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The Difference Between Pre-Sale and Pre-Purchase Building Inspections

As the potential purchaser of a property it is important that you know the difference between a Pre-Sale Building Inspection and a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection. The Pre-Purchase Building Inspection is essential for anyone buying a house, whilst the other, in most cases is to be avoided like the plague.

Like the name suggests, the Pre-Sale Building Inspection is undertaken prior to the property being put on the market. Subsequently this report is organised by the vendor and in some instances the real estate agent. Alternatively, a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection is organised by the prospective purchaser of a property, usually once a contract has been signed.

Pre-Sale Building Inspections

A Pre-Sale Building Inspection is undertaken for two distinctly different reasons. Firstly, a home owner could organise a Pre-Sale Building Inspection so they are informed about the true condition of their house prior to putting it on the market. By obtaining a Pre-Sale Building Inspection a vendor is often hoping to stem off any possible renegotiation of their house purchase price by not having any surprises uncovered should the purchaser of a property organise their own Pre-Purchase Building Inspection. Faults detected within the vendors Pre-Sale Building Inspection could be rectified prior to the property being put on the market. In an ideal world faults would be repaired and the house restored to a satisfactory condition, however the unsightly truth is that when presented with a Pre-Sale Building Inspection outlining many faults, its often amazing to see what lengths a home owner will go to in an attempt to conceal faults rather than rectify them.

The second scenario in which a homeowner organises a Pre-Sale Building Inspection is whereby the report is to be subsequently presented to a prospective purchaser eliminating the need for the purchaser to organise their own Pre-Purchase Building Inspection. From a purchasers perspective, relying on a Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report organised by the vendor is fraught with disaster. Firstly the primary concern for a vendor is not the financial welfare of the person potentially buying their house. Rather some vendors intentions are often to obtain the most lenient Building Inspection Report, outlining the least amount of faults, whilst paying as little money as possible for the Building Inspection. In addition, by the time the Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report is presented to a potential purchaser the report may be many months out of date and the condition of the house due to neglect or misfortune could have changed and would not subsequently be reflected in the Building Inspection Report. A purchaser relying upon this Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report could be saddled with a faulty house potentially costing many thousands of dollars to rectify. Furthermore, as the Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report was undertaken in the name of the vendor and not the purchaser, proving liability and obtaining compensation from the building inspector would prove difficult if not impossible. In a nutshell, if you are purchasing a property and are presented with a Pre-Sale Building Inspection Report, by all means read it, however, DO NOT under any circumstances rely upon it.

Pre-Purchase Building Inspections

As the name suggests, a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection is primarily undertaken by someone in the market to purchase a house. Provided a purchaser obtains a high quality Pre-Purchase Building Inspection from a legitimate inspector working for the purchaser and not the estate agent, the report would prove invaluable. Whilst the purchaser would incur the costs for the Building Inspection, they would at least have the peace of mind knowing that they could rely upon the report as the Building Inspector was working in their best interests. The Pre-Purchase Building Inspection will give you knowledge and subsequently power. This report should give you invaluable information regarding the true condition of the house. Armed with this information you may choose to proceed with the purchase as normal or renegotiate the purchase price to more accurately reflect the condition of the house e.g. renegotiating to have the faults rectified. In a worst-case scenario if the building report shows substantial deterioration or issues you are not prepared to accept the report will give you the means in which to terminate the contract and subsequently receive a full refund of your deposit.

Action Property Inspections is one of Queensland’s oldest and most professional Building Inspection companies. Our reputation is paramount and subsequently when asked to conduct a Pre-Sale Building Inspection for a vendor we only do so after evaluating their reasons for obtaining the Building Inspection Report. If they genuinely want a detailed Pre-Sale Building Inspection, we are happy to acquiesce. Most vendors however decline our services of a Pre-Sale Building Inspection when they realise the thoroughness of the report we produce. However, they always use our services for homes they are looking to purchase. By limiting the number of Pre-Sale Building Inspections Action Property Inspections undertakes comes at a cost, however we retain the peace of mind and knowledge that we have acted in the best interests of our clients and the Building Inspection industry in general.

By Andrew Mackintosh


About Andrew Mackintosh

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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