Legal fees, realtor fees, stamp duty and bank fees can add up to a considerable amount and when a budget is already being stretched a lot of buyers will choose to skip having a pest and building inspection completed. This may save you $500 in the short term but it can be catastrophic in the long run and lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. It is recommended to have a building and pest inspection when purchasing – building advisors Archicentre believe one third of Australian homes can have pest-related timber damage.

Pest Inspections

Pest inspections will focus on timber damage from pests such as termites and borers and fungal decay. Inspections will generally be non-invasive and focus on what can be seen and heard without going inside cavities and removing structures.

Building Inspections

A building inspection will reveal important information regarding the condition and integrity of the building structure. Inspectors will look for with a range of potential issues with

  • Electrical and plumbing systems;
  • Kitchen and bathroom joinery;
  • Driveways and concreted paths;
  • Guttering and external pipes;
  • Windows and doors;
  • Extra buildings including sheds;
  • Retaining walls;
  • Roof and attic space;
  • Walls; and
  • Underfloor space.

Inspections are conducted by qualified building inspectors and reports will outline the condition of the property. Generally they will not provide quotes on any repairs they may need completing.


Whilst it would be ideal to have inspections completed before signing a contract it is not always practical. The inspection should be the final tick of approval once you are otherwise satisfied with the property. Instead it is important that there is a clause in the contract that makes the sale subject to satisfactory building and pest inspections. Failure to do can mean that in the result of an unsatisfactory build or pest report that the buyer could forfeit their deposit or be responsible for any costs to fix the issues found – this can force the buyer to pull out of the sale and lose their deposit or purchase the property and be responsible for the costs associated with the issues found.

What if something goes wrong?

If the reports from the qualified inspectors show issues that could be costly to fix there are a number of paths the buyer can take. It is possible that the buyer could pull out of the purchase if they no longer wish to purchase the property – this is why it is important to include inspection clauses into your contact and then have the inspections completed as soon as possible. Another option for buyers in these circumstances is for a renegotiation on price to take place to cover any significant costs that the purchaser will face.

Find an inspector

Often the Real Estate Agent managing the transaction will suggest building and pest inspectors. It is important to remember though that when buying you want the building inspector to be ‘working for you’. Speak to any family and friends who have recently purchased property or your conveyancer or mortgage broker for suggestions – they deal with these situations daily and will be able to assist you.