Pre-purchase inspection: Do you need one and what is good value?

Avoid buying a lemon with a thorough pre-purchase inspection.

When you are a first time homebuyer, you are most likely making the biggest financial investment of your life so far.  You have also most likely worked very hard, and made many sacrifices to save the deposit, and then you discover the other costs involved in buying a home, eg: Lawyers Fees, a Valuation, Pre-Purchase Inspection, LIM report, Reinstatement Assessment for insurance purposes.  It can be quite intimidating when you are trying to stretch yourself into the best home you can.

Therefore, it is natural to look for where to save money, and what you can ‘get away without doing’ – but is this a true saving?

pre-purchase inspection The NZ Institute of Building Surveyors states on its website: “In recent years, New Zealand housing has been subjected to disasters such as Leaky Building Syndrome, poor construction practices, questionable building materials, and faulty workmanship.  Often purchasers have minimal equity in the purchase of a house… This places the building owner, along with the financial institutions, in a vulnerable position which can result in either financial or property loss”.
We have all heard stories where a first time buyer moves into their apartment block believing it was a ‘sure bet’ and finds on the first AGM that the whole block has to be re-clad for weathertightness, and they are looking at costs in excess of $100,000 to do this.

Or the young parents who have stretched themselves into a house that had just been beautifully renovated, to find that the renovation works are not consented, not compliant with building code, and have potentially compromised the structure of the house.

Situations like these can easily be avoided by investing in a good quality Pre-Purchase Inspection completed by a reputable company.

What is a Reputable Company?

There are a lot of people on the market offering pre-purchase inspections.  Some of them might be friends of the family, someone who used to be ‘in the trade’ or has ‘done a few renovation projects’.  While the intentions of these people are undoubted good, you need to ask if they have the right qualifications to be a safe investment of your confidence and money.
There are two qualifications that you need to look for: RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) which is recognised worldwide, and NZIBS (NZ Institute of Building Surveyors). These institutions have rigorous standards. Check your

building inspector has at least one of these qualifications.  David Clifton, Director of HomebuyersReports Ltd is a member of both, and works with these institutions training and assessing new members.  This enables him to be on top of all the current issues out there, ensuring that the inspection Homebuyers Reports Ltd is doing is of a high standard. 

How do I find a Reputable Company?

The best method is always a referral.  At Homebuyers Reports Ltd the majority of our work comes through word of mouth, and often referrals from lawyers and banks who know the company’s standard of inspection and reporting can be relied upon.

Look for how much experience the inspectors have, and what involvement they have in the industry. For example David Clifton of Homebuyers Reports Ltd brings experience from both inside NZ and abroad, and works with Auckland University on training and developing the next generation of Building Surveyors.

If you haven’t got a referral, using a site such as The First Home Buyers Club for advice is also helpful.

What is Good Value for Money?

Some companies offer a more basic ‘tick box’ solution where they walk through room by room looking for already specified items, while other companies, such as Homebuyers, will look for what is particular to the site.
Some companies offer different levels of service claiming to meet your affordability, but be very aware of what you are compromising if you opt for a cheaper option. The building code is not measured through Gold, Silver and Bronze – buildings either comply or they do not.

Homebuyers Reports provide a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection report which goes further than just ‘ticking boxes’; each report is customised to each property and building, ensuring everything is covered. It will allow you to really ‘know’ your building, understand what you are buying into, and what costs may lie ahead.

Only you, as the first time buyer, can answer the question of how comfortable and confident you are with the company you have chosen, but when you are spending $100,000’s on your first home, and have worked so hard to get to that position, make sure you are fully informed on the quality of what you are purchasing.  Saving $100 here and there during the buying process can easily become a false economy.

Home Buyers Reports provides a First Home Buyer’s Club Member Offer

Pre-Purchase Inspection
  • $50 Off Any Home Inspection Report

Dustin Lindale November 14, 2017 Blog, Tips for First Home Buyers