borer damage to timber floor, walls and roof framing.

Wet subfloor area’s due to insufficient ventilation, which leads to decay or mold problems to floor framing timbers, footing movement or termite problems.

Areas Pre-Purchase Inspections focus on

From the list below you can see inspection reports cover a great deal of subjects during the inspection. Reports will indicate any defects or poor workmanship. Your inspector will carry out a full internal and external inspection looking for:

Structural defects; Maintenance items; Damage that may cause Environmental and safety issues

Internally your inspector will focus on:

  • Floors, Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Ventilation
  • Dampness
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Water Pressure
  • Showers – Shower Screens
  • Electrical – where possible

Externally a pre-purchase inspector checks:

  • Walls-Brickwork
  • Sub floor vents
  • Weatherboards
  • Cement sheet
  • Roofing-roof tiles
  • Corrugated iron
  • Metal tray
  • Flashing
  • Gutters
  • Downpipes
  • Drainage
  • Cracks
  • Rust
  • Dry rot
  • Asbestos

Outbuildings that are also inspected include Garages, Carports, Sheds and Bungalows. Finally a general overview of the site will be performed which includes Driveways, Paths, Paving, Trees, Fences, Gates, Surface Drainage, Retaining Walls, Steps.

Noise from flights

Question: I am selling my condo. Am I legally required to disclose that my home sits under the flight path of a moderately busy airport? – Louis

A: A 1985 Florida case set the precedent when it comes to home sales and “caveat emptor” (Let the buyer beware).

Based on the outcome of Johnson v. Davis, I advise sellers to disclose everything not readily seen that can affect the value of the property. You could face a lawsuit if you fail to disclose something important to your buyer. If there is any doubt about whether to disclose, you should do so.

Most real estate agents will have a seller fill out a detailed disclosure form to give the buyer. Make sure you fill out the form completely and accurately. Material defects, such as roof leaks or sinkholes, are obvious to disclose, but some issues and reviews, such as airplane noise, can be more subjective.

It’s really a judgment call and depends on how much noise the planes make. If your windows are routinely rattled at 5 a.m. — when a typical buyer would not be likely to discover it — then definitely disclose. If the planes are flying over every 15 minutes during normal business hours when people are viewing the house, it’s not as important to disclose.

Every situation is unique, and adding another sentence to the seller’s written disclosure form is free and easy, so I recommend disclosing every possible defect to avoid problems later. Because you think the noise is enough of an issue for you to be concerned, you might want to let the buyer know.