It never ceases to amaze my how many people actually buy houses with out even getting the most basic pre purchase property inspection done before handing over their life savings as a deposit and committing themselves to a 20 to 30 year mortgage. It’s like buying a used car without looking under hood to see if it has an engine. Or not taking it for a test drive. In some states you can’t sell a used car without a roadworthy check but you can still sell a home without having it inspected.
As a property inspector specializing in pre-purchase inspections I often get call out to inspect a home after the purchaser has moved in only to find significant defects that will cost a small fortune to repair, turning what was to be the dream home into a nightmare. This occurs with such alarming regularity that I have started a “Book of Horror Stories” Some of these are featured at www.ipi.net.au I’ve already got enough stories to now begin a second volume.
My Question is. What can be done to protect unwitting home buyers from making one of the most incredibly dumb mistakes that could condemn them to a life time of debt? Do we need to legislate so the home is inspected before it can be sold? (Full disclosure has its merits) Should the home loan lenders do more due diligence and actually find out what the condition of the property really is instead of just seeing if the numbers stack up? (Some astute lending institutions are now doing this) After all they do hold the title until the last dollar on the mortgage is paid. Or do we just leave it as it is and keep running with the old Caveat Emptor theory of let the buyer beware. A conservative estimate is only 30% of purchasers get pre purchase inspection done leaving 70% playing Russian roulette with financial devastation. Many of these are carried out by a well meaning relative or a mate of a mate and have no regard for the minimum requirements of the Australian Standards for pre purchase inspections for residential buildings yet they use the opinions of their relative or mate to void a purchase agreement. Shouldn’t this at least be an opinion of a professional experienced property inspector?
When you consider the average pre purchase inspection cost is about 0.1% (that’s zero point one percent) of the purchase price, most fair minded people would consider that is an insignificant cost to safe guard your financial future. Are buyers not getting a pre purchase inspection because of the cost? Are buyers not getting a pre purchase inspection due to sales pressure? Are buyers not getting a pre purchase inspection simply because they are not aware the service is available?
I’ve raised many questions here I would like your opinion on so please feel free to add your comments.