Low interest rates and a buyer’s judicious choice in a fickle market can provide home buyers with a window of opportunity if they purchase a property free from defects and avoid expensive repairs.

Around 30% of all homes assessed by Archicentre Australia architects for home buyers have some form of major defect which can include site drainage faults, foundation faults, roof structure, illegal building, wiring or plumbing that can run into costing many thousands of dollars to repair.

People need to recognise pre-purchase property assessments can add thousands of dollars to their profit by helping them make informed decisions.

Buying a home is the major way Australian families build wealth and they should act like a developer to ensure they can make a profit on the home.

A pre-purchase property assessment is a standard process for investors looking for returns, especially if the property is being purchased for rental as future landlords plan to avoid tenant complaints and costly repairs.

When purchasing a home for renovation and re-sale, a pre-purchase property assessment can provide a strong bargaining tool in a buyers’ market where vendors are keen to sell and might be open to negotiate, especially if a major defect is discovered. Carrying out a pre-purchase building assessment from a credible independent expert can advise some of the extra costs that a purchaser can face and allow for a considered offer which takes these factors into account.

Failure to assess the property before signing the contract of sale can lead to financial stress, as usually people have to add the cost of unbudgeted repairs to their mortgage. A lack of knowledge of the home and its renovation potential to provide the required lifestyle and financial return before signing the contract can lead to disappointment.

The popularity of the quick make over with ‘products of mass deception’ such as gap fillers which can hide a multitude of potential problems, and hidden areas of the home such as under the floor and in the roof cavity, can often hide problems which the new owners find out about after they have moved in or start to renovate.

With no legislative protection for home buyers against unqualified property inspectors everywhere other than Queensland, people hiring a person to undertake an inspection before purchasing should make sure they undertake their own due diligence to ensure the assessor has current appropriate qualifications and experience to inspect the property and give professional advice.

Getting the most appropriate qualified person to carry out a pre-purchase property assessment is an important decision as people will base their financial decisions on the report and commit in some cases to a twenty five year mortgage.

Critical Questions to ask before engaging a Property Assessor

  • Are you a currently registered engineer or architect?
  • Is your assessment conducted to the Australian Standard?
  • Do you carry Professional Indemnity Insurance policy to guarantee your work?
  • Do you offer a written guarantee? How much is it for?
  • How many years experience do you have assessing properties?
  • What do you know about this type of property, residential, commercial, or heritage?
  • Ask to see a copy of a sample report and read the fine print on what is covered and not
  • Find out how long the property assessment service has been in business and what is its operating address. Do not just rely on a mobile phone number for contact.

Thinking like a developer and using a pre-purchase property assessment to avoid unbudgeted costs is a defensive if not profit-making strategy for all home buyers.