How to choose the right pest and building company

When purchasing a new property, a building and pest inspection can go a long way towards saving you a fortune. Why? Well, imagine the cost of hidden termite damage, the asbestos you didn’t know was lurking or the structural damage you simply couldn’t see.

Not only is an inspection important, but it’s also important to choose the right company to conduct your inspection too. The right pest and building inspector will be qualified to identify any potential or current issues with the property you’re buying, helping you get the most out of your report, and of course, your purchase (should you still decide to make it).

So, how do you know if you’re getting the right company to inspect your property?

Read on to find out.

Obtain a recommendation 

It can be hard to know if a company is reputable, which is why it’s always best practice to go with a recommendation.

We strongly believe in engaging a service that has been referred to you by a reputable source such as your conveyancer, real estate agent or someone you know in the building industry. Ensure you take a look at their references and reviews too.

Make sure they’re adequately covered and hold a licence

Once you’ve received a recommendation, it’s important to make sure the person or company you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly professional liability and public indemnity.

Effective 1 January 2004, only building consultants licenced under the Home Building Act 1989 are permitted to carry out pre-purchase inspections on residential homes in NSW – Ask to see a building consultancy licence before engaging them.

Better yet, you can even check their consultancy licence online using the Fair Trading NSW license check portal.

You can check for many licences here too, including Pest Inspectors (or any businesses involved in the use of pesticides) who must be licensed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Review their pricing structure 

Like anything, the price comes into the equation, but how do you know how much to pay for a service you’ve never experienced?

In our experience, you can expect to pay between $500 and $700 AUD for both inspections to be performed.

What you can expect once you engage a pest and building company

Usually, you, your conveyancer or real estate agent will put a request through to the chosen company for a report.

You can usually expect conduction of your inspection within 2-5 days of your enquiry.

What you can expect from your report

A pest and building inspector will attend the property and conduct a full inspection, and (in some cases), investigate any issues themselves.

A building inspection report will usually contain the following: 

  • General property information
  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Roof space
  • Underfloor space
  • Roof exterior
  • Overall site
  • Site information
  • Garage
  • Small retaining walls
  • Steps
  • Fencing
  • Surface
  • Water drainage
  • Stormwater run-off, paths and driveways
  • Other important information
  • Name
  • Address
  • Reason for inspection
  • Date
  • Inspection scope
  • Any areas which may not have been inspected and why
  • Recommendation for any further inspections
  • Summary of the overall condition
  • List of any significant problems (everything from termites to wood decay, mould, structural issues, possible non-approved work, not compliant work etc)

In some circumstances, the report recommendation may include that further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably accredited specialist. This could include an electricity supply authority, water supply authority, structural engineer, electrician or surveyor (just to name a few).

What you can expect after the inspection 

The right inspector will call you during the inspection, or once the inspection is complete, to talk through the details with you.

Should there be significant issues, you should have the option to meet the inspector on-site to see these for yourself. This ensures you’re completely informed and ready to discuss your options once you receive your report.

Things to be wary of 

Historically there are accounts of contractors who have conducted an inspection on property previously, and instead of re-attending for another inspection, they’ve simply reprinted the old report. This is of course highly unethical and could result in major problems for your property purchase.

How can you check for this? By using someone reputable with a proven track record and plenty of reviews and references, as we touched on earlier. You could even attend the property with them.

Another thing to be wary of when choosing an inspector is any potential long-term issues. Some inspections will only include issues that are of immediate concern, neglecting to report on minor issues that could potentially become a problem in the long-term. So, when choosing a pest and building inspector, ensure you request inclusion of any potential issues in the report.

Understanding your report 

As above, a professional inspector should phone you after attending the property to discuss the report. If you have further questions, the inspector should be amenable to follow up discussions.

Whilst not qualified to inspect, your conveyancer should have enough knowledge to be able to talk you through it and help clarify any unfamiliar terms when reviewing the report.

How can a Conveyancer help?

In our experience, one out of three reports come back with issues and require negotiation. This is where a trusted conveyancer can help.

Should your building and pest inspector discover an area of concern, yet you still want to purchase the home and make the necessary repairs, the right lawyer can help you use these pre-purchase reports to negotiate significant discounts on the purchase price and/or works to be completed, before settlement.

We recently negotiated a $7,000 reduction on the purchase price of a property based on the necessity to remove a bathroom and re-do the water-proofing, following a water leak discovery. This is just one example of many successful negotiations we’ve been able to orchestrate on behalf of our clients.

When purchasing a new property, choosing the right pest and building company to conduct your property inspection is crucial.

We hope these few tips help you find and engage the right company for you.

Hunter Legal & Conveyancing is here to help

Contact us to find out more about how we can help with your legal and conveyancing needs today.