Expert Advice for Anyone Buying a New Home - Part 2

Buying a new house is a daunting prospect at the best of times, especially if it’s your very first property. Many young couples for example, tend to feel that the entire home buying process is stacked against them – which it is. Every professional involved in the process, from lawyers to conveyancers, buyers to vendors and real estate agents, are all interested in one thing and one thing alone – making a profit. If they are successful in convincing you to purchase a property then they stand to make a commission and at the end of the day, this is their primary objective.

Building inspectors on the other hand, have no such biases and are purely concerned with doing the right thing by the potential home buyers. They are obliged to be forthright with their findings and completely transparent with any reports, meaning you get the truth and not some over inflated sales pitch. A building inspector still gets paid the same regardless of whether the property is sold or not, which means they stand to gain nothing by misleading a home buyer.

Don’t let the agent talk you out of a property inspection

It’s an unfortunate reality that many real estate agents convince home buyers to forgo a property inspection in an effort to score a higher offer. It is in their best interest to get as much money as possible for any given property, but their ability to do so is jeopardised if a building inspection reveals any defects.

Keep in mind that almost all new houses have defects due to young or inexperienced builders who are still learning as they work on any given property. A professional building inspector is likely to identify 15-20 defects on a new house, whilst older houses may have as many as 20-30. These issues can include issues with asbestos, poor wiring, inferior light fittings that are a fire hazard, termites, and mould, just to name a few.

Once a home owner becomes aware of such defects, and they have a more comprehensive idea of how much it will cost them to get them repaired, they are automatically in a better position to negotiate a more favourable price. This is something that the real estate agent would prefer to avoid.

Why you’ll never find a reliable building inspector without grey hair

Many young building inspectors are too scared to be completely honest in their inspection reports regarding certain defects for fear of being sued. This is why it’s important to choose the older, veteran inspectors who have the confidence and the experience to offer a comprehensive and brutally honest evaluation.   


We have helped many people avoid buying a ‘tricked up’ property with hidden defects. We often also help buyers get a significant price reduction. 

“We will match any price offered by a licensed competitor for a similar number of items checked.”


*Just forward us your best quote, with their report example and if it includes the number of items we check, we will match it.



  • Most recommended Building Inspector in Melbourne
  • Independent from the Vendors Agent
  • Report includes Building Defect Repair Cost to help negotiate the property price
  • Fee starts at $300 including Building, Pest, Asbestos, Plumbing, Electrical check and more


For years, Building Masters have eliminated doubt and given power back to property buyers in Melbourne through effective building inspection services. We offer a detailed Building Defect Report which goes way beyond the limited information of a Standard Pre-Purchase Report. Like many of our clients say “don’t even think about buying a house without guidance from Building Masters.”

Face to face in our Private Mobile Office Vehicle parked outside the house, with the opportunity to ask the inspector questions which matter most to you. 

So you won’t miss out on your dream home. Call us any time, even just for a property chat. We are here to help.

 You know the problem.  It’s going to be your first home purchase –  an existing house.  You have settled on the basic features you want and the suburbs where you wish to settle.  After much research and attending many ‘Open House’ inspections and auctions, you are now starting to get a better idea of the real price range of houses being sold in the area – not what the real estate agents would like you to believe – and what you get for your money.  Having determined how much you can afford to pay for a mortgage; set an upper limit on price; and gained a pre-approval mortgage limit from your Bank or financier, you are now ready to get serious about buying a property.

After a few inspections, it is easy to become confused as to what features were in which houses.  Even if you started out keeping meticulous notes about each house you have visited, it is too easy to slacken off so recollections becomes increasingly blurry.  Houses today are increasingly becoming better presented and staged.  One can be easily misled by a fresh coat of paint, modern light fittings, and new carpets, colourful scatter cushions, prints and elegant accessories.  They are all designed to sell you on an image … of what you might create. The vendors all try to create an emotional tug to their property that can also blind prospective purchasers to the real condition and suitability of the property.

When you are about to take your first step on the property ladder you soon start to realise that you don’t know enough to recognize the true state of a property.  Get it wrong and you could be up for tens of thousands of dollars in remedial work.  No kidding! 

You might regard yourself as a bit of a handy-person – reasonably good with the hammer and saw.  But that does not equip you to tell if there could be dangerous asbestos fibres in the ceilings and walls; there are  drainage problems which could be affecting the foundations or causing dampness and rot ; whether the house may needs a complete rewiring – or even worse, there is evidence of termites or that an building extension or outbuilding does not comply with building regulations and may need to be demolished.  

If you are ‘time-poor’ – as most of us are these days, you simply should not run the risk of committing to buy a house without knowing whether it is fundamentally sound.

If you were considering buying a $30,000 used car, you would probably call in an expert – a mechanic or a motorist service organisation – to run their eye over the car before you committed.  So why, then, haven’t you brought in a retired builder with years of experience in home renovations to cast their eye over your short-list homes – where the average price might be 20 to 40 times greater than the $30,000 car?  No – it doesn’t make sense.

Do you know a good, retired builder who could provide you with objective feedback about a property or properties you are considering buying?   Someone who is available at short notice and not in any way tied up with the real estate agent or vendor?   Someone who can tell you what you need to know; clearly, succinctly and provide visual evidence of the problems they have identified.  That person should also be able to advise on the range of cost to make the repairs.

They are about but good ones are hard to find.  A good place to start (and finish) is Building Masters Inspections.

Building Masters Inspections is a group of proven, licensed builders who have retired from the demanding, stressful field of home renovations to channel their experience to help prospective house and commercial building buyers make sound purchases.  After years of successful and successive building renovations, they know the traps and recognize tell-tale signs.  They don’t need to pull a building apart or pore over plans.  A visual building inspection shows up most of the likely problems.  Looking at the switchboard tells them  much.  Fresh paint over a wall might be disguising rising damp.  The sound of a tap on the walls here and there tells them much. Termites?  They can quickly spot drainage and foundation problems – but can you?   Don’t let an a real estate agent tell you the squeaks in the floors are not a problem – your Building Masters Inspector is the one to trust.

Give Mike Heathcote a call on 1300 780 931.  Mike leads a small team of top building inspectors who are strategically located around Melbourne to promptly carry out building inspections prior to auction or sale.  His inspectors photograph all reported faults and welcome a face-to-face or phone discussion immediately following their building inspection.  You know will where you stand, the likely repair costs and be better equipped to confidently decide whether to proceed with the purchase, seek a lower price or walk away altogether.  More information about Building Masters Inspections can be obtain be obtained via their website

For all building and pest inspections of any property in the Melbourne Metropolitan area, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong, Building Masters Inspections are but a phone call away.  1300 780 931.

 For most people, a home purchase is the largest single financial transaction they will ever make during their lifetime.   According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, the median price of existing homes sold in Melbourne during the September 2013 quarter was nearly $600,000. With so much at stake, it is smart to get expert guidance that might help you avoid buying a ‘lemon’.

Most existing homes have defects of some form.  Some will be minor or cosmetic in nature while others can be significant and costly to rectify.  Few people would continue with a purchase if they knew the house had serious defects. 

House sales can be like a ‘cat and mouse’ game.  Most vendors know what is wrong with their homes and will often try to disguise or divert attention away from them. 

  • A new coat of paint might have been applied without proper preparation. 
  • Rugs may be placed over problem floor areas. 
  • Gardens might have new plants and mulch that disguise drainage problems. 

Elegant staging of the home shows potential buyers how the home might look – not what it will look like on the day the new owner takes possession of the house devoid of all furnishings.  Yes, there are many traps for the unwary.

Never start thinking about where to place your various items of furniture.  Your first decision should always be to ensure the property will not cost you much more than your purchase price over the ensuing three to five years.  You might even set a limit on what that over-spend should be – for example, 5% of the purchase price.   

Unlike a new home where you can see the build quality as construction proceeds, existing homes have to be primarily assessed via observation.  The method of sale usually determines the extent a buyer can delve into the condition they are thinking of buying.  Few vendors would permit intrusive inspections that involved opening up wall panels, flooring or confined areas.  Consequently, most building inspections involve informed observation, sighting, measuring, tapping and if required, a little scratching around the base of the building and other structures.

Offers to vendors selling by private sale can often be made conditional upon the receipt of an acceptable building inspection within seven days of acceptance of their conditional offer.  Of course, the vendor must accept this condition.  With sale by auction, there can be no conditions required by the purchaser.  Consequently, there is only a short time-frame during which purchasers can seek an independent, expert opinion about the underlying condition of the house in question.   When you have a short-listed property in mind or are about to make an offer, bring in an experienced building inspector for a pre-purchase inspection

But who do you call?

Look for a qualified builder; a ‘warrior’ with many years of relevant, hands-on experience in the building industry – preferably someone who has had a successful career buying and renovating homes.  Few older builders like to stop work overnight – they like to ease back but still keep a less demanding involvement in the industry that engrossed them during their prime.  Building inspections provides an invaluable way to channel back the extensive experience they accumulated over the years.

A good group to start and proceed with is Building Masters Inspections.  This group of grey-haired, blue-eyed ex-builders comes complete with rough hands, a big heart but above all, an attention to detail that helps them spot and interpret visible and hidden problems.  Building Masters Inspections operates in Greater Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, many major Victorian regional centres.  They can usually undertake a house inspection within 48 hours of your call, subject to vendor access.  You can discuss any particular concerns you might have and the scope of their inspection.

While inspectors from Building Masters Inspections always include photographs of each defect type noted in their reports, they often provide a guide as to likely remedial costs.  The inspectors encourage prospective purchasers to accompany them during their inspection so that a frank discussion can be held immediately following the conclusion of the inspection.  In this way, prospective purchasers can gain a better understanding of the nature and likely causes of major defects and remedial options ahead of receipt of the inspectors’ formal report.

To begin the process, you are invited to have a word with Mike Heathcote, principal of Building Masters Inspections on 1300 780 931.  Mike can explain what a pre-purchase building inspection normally covers and how their observations and opinions might help you make a better, more-informed decision.  Alternatively, you can leave your details on their website so Mike can make contact with you, later. 

Good house-hunting!


Busy people want relevant information at their finger-tips when making critical decisions – and they need it fast! Such is their need when purchasing a house.

Prospective home buyers are always under pressure. They never know whether the homes they are tracking are the best they will find that suit their needs. There’s always the prospect that their ideal home will be listed tomorrow. Much research has to be done in a short time. It is now that comprises start to be made and blind-spots appear.

One area where compromises are rarely entertained (unless you are a masochist) concerns taking chances about the underlying quality of your short-list homes. Most people quickly form a superficial view about the soundness of a house. Often, there is plenty that a layman sees but incorrectly interprets, dismisses or fails to appreciate the likely scale of the remedial cost. Warning signs abound for those with the skills to recognize them.

A pre-purchase house inspection should always be factored into the home purchase budget and pre-purchase timeline. A building inspection report can help steer you away from a ‘lemon’. Understand, however, that a building inspection report does not guarantee there are no hidden faults. The inspectors should identify most faults that do not involve the intrusion of internal panels or a complete inspection of all ceiling and under-floor voids.

What to look for in a Building Inspector

If a Building Inspector promises to cover the cost of fixing any defect they overlook, take a very close look at the fine print – or run a mile. No experienced building inspector would enter into such a commitment for the payment of a relatively low fee. You need to deal with a reputable group – licensed building inspectors; builders in their own right who have many years of experience buying, renovating and selling homes for a living.

You need a building inspector –

• who is good at their work and a good communicator
• who can quickly spot problem areas,
• who knows what it might cost to fix them, and
• how to fix them without paying through the nose. .

Above all, they must be ready to inspect your proposed house purchase at short notice.

Getting the most from you Building Inspection by Building Masters Inspections

One group of Victorian building inspection practitioners that meets all of the above qualifying criteria is Building Masters Inspections. These are top people in the building inspection field: people who can steer you from problem homes, independent and professional – without any vested interest in the assessments they provide.

Building Masters Inspections can usually undertake an inspection within a day or so of your call, subject to vendor agreement to the day and timing. They email their written reports with photos to you within 24 hours of their inspection – often on the same day.

To get greatest value from a Building Masters inspection, try to personally attend the inspection. Not only can the inspector point out the problem areas but it provides a golden opportunity for a question/answer review session – either onsite or nearby.

Book Pre-Purchase Building Inspections of houses on your short, ‘Short List’

If you are thinking of buying a property, book a pre-purchase building inspection though Building Masters Inspections. Phone to Building Masters Inspections on 1300 780 931 – NOW.

You will probably speak to Mike Heathcote – their senior inspector and coordinator. Mike is a top professional in this field. He can help you to decide on the scope of their building inspection, and will discuss cost and payment details. Building Masters Inspection inspect properties anywhere in Greater Melbourne including the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas and major provincial cities.



 Buying a home requires careful research – lots of it. Research can take many forms – online research, open house inspections, feedback from local real estate agents and other people with good knowledge of the area of most interest to you. Once you have found the house you want there is still more research you should consider.

An apparent bargain may not be one if the home has defects that are hidden or visible but not understood – problems that might cost thousands of dollars to remedy. Had you known about them in advance, you probably would not have purchased the home or wanted to negotiate a much lower price. Similarly, paying top dollar for what appears to be an outstanding home does not guarantee that it is free of any unpleasant surprises.

A pre-purchase inspection carried out by a licensed building inspector with real world building experience could save you anguish and serious money. These inspections can be undertaken within a couple of days and represent valuable safeguard against buying an obvious lemon.

Pre-purchase inspections not only provide an invaluable assessment of the property by a building professional, they can also be part of a buyers’ negotiations strategy.

There are certain situations where pre-purchase inspections can be carried out with the consent of the property vendor.

If the property is being auctioned, the vendor might agree to a prospective purchaser arranging a pre-purchase inspection particularly if you were the first person to express a serious interest in the property soon after listing and indicated you might make a conditional offer prior to the auction, subject to a favorable pre-purchase building inspection report. The prospect of saving on auctioning costs and fewer occasions the home must be kept in pristine condition for open inspections, should appeal.

If you forget to commission a pre-purchase inspection prior to entering into a Contract of Sale on a residential property that is not subject to auction conditions, you still have a three working day cooling-off period in Victoria in which to get an inspection done and decide whether to proceed or withdraw from the contract.

If the property is listed for private sale, there could be greater scope to use a pre-purchase condition report to get and expert inspection to identify visible problem areas and provide an estimate of the remedial cost. Armed with this information, you are in a better position to negotiate a lower price – or to walk away from the sale altogether.

Building Masters’ inspectors are not only licensed building inspectors, they are builders with extensive experience in home renovations. They know what to look for and can advise on remedial options and provide a guide to costs.

For further information, call Building Masters Inspections on 1300 780 931 or visit the website Discuss and agree with them the scope of their inspection, the timing of the inspection and receipt of their report. Building Masters Inspections are good people to talk to and most helpful, too.

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1300 780 931



Hi Mike,

Thanks for your help yesterday. If it wasn’t for you we would have been saddled with a lemon. We have exercised our right to withdraw in the cooling off period and barring any other tricks we have hopefully managed to save thousands of dollars. We feel like we’ve learned a bunch and will most definitely be using your services again in the future (and telling all our friends!).

Thank you very much,


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