ARE YOU BUYING OR SELLING A HOME?
You're better off inspected.
What you need to know about building inspections before buying or selling.
Whether you are planning to buy or sell, getting a home inspection done is an important step in the process. In these times of high property prices and the rush to sign contracts, an often-overlooked aspect of purchasing property is the buyer completing their due diligence.
Do you need a building inspection?
To be able to make an informed decision and have peace of mind about the condition of the property you are about to buy - Yes. Heeding expert advice at this crucial time is a must to make the best decisions. The purchase of a home or building is probably one of the largest single investments you will ever make. You should know exactly what to expect – both indoors and out – in terms of needed and future repairs and maintenance. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural problems. Stains on the ceiling may indicate a chronic roof leakage problem. The inspector interprets these and other clues, and then presents a professional opinion as to the condition of the property, so that you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards.
Of course, an inspection will also point out positive aspects of the building, as well as the type of maintenance needed to keep it in good condition.
After the Home Inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and be able to make your decision confidently.
With the implementation of the South African Consumer Protection Act (CPA), from April 2011 property sellers and estate agent are now more aware of the need to be more diligent in disclosing the true condition of the property to potential buyers. This is because the CPA has made it relatively simple and free for aggrieved home buyers, in some cases, to take their complaints to the Consumer Protection Commissioner.
What is a building inspection?
Wikipedia’s definition – “A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components."
So, a building inspection produces a ‘Building Condition Report’ and provides a professional visual report of the current condition of a property.
A Home Inspection includes a visual examination of the buildings from top to bottom.
The inspector evaluates the condition of the structure, roof, drainage, and water leaks – both incoming and outgoing.
Walls, windows, doors, leaks – visible, water drainage, external walls, pool operations, walkways, stairs and patios.
Only those items that are visible and accessible, by normal means are included in the report.
When is the best time to get a building inspection?
If you are a buyer - Prior to submitting an offer on a property as this will enable the buyer to assess potential repair costs.
If you are a seller - Prior to listing your property as “For Sale” as this will enable the buyer to assess the condition of the property.
Who benefits from a building inspection?
Firstly the buyer. He gets an independent evaluation of the true condition of the property. The buyer will know which items need attention and a guide of what the cost of the repairs will be. A WCHI report will also indicate which defects are "structural, safety or functional and which defects are maintenance items.
Secondly, the seller. With a report in place, there should be no aftersales comebacks. A Home Inspection report produced by the seller is a tool to prove to the buyer the honesty and integrity of the seller. Having a Home Inspection report, up front, is a benefit to both parties, the seller and the buyer.
Thirdly, there is the peace of mind benefit for the estate agent who does not have to deal with the potential animosity between buyer and seller if the defects only become known to the seller after the sale.
What’s an "Entomologist clearance certificate" and do I need one?
An "Entomologist clearance certificate" is a separate report that provides a visual timber pest inspection for termites, borers and wood decay fungi.
In most sale agreements of residential properties as well as banks and bond institutions, as a condition of the bond, insist on a certificate from a registered entomologist, stating that all timbers are free of wood destroying pests it’s especially important if looking to purchase in suburban areas close to trees and in moist conditions. Most reputable Building Inspectors will indicate if termites, borers and wood decaying fungi is present, and if the services of a professional entomologist is required.
What are some common defects found when inspecting a property?
Cracking to masonry and concrete: This can show up in areas such as the driveway, floors and external walls due to poor ground conditions.
Sagging roof: Roof void can display deterioration of structural support beams.
Deformed or sagging surfacebeds due to collapsing soils.
Bowing masonry wall or retaining walls.
Internal damage from moisture penetration from roof or wall cavity.
Non-operational components such as sliding doors, windows and toilets.