Buying any property normally involves a fairly hefty financial commitment, and it is crucial to have as much information about its condition before deciding whether to purchase it or not. Having a good idea about what the problems are can give the prospective buyer some leverage in terms of negotiating price as well as knowledge of any future maintenance issues.
There are essentially two types of inspections. First are what are known as personal inspections, which are carried out by an individual looking to purchase the property. This is really just common sense, looking at things to see if there are any underlying problems that are easy to spot.
It is also important that anyone buying into a strata scheme understands how that particular scheme works, as different restrictions can apply to different schemes.
The second type of inspection is what is known as a pre-purchase strata report. This type of report should be done in addition to any personal inspection and should be used to identify more structural issues that are unlikely to be discovered simply by a personal inspection.
Pre-purchase strata reports
A pre-purchase strata report should be carried out by a properly qualified professional, such as a surveyor, architect or a licensed builder. They would compile and produce a written building report, which should cover the main structural areas of the property.
The format and content of a report will differ somewhat depending upon who is producing it and the nature of the property that is been inspected.
In general, however, the report should cover all areas of the building that are easily accessible to be inspected. This should include the interior and exterior of the building, any roof space, the exterior of the roof and what is sometimes referred to as the site.
The site can be any general areas outside the property, such as a garage or car port, any fencing or paths or driveways.
Strata report contents
The report should be clear about a number of things. It should contain the name of the prospective buyer, the address of the property, the date and time of the inspection, the scope of the inspection and the identification of any aspect of the property that was not able to be inspected and the reasons why.
Some of the above may seem a bit basic, but they are important factual elements in what could prove to be a legal document.
The report is likely to summarise the overall condition of the property and identify any major faults. It should identify any possible remedial action.
If the report identifies problems that the surveyor or builder involved does not feel competent enough to fully address, then they may suggest further inspections by more specialist professionals, such as a pest control expert or a structural engineer.
Items not included in a strata report
A building inspection report is really intended to look at major structural issues and should be very specific about what it can and cannot assess. It is therefore up to the prospective purchaser to follow up on any items they may feel need further investigation.
As a general guide, a report will not include parts of the property that could not be inspected because it was not possible to access them, estimates of repair costs and, in certain parts of the country, termite detection.
The report is unlikely to address areas that the building inspector would assume a personal inspection would identify or look at, such as electrical wiring and smoke detectors, alarm and intercom systems, fireplaces and chimneys, etc.Share