It is the buyer’s responsibility to organise and pay for a pre-purchase building and pest inspection. So what do you need to know about organising a building and pest inspection before buying a house?

Unless otherwise stated in the contract, you will have 14 days – the standard period – within which you should hire an inspector, have the inspection completed, review the report, and make your decision to go through with the purchase or terminate the contract.

It would be best if you already have a qualified inspector ready prior to initiating a subject-to-a-building-and-pest-inspection condition in your contract. This way, you can maximize the 14-day period allotted for your requested pre-purchase building and pest inspection.

A building inspection is usually separate from a pest inspection as these deal with different aspects of a property. A building inspection assesses the overall condition of a structure, both inside and outside, and looks for structural issues, maintenance problems, and safety hazards. A pest inspection, on the other hand, looks for evidence of pest infestation. If you want both types of inspection done, this could mean hiring two, different experts and scheduling two, different inspections.

After you have hired a building inspector, he will then have to contact your real estate agent/seller to schedule the inspection of the property. If the building is still occupied, the agent will have to coordinate with the tenants before he can finalize the inspection date.

You should receive the inspector’s report after 24 hours. Some companies offer same-day reports. The sooner you can get your hands on the report, the sooner you’ll find out what issues the property has, if any, and the more time you’ll have to decide how to renegotiate with the seller (if the report gives you the wiggle room to do so) or whether or not you’ll withdraw from the contract before the 14 days expire. The seller may also need to be given a copy of the inspection report if it was stipulated in the “Subject to building and pest inspection” clause.

Even brand-new homes can have defects; many pre-owned properties are spruced up to make them more appealing and increase its value. Some houses are better maintained than others; and it’s also not unusual for some sellers to be completely unaware that their property has issues. Before you organise a building and pest inspection, make sure that the “Subject to building and pest inspection” condition in your contract is worded as specifically and broadly as you need it to be so that the stipulations are in your favor while also being fair to the seller.

Remember that any minor or major issues detected after you organise a building and pest inspection will mean added costs. So you and the seller will have to agree on who will shoulder the expenses to take care of what kinds of issues. Again, you can simply negotiate a lower price for the property depending on what problems are revealed in the inspector’s report. Or you can opt to back out of the purchase if the issues are unacceptable to you.