My experience 'test driving' Pest Build Legals..

Recently, I bought a house. Like it is for most people (especially in a runaway market), it was a most interesting and occasionally stressful experience!

It was also a direct opportunity to put into practice many of the recommendations that I have written about as the author of the Pest Build Legals insight series.  As this is the first house I have ever bought, I thought I would test it myself as a customer! But first, a very quick recap of the importance of pre-purchase pest and building inspections. 

Your contract will be conditional on pre-purchase pest, building and legal reports.

If you buy a home with a mortgage, then your finance will always be subject to satisfactory Pest and Building inspections. This is to ensure that there are no hidden defects, pending repairs or structural issues with your new property, and if there are - you can use them to price negotiate or even withdraw your offer. For a closer look at both what to expect and how to get the most out of your Pest Inspection service, read this article: What's included in a Pre-Purchase Pest Inspection Report?

When should you get Pest and Building Inspections? 

It is absolutely essential to arrange Pest and Building inspections when you are serious about purchasing a property. If you still happen to be in doubt, just remember this one simple rule when deciding on your Pest and Building Inspections: no ifs, no buts.  

For example:  what if the property is a brand new build?  Or what if the owner has recently had a full report done? What if it’s part of a high rise? What if I’m not sure if I will win at auction? What if my builder friend says it all looks good? I think you get the picture. There really is no getting around having to pay for these essential services, and nor would you want to.

Test driving 

So without telling a soul at PBL, I went ahead and brought up the Pest Build Legals website. 

1. Enter your details 

Easy enough. I quickly entered the details (address and size etc.) of the prospective house into, indicating what services I wanted i.e. Pest Inspections (and legal conveyancing) and hit the send button.  

2. Wait for a callback

Within 20 minutes,  I had received the first call back from Jim (not his real name). Right off the bat, I always appreciate someone who is keen to 'win' my businesses, and I feel when someone gets back to you so fast, it hints at the kind of service you might be able to expect.  Jim had reviewed the details of the house already. He knew the type of building, the size and location, as well as other important details (saving myself from repeating the details). The other benefit (that I hadn't thought of before) was that by entering the details including address, I knew that the inspector was actually able to service this property despite it being rural (in the Gold Coast Hinterlands) and a slightly unusual property* (more on that later). Also, Jim knew the area and had inspected other houses in the same region. I.e Invaluable local area knowledge. 

3. Do your Research 
*If there was to be a case study to test the most experienced Inspector, ofcourse it would be the house I chose to buy. Firstly, it is a rural property, it is also a Queenslander. It has multiple outbuildings as well as dual-living (i.e. a Granny flat!). It is an acreage property on a slope, and It's mainly made of wood

The list went on and on, but remember, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you can make in life, so you want to make sure that the person that you entrust to do this inspection is the best person. So when you get the callback, don't be shy. Ask as many questions as you feel is necessary. Think to yourself 'what do I really want to know?". Once on the phone, I got to ask Jim all about his experience. How long have you been doing this?  What differentiates you from other inspectors? Have you inspected many Queenslanders? What should I look out for? Can I be there during the inspection? Do you know this area well?  Not only are these important questions themselves, but they also reveal how knowledgeable the Inspector is and how much they care to explain things to you. If you feel that someone is just desperate to get the booking and get you off the phone, move on. 

4. Quotes and Decision Making 

Like many skilled trades, It can at first be difficult to compare prices for pest inspectors,  as there there are many considerations to take into account beyond the scope of this article. However: 

  • Always get a dedicated pest or building inspector. Avoid combined 'Pest and Building Inspections' even though they are often cheaper. Why? Because you want someone who is master of his one trade and not a jack of all. Aim to get separate Building and Pest Inspectors, no ifs, no buts.
  • Don't compare prices. With a decision so big, saving money on an inspector is a false economy. Instead, compare experience and skills. Jim was able to offer me a fair quote based on the size of the property, location and outbuildings. Jim has 20 years of dedicated experience and local area knowledge. He wasn't the cheapest, and if he had been, he wouldn't have been able to give me the level of service. 

The actual house we bought (soon to be painted something other than red).  Photo: courtesy of the author. 

5. The Inspection

I didn't get to ask if I could attend the Inspection with Jim, as he already insisted I be there! On the day, Jim arrived ahead of time and spent a considerable amount of time disappearing under floorboards and into attics and sheds.  After he did his full inspection, he then took me around and showed me everything he had indicated on the report, and what I should do about it.   

6. The Report 

All Pest and Building Inspectors worth their salt will offer to send you your report electronically within 24 hours of the inspection, and Jim was no different. 

7. The result! 

Fortunately, the report showed absolutely no signs of pest damage! And so impressed was I with the level of service, that we arranged to conduct a yearly inspection, after all, this is termite country! 

Final thoughts

Together with your independent builder and property conveyancer, your Pest Inspector is an important part of your team.  At PestBuildLegals, you can easily receive 3 no-obligation quotes and callbacks from our network of trusted and local providers.  And if you do, remember always to ask lots of questions! 

Written by Ben Saravia,  

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