“We want to buy a house. We’ve seen one we like. But is it sound, will repairs send us broke?”
There’s only one way to find out. And it’s not by asking the vendors agent!
You’ll need a building condition expert. A senior building inspector. You don’t want a building designer or a long winded report on the merits of the house, you want the facts in an easy to read format. And it’s got to be written in plain language, preferably with pictures and it’s got to be easy to understand.
Where do you go and who do you ask?
Let’s look at the two main options:
1. The Pre-Purchase Report
Often prepared by an architect or building designer who will have good knowledge of the design, style and layout merits of the property. He or she will most likely have a background at University and in the studio. This is most probably a good person to comment of the liveability of the house. This report will often document at length the size of the property, number of rooms, orientation, aspect and various room measurements, their uses and outline some of the most obvious faults.
It will be a lengthy report with large photos, plenty of standard clauses and long disclaimer statements you might fall asleep reading. The small print will also ensure you sign away your ability to claim on their so called “we will fix it guarantee” if need be.
But is that what you need? You like the house, you already know that. What you must have are the facts about the building condition, prospective future condition, likely upcoming expenses and an experienced opinion of the costs involved in bringing the house up to a maintainable standard. Right?
So here’s the alternative . . .
2. The Defect Report
Straight to the point. Prepared by an experienced senior registered builder, a person who has spent his life building, pulling apart and rebuilding houses. A professional who is strong on issues like hidden faults, structural condition, site drainage and its impact on building stability, electrical safety, plumbing operation, the Building Code, the Light Timber Framing Code, dodgy workmanship, cheap fix’s, dangerous materials, asbestos, fire hazards, timber rot, pest infestation by termites and borer and 1001 other dead practical things you need to know.
The Defect Report is about what’s wrong, how it happened, how to fix it and how much. It’s an easy to understand document with photos of every fault and their technical description plus an overall repair cost estimate.
No standard clauses, no “don’t sue me” disclaimers, just a straight to the point factual report prepared by a senior building inspector. And it makes a very effective price reduction negotiating weapon.
Yes, that is what you want.