From Perth to Port Hedland, buying a home is the largest investment most of us will ever make; understandably it can feel like a lot is riding on the final inspection.
When it comes to home ownership, buying a property is a life goal that can take months, if not years of your life to achieve and with that comes enormous pressure to make sure it all goes according to plan. For that reason, it’s both an exciting and stressful experience for both buyers and sellers.
There’s finding the right property for a start. Then of course there’s the challenge of financing the mortgage and persuading the bank that you’re grown up enough to own a house or move up the property ladder. Right now, with the cost-of-living pressures so high and both interest rates and energy prices soaring through the roof this is a major challenge.
Often with so much riding on the purchase/sale of a property both buyers and vendors can experience nervousness and anxiety around the final inspection. It’s understandable, as it’s often the last hurdle before settlement and problems may arise.
BCI WA has considerable experience in home building inspections here in Perth, so we have put together a handy guide to final inspections to explore what it is about them that makes people so anxious and what practical steps you can take to soothe your nerves and ensure it’s more of a box ticking exercise that you can look forward to, rather than a source of sleepless night inducing anxiety.
Before we get into best practice here are some quick FAQs on final inspections in Perth.
What Are Final Inspections?
Final inspections are an opportunity to ensure that nothing untoward has happened to the property since signing the initial contract.
The property must be in the same condition in which it was viewed when the contracts were exchanged, and the inclusions specified in the contract.
When Do Final Inspections Take Place?
In Perth final inspections take place anytime from a week to a few hours prior to settlement.
Our advice is not to leave it too late. Give the vendor the opportunity to fix and remedy the situation if you are unhappy with what you see.
Only one final inspection is permissible.
Are Final Inspections Mandatory?
Final building inspections ARE NOT mandatory in WA, however, we STRONGLY advise that you do inspect the building at least once prior to purchase.
You DO NOT want to rely on photo or video to make your choice.
Who Conducts a Final Inspection?
Buyers usually arrange a final inspection through the real estate agent who helped sell the property. Final inspections do not have to take very long and can usually be done in an hour.
“Hang On a Minute … Only An Hour?!”
Yes, an hour – depending on the technological complexity of the property. We know it’s not a lot of time. That’s because prior to the Final Inspection you should have completed a Building Inspection – which is more like half a day.
Investing in a pre-purchase building inspection report is one of the ways in which you can give yourself peace of mind right from the outset. This is a good idea as it will eliminate any concerns you may have to do with the structural integrity of the building. If you don’t inspect the property, you could be buying a money pit and setting yourself up for months of costly repairs.
BCI WA provides the experts you need when it comes to pre-purchase building inspections in Perth.
We strongly advise buyers NOT TO carry out an extensive building inspection yourself.
You are not trained, you don’t have the right experience and you don’t have the right tools.
Put simply, you don’t know what you don’t know. Knowing the full scope of what is included in an inspection is a full-time job. You may miss something and when it’s the biggest purchase of your life, can you really afford to get it wrong?
PRE-PURCHASE BUILDING INSPECTIONS EXPLAINED
At BCI WA our pre-purchase building inspection report is detailed, easy to read and compliant. Depending on which inspection you choose the key feedback we provide will:
- Ensure that the building is structurally sound
- Identify areas that are unsafe and in need of repair.
- Confirm that RCDs & hard wired smoke alarms are present
- Conduct moisture meter testing to wet areas and adjacent walls
- Conduct a visual plumbing & hot water check
- Evaluate outdoor structures
You don’t even have to worry about the logistics and teeing up a time. Our office will organise access to the property with the owner, occupant or agent.
By taking the trouble to complete a pre-purchase building inspection, your attention for the final inspection can focus on the less significant details. For example, fixing a doorbell is not a deal breaker – replacing a roof may be.
Below is a quick guide to pre-purchase building inspections for buyers:
- Buyers can and often do make a building inspection a condition to an offer to purchase.
- Buyers will usually pay for the report.
- Sellers can set the terms of the completion date.
- State the actions necessary should the inspection uncover defects in the dwelling.
- Seller should be given the option to fix any defects within a specified timeframe.
It means you can focus on the fun stuff. By completing a pre-purchase inspection, you are given an opportunity to begin measuring up for new furniture, rather than fretting over the ant trail. You should be excited. Not stressed.
Depending on whether you are a buyer or seller, your approach to inspections will probably be quite different. Here at BCI WA we care about both the buyer and seller, so here are a few pointers for both parties:
FINAL INSPECTIONS FOR BUYERS
- Final inspections are a good opportunity to measure for new furniture or to assess whether existing furniture will fit.
- Final inspections are also an opportunity to check things like whether the power points work, the toilet flushes, taps and showers have running water.
- Are the carpets still there and are they clean?
- Are the appliances staying or going and do they work?
- Kitchen appliances. Turn them off and on. Check the oven, stove top and rangehood.
- Have any agreed repairs been successfully carried out?
- Gardens – the change in the season can have a really big impact. You may have really liked that beautiful jacaranda tree when you purchased it in late October – by December it will have made a complete mess of the garden if it hasn’t been cleaned up. Make sure it’s been well maintained.
- Locks and doors – check them and make sure the keys are working.
- Have you got rubbish bins to dispose of waste and are they empty? When is bin day?
- Have you been shown how to operate the air-conditioning and security system?
PREPARING FOR INSPECTIONS AS A SELLER
There’s obviously a lot riding on a sale. You could well be in a chain and need everything to go smoothly in order to move up the ladder, downsize or simply move on. So, it’s important to get everything in line before you even list your home.
The reality is that both you and your potential buyers will benefit from an independent building inspection. Time is an important factor in any sale and so you can probably give yourself a bit more time by getting an independent assessment done prior to listing the property.
Clean up, make sure everything is in working order, fix known problems. Get your documentation together. Leave power on. Provide keys. Make sure you are prepared to leave the property. Inspections usually take around 1 hour to complete. For more extensive information on preparing for inspections please click here.
Any substantial damage will need to be fixed pre-settlement or you could be in breach of contract.
So, what if there is a problem?
One of the main reasons why people worry about final inspections is that most people don’t like confrontation and will do anything they can to avoid it. That’s why hiring a professional team like BCI WA to complete a pre-purchase building inspection is so invaluable. We will give both the buyer and the vendor our independent opinion.
If our reports reveal any problems that need fixing, try not to worry or stress about it. Most challenges are usually solved but you need to raise the issue with the real estate and the conveyancer. Legally, it’s important to involve your conveyancer as a thorough inspection may have revealed detail of a condition that may need to be added to the contract.
If the problem can’t be fixed, it is possible to negotiate the sale price in order to cover the cost of repairs. But be warned, this process can hold up settlement and breaches of contract need to be proven by the purchaser. It’s up to the seller to determine how significant the problem really is.
Most of the time people will try to avoid building disputes getting out of hand, because formal disputes can prove to be costly once they progress to court.
Brand new buildings have their own set of rules and requirements. Once again, BCI WA is happy to help. You will find more information on building disputes in WA here.
For more information on completing your pre-purchase building inspection please contact us at BCI WA and we will be more than happy to help.