Inspect/Choose the Property

Performing a Professional Inspection
If you feel you don't have the practical or technical knowledge required to perform a thorough inspection on the property you are interested in, engage a professional inspector. The cost will be small compared to what you save.

A property inspector will examine every area of the house, including the roof space, sub-floors the structure, as well as the roof, guttering, footings, and wiring. They also look at the plumbing, check for dampness and check for rot that is not obvious. In effect, hiring someone with experience to inspect the property is sensible, unless you have experience in all the above areas.

The inspection provides you with a report, informing you of any faults and how bad the faults are. It will also give you an indication of the probable repair and other costs involved. An experienced inspector will help with qualified advice on any property improvement ideas you may have.

Once you have this information you can decide whether to purchase the property and whether it is time to make an offer based on the value you see the property is worth.

A professional inspector should be able to complete inspection within a day or two after the booking. If you want to proceed with the purchase deal prior to the inspection, you may have to put in an offer subject to the condition that the contract is contingent on an acceptable inspection. This means that if you are not satisfied with the inspection report you have the option to cancel the contract.

Most owners accept this type of condition and if they don't, you have to wonder what they are trying to hide and it's best to walk away.

The Steps in an Inspection
Inspecting the physical condition of the property is an important part of the buying process. The seller should disclose any matters regarding the condition of the house, but this often does not happen. In any event, whether or not the seller provides these disclosures, you should have the property inspected and at a minimum, make sure that the main structures, such as the roof, plumbing and foundations are investigated.

The first person to do the inspection should be you. Even if you don't have much knowledge about houses, it is still a good idea to have a good look around and form your own opinion . Do this before you make any formal offer.  It could save trouble, should you find any serious problems and have to cancel your offer.

There are many useful 'do it yourself' inspection books containing checklists to take with you. However, these checklists are useless if you don't know what you are looking for.

If there is a builder in the family, or if an associate is a builder, they could carry out the inspection for you, either for free, or at a low cost. They will be experienced and know what to look for.  Also, they will be biased towards you - which is a good. If this is not possible, then obtain the services of a building inspector and be prepared to pay them to produce a full report on the property being considered.

Accompany the inspector during the examination so you can learn more about the maintenance and preservation of the house and get answers to any questions you may have.

If the inspector feels you should get specialised inspections for other areas, such as pest damage, hazards from flood, earthquakes and natural disasters, or dangerous areas such as asbestos, lead, etc, then another party (with specialised knowledge) may have to be involved.

Professional inspections can be done before your offer, but many are done after offers have been accepted, but are contingent on the results of the inspections.

If the house is looking good, you can proceed knowing you are getting a good buy. Inspections may bring minor problems to light that can easily be fixed. These can be grounds to negotiate a decreased purchase price in order to have funds to do the required work.