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Top 10 Tips When Buying Pre-purchase Reports
May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016 – updated  19 March 2020

This is the transcript of a recent interview between Stephen Ransley, General Manager of Tyrrells Property Inspections, and Lisa Tremolada from Maddisons Real Estate.

For more details about our Pre-purchase services please click here.

Lisa: Today our industry expert is Stephen Ransley, and Stephen is the general manager of Tyrrells Property Inspections. Tyrrells Property Inspections have been in New South Wales for over 30 years and it is actually the largest building consultancy firm in New South Wales. They provide a full range of building advice, including dispute resolution, fire safety in buildings and of course pre-purchase advice and inspections. Stephen is going to help us today with the Top 10 Tips, and how to get the most out of your building and pest report and also, as an owner, how to present your property the best way to have a building and pest inspection. I am really looking forward to what Stephen has to say today.

Stephen: I would like to give you the Top 10 Tips for getting the most out of your pre-purchase inspection.

Firstly, I want to clarify that vendors and sellers or home owners and purchasers have different priorities in the selling process, so I want to offer my tips to homeowners first, followed by my tips to purchasers.

Tips for homeowners

Firstly to homeowners – fix and repair obvious defects in the home, particularly water leaks and lighting, anything that is going to be seen by purchasers when they come through.

My second tip to homeowners is to avoid “band aid” solutions when fixing defects; my mantra is “do it once, and do it properly”.

My third tip for homeowners is to make sub-floors, roof voids, and detached garages or sheds easily accessible for the building consultant to get in. No access to key areas raises more questions than answers.

Top 10 tips for purchasers

So now, my Top 10 Tips for purchasers are:

Firstly, select a reputable building consultant. There is a wide discrepancy in services out there. It is important to ask about details like licences, insurance and experience before you go ahead and pay for a report that you find may not meet  your expectations.

My second tip for purchasers is to meet your consultant on-site if possible. Having another look around and getting the consultant’s feedback while physically looking at the problem, can prove invaluable. Good building consultants will be more than happy to talk to you, right after the inspection.

My third top tip is to ensure that you select the right service. Many building consultants, don’t have timber pest qualifications, and won’t offer a combined timber and building inspection as standard.

Tip four is to check the property’s environmental credentials. Most good building inspectors will offer information about building orientation, solar hot water, photovoltaics, insulation, and heating and cooling systems contained within the building.

Tip five is to read the entire report. Don’t just rely on a conversation with your building consultant to form an opinion.

Tip six is that further information can prove invaluable. Remember the inspection is visual only, and there are many reasons why your building inspector may not be able to pick up on a subtle or hidden defect. Ask the vendor to clarify your questions so you understand the story of the property. Get a strata records inspection if it’s a strata property. Get an engineer’s advice, follow up the timber pest-related advice. All this is very important.

Tip seven is to always check with the council about certificates relating to building work on the property. Especially if there has been owner-builder work.

Tip eight is that we think vendors and purchasers want the same thing out of this process; in the main, a vendor wants to sell a property that shows him or her in a good light. A successful sale depends on open, accurate and clear advice, and depends on all parties acting on that information accordingly.

Tip nine, when thinking about building defects, ask yourself:  ”(1) Can I live with it? and (2) Is it reflected in the selling price?”

My final tip is to remind you that there will always be defects found in properties; many are age-related or just poor building work. The building consultant is not there to say how good the house is, he is there to report on the problems found in the property, so keep it in perspective.

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