If you are buying a house; for some this will be the biggest investment in their life, and in most cases, a purchasers life savings is on the line. When buying a house or property It is vital that you receive the right advice.

How do I know if I am getting the right advice?

When booking a building and pest inspection in NSW, The laws are quite different from QLD as to who is allowed to charge you and provide you advice. In NSW a building inspector does not have to be a licensed builder and can complete a short course to provide pre-purchase building inspections. This is the same for pest inspections even though in NSW insurance companies require 2 years experience. This is worrying.

What does this mean?

We see a lot, Inspectors in NSW who try to complete both inspections (the building and the pest) and in most cases, they are

1) Not a licensed builder with no building experience and cannot comment on structural issues, miss vital defects and have an inadequate understanding of safety issues.

2) have never treated a termite or understand termite ecology, behavior, and products used to prevent termite activity. They may also not carry the tools to correctly identify termites that may be concealed behind wall cavities often missing damage and live termites.

In most instances, these inspectors will carry out an inspection without providing any advice or recommendations, Missing structural defects and or advise you to seek further advice from a licensed builder or pest company. This will cost the purchaser in having to have another inspection or worst case, Cost the purchaser a fortune in repairs or termite treatments.

How to ensure you get the right advice.

  1. Ensure you book a two-man inspection team. Two sets of eyes are better than one and also you will find the building inspection will be carried out by a builder and the pest by a professional in the field who understands timber pests and carries the right tools.
  2. Log on to the Fair Trading website and search the inspector’s credentials to ensure they are a licensed builder. A carpenter, plumber or electrician is not a licensed builder. You can search by clicking here
  3. It’s better to have a timber pest inspector who has actually had experience in the pest industry treating, installing products and working with termites. Experience and a good understanding of timber pests are vital.
  4. Ensure that the company you engage has insurance. You can ask them to provide a certificate of currency.
  5. New laws require timber pest inspectors to carry either 1 of 3 additional tools to carry out further tests and MUST also be accredited and trained to use the tool. These tools are a Thermal Camera, A Termatrac T3i Termite Radar Device or a termite detection dog. Make sure the timber pest inspector carries at least one of these and is trained to use it, If not they are not inspecting in accordance with current Australian Standards and you will not be insured.
  6. Ensure you receive an agreement prior to the inspection. This agreement is a requirement and outlines what is covered and what isn’t. This is so if there are things you further wish to know about the property they can be added as an extra and are not missed.
  7. If your agent or conveyancer has recommended an inspection firm, ring around and compare the service offered, Not always is the cheapest the best especially if you’re about to make the biggest investment in your life. If your agent refuses any other inspection firm this is a warning sign.

Unfortunately, the inspection industry is rife with opportunists who can take advantage of people eager to invest money into a property. Make sure that you get the right advice! If you have had a bad experience previously, contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

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