What I DIDN’T know about Pre-purchase Pest Inspections

At Pest Build Legals, we are known to repeat the age-old saying “knowledge is power”, and when you’re buying something as significant as property, you want to know as much as possible. Not only is this one of the most significant investments most people will make, but it’s also a layered process to get to the handover of the keys. As such, a lot of work is done prior to settlement that you need to be aware of.

This of course applies to arranging your pre-purchase pest and building inspections. These reports address the fundamental and most important questions of all: Is this a solid home? After all, this is where you, and perhaps your loved ones, are going to live. If the building structure is dodgy, or termites have moved in, you need to know. 

I bought a Queenslander

Last month (literally) I bought a house in Beechmont, Queensland. In fact, I bought a Queenslander. I mention that, as being primarily made of wood, there was a real, real risk of the presence of termites and other wood borers. 

You can read about my experience mystery shopping www.pestbuildlegals.com.au in this article "My experience test driving Pest Build Legals'. In this article, I recount how I was particularly careful to choose a pest inspector who had direct experience with these types of properties. However.. I learnt a few things from that experience that I only now realise..

24 Hour Pest Reports are a minimum... 

I arranged for an independent pest inspection and that same day I received the report. How? Here’s a hint: every single inspector worth his salt will provide the report within 24 hours. This is actually nothing special. An inspector in 2022 will write his observations as and when he does the inspection directly into an iPad or similar device. Otherwise, he or she would soon forget them. So, as soon as you receive your invoice: pay it. Pest and Building Inspectors will release the report when the invoice clears. Don’t keep them waiting.  How do I know this? In my case, as soon as the pest inspection was complete, I said "send me your invoice and I will pay it now". I got my invoice and report within 30mins of that conversation.  

Pest and Building Inspectors actually want you to be there...  

Another thing I learnt is that the inspector actually wants you to be there. This is not an imposition. It is much, much easier for him to explain any concerns on the report as and when he is there rather than trying to explain this to you over the phone. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that you have to go headfirst into the attic or under floorboards with a headlamp. Let the professional do his thing, and then he or she will walk you through the report and any concerns afterwards.

Small things can lead to big savings..

Finally, and here is a big one - I had always thought that if you found a major defect, you had good cause to renegotiate a price reduction or walk away, but smaller defects you had to let slide. After all,  almost all properties have minor defects (whether building or from pests), which we all simply accept. In our case, we had one case of damp in a non-vital outbuilding. We also had termite evidence from yesteryear in some fencing supporting flower beds. One of the taps on the Septic tank had a small leak.  - but none of these is cause for the contract to be dissolved. However, I was able to present both the pest and building reports together: and negotiate a small price reduction to account for the many small defects. The result? A $5,000 reduction in sale price. (or 10xthe price of pest and building inspections). 

So there you go. If you have nothing major but many minors, this is great! But ask for a reduction anyway.  In my case, it was a ten-fold return on investment! 

Written by Ben Saravia,  

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