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Why A Property Report is Important to Buyers and Sellers

There is no doubt that a hot property market, where homes are being snapped up in record time, can lead some to think that it is best to rush in and buy.

But no matter what the climate it is important to have a full building and pest report.

Of course it helps to start taking note of the condition of the home yourself from the first open for inspection.

And there are key areas to look at, such as checking that windows and doors are easy to open and close, along with any signs of damp or mould on walls and ceilings.

“It is really about using all your senses and doing that preliminary run through before engaging a professional building and pest inspector,” says buyers agent MIchelle May.

Turn to the professionals

However it pays to bring in the experts when you are serious about purchasing.

“Whilst I have many years of renovation experience I would still always use a professional inspector - the good ones have tools such as infra-red cameras and damp meters and will crawl into the subfloor and attic - crucial information on spaces that you wouldn’t be able to detect on your own,” says May.

Likewise Woodards Mount Waverley director Peter Kladouris says professional inspections are an important part of the property buying process.

“It gives peace of mind to the buyer to get independent advice,” says Kladouris.

Those who are selling properties can also obtain a property report, which can be an attractive component for buyers.

“Smart vendors get a property and termite report, “ says Jims Building Inspections General Manager Paul Commerford.

Mr Commerford said having a property report already done by the vendor can make the property more attractive to buyers, as it is a clear document on the state of the house.

He said buyers should also put building and termite inspection on the must-do list.

For both buyers and sellers getting a professional report done on such a big investment is worth it according to Commerford.

“You are typically looking at paying anything around $800,000 to $1 million for a house, so an investment of around $750 (for building and termite report) is worth it,” he says.

It is professionals who can see beyond what can appear to be a cosmetically perfect home - with reports often identifying easy fixes as well as at times larger or more long-term issues.

Commerford said the company completes about 6500 reports a month and damp, along with termites are the most commonly reported issues.

And they are not always obvious to buyers.

“Water is the most common problem with damp building up after, for example gutters not being cleared properly,” he said.

He said damp, which can create mould issues, can potentially be hidden by paint for up to three months.

Likewise to the untrained eye timber in a home may look in adequate condition, however if termites are present, the timber can then flake away if touched.

May said however from her experience that issues that are discovered in such reports should not automatically put it off the “buy list”.

“In all my years of buying I have never come across a property without any issues, particularly because a lot of homes we inspect are properties over 100 years old in the Inner City,” she says.

“It is important to have context and do a thorough risk assessment and if it is possible to fix or alleviate the issues.

“Only then can you make a decision to move forward or to stay well clear.”

She does recommend that reports are requested early in the buying process.

“They should be done as early in the process as possible,” says May.

“Only then can you decide to investigate possible costs for rectification and whether you can afford to do this.

“This all takes time and is definitely not something one should rush or skip over.”

Commerford said reports, under industry standards, outline major defects, safety hazards and minor defects which if left untreated can lead to long-term issues.

Meanwhile a termite inspection will look at the interior and exterior areas of the home, checking for visible signs of a termite infestation.

Areas checked include baseboards, walls, windows, crawl spaces, door frames, insides of cabinets and closets.

Commerford reported that in the recent property boom and rush to buy homes as prices rise, there has been a growing number of buyers who have only had property reports completed after the sale had been completed.

He said it pays to take the time however to get building and termite reports done whatever the sales climate with such a long-term investment as a family home.