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Home Buyers: Don’t Trust Pre-Sale Building Inspection Reports

You may be asking “As a home buyer, why shouldn’t I trust Pre-Sale Building Inspection Reports?”.  Let’s assume for a moment that we live in a perfect world where deception is non existent, real estate agents are all honorable and $300,000 would buy you a castle in the suburbs. If this was the real world, the notion of relying upon Pre-Sale Building Inspection Reports would make sense.  The purchaser would feel confident in purchasing a property knowing that a Building Inspector has undertaken a detailed inspection of the house and produced an accurate and unbiased report subsequently removing all risk and doubt as to whether they should proceed with the purchase.

Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world.

As the director of one of Queensland’s leading Building Inspection companies, Action Property Inspections, I can assure you that, as a buyer, you should not trust Pre-Sale Building Inspection reports as they are of virtually zero benefit for the purchaser.

A Real World Example

I recently undertook a building inspection for a lovely lady trying to purchase her first house whilst raising two small children. With her limited funds in mind, she briefed the estate agent of her house requirements. She simply wanted a modest three bedroom house that would require minimal up front repairs and maintenance.

We subsequently booked the inspection with the real estate agent whereby he proceeded to explain to us that our client was prone to panic and that we should treat her with kid gloves.  He also stated that our services were not really required anyway as a Pre-Sale Building Inspection had already been undertaken and the report subsequently presented to the prospective purchaser.  The agent also added that the house still had eight months of structural warranty remaining from the builder and subsequently any faults found would be rectified by the builder.

Barely an hour had past after booking the inspection when we received a phone call from our client in a quandary as to whether our services were really required.  It would appear that the estate agent was so concerned about our client’s welfare that he found it necessary to reiterate that given her lack of funds the money she was out laying for our Building Inspection Report could be better spent elsewhere.  Thankfully our client stuck to the old adage that it is better to be safe than sorry and proceeded with the inspection.

After undertaking the Building Inspection we took the client aside to run through our findings.  I was only halfway through my report run through when the client stopped me with a look of anguish and confusion on her face and simply said “I’m lost, this just doesn’t make sense”.  She subsequently explained to me that the Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report she was presented on the day of contract signing not only failed to mention the most serious items but also downplayed the items that were mentioned. Whilst the house was still structurally sound, substantial cost would have been incurred by my client to maintain the house in a satisfactory condition if she had proceeded with the purchase.

Following the Building Inspection we received a phone call from the disgruntled vendor threatening various forms of action due to our report subsequently contributing to the termination of the sale.

Nearly six months later we were inspecting a house for another client.  It wasn’t until the end of the inspection that my client confessed to being the same disgruntled vendor and profusely apologised.  As it turns out, the estate agent presented them with the card for the Building Inspection Company that undertook their Pre-Sale Building Inspection.  The estate agent told her that if she obtained a Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report it would eliminate most people wanting to obtain their own Pre-Purchase Building Inspection Report and would reduce the chances of any later renegotiation.

Why do Pre-Sale Building Inspections fail?

Simply, the vendor usually engages the cheapest and most lenient Building Inspector in an attempt to produce a report that will not highlight faults that could reduce their sale price. In many cases by the time the prospective purchaser organises their own Building Inspector the previously detected faults have been carefully camouflaged rather than rectified.

We would therefore always strongly advise purchasers to obtain their own Pre-Purchase Building Inspection from a qualified and reputable Building Inspection company that is completely independent from both vendor and real estate agent. This is the only way to ensure you receive an unbiased Building Inspection Report.  Use this free checklist to help you choose a suitably qualified building inspector.

Don’t rely on the vendor’s Pre-Sale Building Inspection Reports.  Contact Action Property Inspections to book your independent property inspection prior to your next purchase.

By Andrew Mackintosh


About Andrew

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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