Due diligence may cost now but it can save loads in the long run

According to a 2020 article in Stuff, walking away from a Christchurch property after getting their own building inspection saved one couple up to $100,000. One of the relieved prospective buyers was quoted as saying walking away was “a small price to pay”.

The potential buyers’ pre-purchase inspection report varied enormously from the vendor’s report.

The vendor’s pre-sale report stated the cladding was in a good state and that generally the house was ‘’sound’’ whereas the potential buyer’s report concluded that it could cost $100,000 to repair the property and that some of the defects were visible from the roof.

This case highlights just why pre purchase inspections are worth it, and the incredibly good reasons for getting a building report from an accredited building inspector.

Are pre purchase inspections worth it?

Yes, but not all property inspectors are created equal. According to a past president of the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors (NZIBS), they regularly see wildly differing reports for would-be buyers and sellers. Often this was due to the selective use of low-quality reports by real estate agents or vendors.

Vendors obviously want to sell their house, so they want a building inspector who does a job that suits them. But building inspectors should report solely on what they see in a property and be independent, open, and honest, as we are at First Look Inspections.

Building inspectors are not regulated, nor are they required to have any qualifications. What’s worse, not all building inspectors have indemnity insurance.

The pre-purchase solution?

Only ever choose a building inspector who had to meet standards set by a professional building inspector organisation. Our trained, qualified building inspectors at First Look Inspections have had to pass training courses, have experience, have proven their competence, and regularly upskill.

Because we carry indemnity insurance and belong to a professional body, clients would also have comeback in the unlikely case that one of our pre-purchase inspections fails to detect issues.

Use an accredited building inspector

In New Zealand, building inspections are not a legal requirement for a property sale, but our advice, as well as that of the Real Estate Authority’s general counsel Phirak Appleton, is that buyers should leave themselves enough time to do adequate due diligence and use a qualified building inspector with professional indemnity insurance.

Sadly however, according to the Real Estate Authority (REA)2020 research, just 46 per cent of buyers got a report from a qualified building inspector, often because the building inspection report was deemed too costly or because they felt they were ‘’just as good’’ as a qualified inspector.

A professional inspection can also help with negotiations over price or repairs and be used as a road map for future maintenance or planning.

Our checklist for choosing an Auckland building inspector

  • They must be fully a qualified building surveyor.
  • They must have a building or engineering background and be qualified in that field
  • They must have a proven record for carrying out building inspections
  • They must carry full professional indemnity insurance
  • They must be completely independent and impartial
  • Reports must be compliant with the NZ standard – NZS4306:2005
  • Inspectors must be committed to regular up-skilling.
building inspection checklist nz

A pre purchase building report from a qualified, experienced building inspector may mean the difference between peace of mind and being out of pocket, and it’s such a small price to pay.

Avoid investing in a property with hidden faults. You don’t want a problematic building on your hands. First Look Inspections is an independent, reliable property inspection team with vast experience in building and we work right across Auckland.

Call 021 834 231 to book an inspection.