Inexperienced inspector costs homeowner $90,000 in repairs With more homebuyers paying the price for hiring inexperienced property inspectors, people who are purchasing properties are being urged to take greater care. Otherwise they risk losing tens of thousands of dollars to repairs and court battles. Perth property and building inspector Adam MacDonald, who has helped rescue many buyers from expensive disputes with sellers, said a very desperate new owner recently approached him for a second opinion. From a thorough inspection, Adam discovered that the previous and inexperienced inspector had missed at least $90,000 worth of defects and elements.
Adam said the owner had purchased a property on the special condition they would have a structural inspection completed before signing any finance over to the sellers. In the trust of the first inspector’s decision that almost everything was fine on the construction and structure of the build, the new owner went ahead with the purchase. “After moving into the property, and on closer inspection of certain structural flaws, the new owner had an uneasy feeling something wasn’t quite right,” he said. “That’s when they sought a second opinion. I conducted a new structural report to satisfy their concerns on elements of the property.” Adam, who has over 25 years of experience in the building trade and who holds a builder’s license, said the first inspector’s report did not mention many of the defects and costings. “They missed crucial details that would have indicated to the buyer that the property would require expensive structural repairs just to bring it to acceptable building standards.”
Adam said the problem is many buyers don’t understand the importance of inspections or why they should care about the inspector’s skills, knowledge and qualifications. “A thorough inspection costs over a thousand dollars, which to most buyers seems like a lot of money. This means often the buyer shops around for a cheap inspector. “There’s also no legal requirement for a property inspector to have completed particular certificates, training or years of worked experience. In fact, they don’t even need to have insurance.” Adam said although people who are building have higher levels of control over the overall build, many still don’t put enough effort when choosing the right inspector for the job.
“It’s not uncommon for people buying newly built properties to skip the process altogether. They don’t realise that new properties often have defects. Even when you know and trust your builder, you need to check that they’ve built everything how they said they would.” Adam said defects are also becoming a hazard for neglected older structures – what real estate agents often advertise as “a renovator’s dream”. “The best course of action is to secure a building inspection report before buying any property, before and after a renovation, and after completing new constructions. “Many buyers understand the consequences of purchasing property that may require expensive repairs. But they often lack the knowledge that could help them select experienced property inspectors who can carry out accurate structural reports. “These inspections are a truly valuable asset when it comes to protecting a home and any insurances put in place. Incomplete or shoddy workmanship, defective installation and structural errors can turn a dream home into a nightmare.” Adam suggested the following questions to ask when interviewing a property inspector.
- Are they covered by professional and public liability insurance?
- If they are part of a franchise, then are they industry qualified?
- Are they a registered builder? This tells whether they know a defect when they see one.
- Are they a member of Master Builders Australia or Housing Industry Association?
- Do their reports conform to the Australian Standards? Ask about Inspection of Buildings AS4349.1 and Timber Pest Inspection AS4349.3.
- Do their reports include full coloured digital photos for ease of reference?
- Do they have access to a thermal imaging camera to detect hidden defects?
To find out more about professional property inspections visit www.assessandconstruct.com.au.
- About Assess and Construct Assess and Construct (www.assessandconstruct.com.au) specialises in all aspects of building assessment and reporting for residential, industrial or commercial, including roofing, fixtures, plumbing and infrared thermal imaging camera, termite inspections, and structural integrity. The owner and director, Adam MacDonald, has over 25 years of experience in new constructions, restorations and repair projects. His experience includes more than 10 years working as a site manager where he gathered experience across residential, multi-unit developments and commercial disciplines. Assess and Construct is located in Rockingham and also works with real estate agencies and building companies.