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What are "Pest, Building and Legals", and why do I need these when purchasing a home?

Written by Ben Saravia,  
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They say that buying a home is one of the most stressful things that you will ever do (after getting married!). From the long search for the dream home, to arranging finance and then making an offer , it's no wonder that fifty-one percent of first home buyers surveyed found the process “stressful”, while 42% described it as “overwhelming”.

And that's just the beginning.

In many ways, finding the perfect home is like buying a car - once you have found the one that you love, you need to set your emotions aside and start looking past the asking price and specifications, and get the vehicle checked out by a qualified mechanic.

In the real estate world, ‘looking under the bonnet’ means arranging your Pest, Build and Legals. You may have never heard these three words together before but rest assured - if you tell anyone that you’re buying a house, - the first question they’ll ask after “where is it?” is likely to be “have you done your PestBuildLegals yet?”

Whether you are buying a property in the Gold Coast, Brisbane or even Tasmania, you’ll need to engage a range of experts to undertake a number of essential checks on the potential property. This is your team and they are there to support you and to ensure that there are no hidden defects, pests or legal claims on your (soon to be) new home. Collectively, these professionals create legally valid reports on existing conditions that could undermine one of the most important investments you’ve ever made. For an exact breakdown on buying a home read our guide here: 7 Essential Steps to Buying your first Home.

Often, real estate agents and/or the seller will share previous building inspections, pest reports and legal documents regarding the property. Whilst these can be useful, you should never depend on these. Think of these as historic documents, keep a copy, and then make your own informed investigations.

Remember: If it's going to be, it's up to me.

Pest, Build and Legal reports are a necessary and unavoidable expense that you (the purchaser) must arrange and pay for. Fortunately, finding the right service provider at the right price is no longer the long and time consuming process that it used to be. PestBuildLegals was set up to allow you to get the most competitive quote from a range of providers - in under an hour.

What exactly are they reporting?

Pre Purchase Pest Inspection

When moving into a new home, you want to ensure that you are the only residents! As you might have guessed, a pest inspection refers to the requirement to get a pest report done on the property. Pests such as termites can cause extreme structural damage and can even undermine the very foundations of your new home. A professional and thorough pest inspection not only ensures that you are aware of any major issues, but also give you an up-to-date insight into the condition of the property, alerting you to future costs. This is important, as what are minor issues today, can become bigger and more costly in the future.

Pre purchase pest inspections and reports don't just ensure that you don't buy a house full of critters. From a legal perspective, property purchase contracts have a ‘building and pest clause’ - and for good reason. If your building and pest report reveals any major problems, then this can be grounds for you to withdraw from your contract, and therefore avoid one of the most costly mistakes of your life!

“Remember, the better informed you are, the better the decisions that you make.”

Pre Purchase Building Report

The most important reason to initiate a building report is to assess and detail any physical defects of the property. A house may look amazing, or even be very new, yet can have hidden defects that even the seller or agent may not be aware of.

A building report is a detailed property survey conducted by a licensed and accredited property surveyor. You may hear it being referred to as a ‘building report’, a ‘pre-purchase building report or even ‘pre-purchase inspection’! Sometimes, surveyors are qualified to provide both build and pest inspections as well ( and this can mean a more competitive quote!).

The building inspector works for you, and will give you an unbiased, specialist report of the condition of your future property. Again, major defects can be grounds for withdrawing from the contract. It is, however, worth remembering that unless the property is brand new, it is likely that there will be some minor defects, so don’t let this put you off! Most minor defects revealed are a normal part of learning about the property. The estimated costs of ratifying these defects can often be used to potentially negotiate a lower offering price for the property.

Finally, the pre purchase building report gives you confidence in your new home. It identifies if there are likely to be any major costs or considerations for the future, and allows you to plan for them. As we mentioned before, it is always better to know than to not know!

Pre purchase Legals Reports and Representation

From the moment that you tell the agent ‘I’d like to make an offer’, you need to get legal advice . If your offer is accepted by the seller, the agent will then send you a “contract of sale’. At this point you must engage either a property conveyancer or solicitor to overlook this contract. Your legal representative will also conduct title and certificate searches on the property, to ensure that there are no legal or outstanding claims against the property. This is vital as if you proceed to purchase the property, you can inherit these legal problems.

Real Estate Legal Fees and costs

It's also worth knowing that property conveyancing fees and solicitor costs can vary greatly.. To explore the difference between conveyancers and solicitors read our guide ‘the 7 essential steps to buying your first home’. Regardless of your choice, both property conveyancers and solicitors will ensure your rights are protected and that you meet all your legal obligations from day one all the way to settlement (the day the house becomes yours!).

Ultimately, getting your PestBuildLegals done is all about doing your due diligence, being informed and preventing avoidable costs and heartache.

What should I do now?

It is essential that you get independent advice from certified industry professionals that specialise in conducting these reports. When looking for Building, Pest or Legal quotes and prices, you want to ensure that you get the best service and the best price. For this reason - we recommend that you get at least 3 quotes for each service to allow you to compare.

How we can help

At PestBuildLegals, we can save you a lot of time and hassle by providing you with the three best quotes for each service, whilst you only enter your information once. We also only list qualified and reputable local services, and you will receive your quotes that same day (usually within the hour).

What next?

Once you have received your quotes, you can make an informed decision as to who you want to go with. PestBuildLegals is a completely free service to use.

Click here to get started!

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