“Subject to building inspection” applies to the sale of a property being contingent on a satisfactory building inspection, as requested/required by the buyer. This is a smart move especially when buying an older property which might have a number of hidden issues. Newer properties can also benefit from a building inspection just to make sure that the building is up to code.

As a buyer, you can request a “Subject to building inspection” condition to be added to your contract. This means that the sale of the property will only be a done deal after a standard building inspection has been done. You can also add other pre-purchase requirements, such as the seller shouldering expenses for any and all necessary repairs; the freedom to back out of the sale if the inspection reveals issues you do not deem acceptable; or the opportunity to renegotiate the seller’s price.

You might need the help of a legal professional or another real estate expert to adequately word the “Subject to building inspection” clause in your contract and ensure that it is favorable to you. At the same time, your requests should be fair to the seller as this would help your negotiations go more smoothly. The latter is particularly important if you and your family feel that you have finally found your dream home.

The next thing you need to know is what to expect from a building inspection. A qualified and experienced inspector will thoroughly assess the overall condition of the property. It would be an added bonus if the inspector is also familiar with the location, as he would be able include in his report a fairer risk assessment with regards to the property’s immediate environment as well as the greater community it belongs to. For example, you can learn from the building inspector’s report if the location is prone to flooding or if it has a history of drainage issues.

A standard building inspection includes the following:

  • Building interior: ceiling and roof space; floors; windows; inner and retaining walls; wiring; HVAC system; plumbing and drainage.
  • Building exterior: roof exterior; guttering; under-floor space; external structures, which include the garage, garden shed, driveway, fencing, and paths.
  • An inspection for signs of asbestos and/or pest infestation may also be done, but these are usually separate services and, therefore, will incur additional costs.

Requesting for a “Subject to building inspection” condition in your contract will not only help you get a fairer price for the property; you will also get a better idea of your potential new home’s current issues and future risks that could affect the property’s structural integrity and value and which might burden you with huge expenditures. The building inspector’s report can also give you more wiggle room to renegotiate not just the price of the property, but other contract conditions, as well.

And most importantly, a building inspection will give you peace of mind as it can guarantee that your family will be comfortable and safe in your new home.