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Vendor beware: Why real estate agents should be encouraging building inspections

Usually, a pre-purchase home inspection is about removing any nasty surprises for the buyers. But what about the vendor? Is there any benefit in a vendor organising a building inspection?

When working with real estate agents, my biggest advice is to encourage vendors to get inspected (get their home inspected, that is). So why should vendors get a pre-sale building inspection?

It identifies any potential issue areas

Most people who’ve lived in a property for some time assume that if they don’t notice any big issues (smells, squeaky floors, or staining on the walls) then their house is fine. The problem is that, particularly when it comes to weather tightness or dampness, by the time it becomes obvious it has been happening for a long time, and the damage and cost to fix are massive.

Before a property goes to market, a detailed, professional weather tightness building inspection is essential – it identifies any general or preventative maintenance that needs to be carried out to present the house in the best possible condition. More importantly though, it also identifies everything that could be a larger issue – more expensive repairs, or weather tightness issues, that may be a red flag for someone purchasing the property or more importantly something that a purchaser’s bank or lender will not approve finance for. This information allows the real vendor to plan repairs for those issues in advance of going to market.

It strengthens negotiations

Being able to identify issues is one thing – but what can actually be done with that information? There are two options – either a vendor can disclose any issues when going to market and price the property accordingly, ensuring they’re more likely to actually get what they’re asking for, or they can carry out the work, document it, and use that as part of a marketing programme. Be sure if you do carry out any works that they are well documented. The builder or contractor should take photos of the damage, the repairs and materials used. This is very helpful when a prospective purchaser has the building inspected as these works, the reason they were needed, and any relevant warranty or guarantees can be easily provided to the inspector and the purchasers lawyers etc.

Being able to show areas which have been recently improved and are no longer issues improves the negotiating power of the vendor, and, often even adds value to the property. Seven out of ten people have leaky showers that are causing hidden damage – so if you’re able to fix that before it’s a problem, you’ll be able to demonstrate how you’ve saved them potentially tens of thousands in repairs, while still ensuring you’re getting top dollar for the property. It’s a win-win situation.

It prevents litigation

Every agent tries to portray a property they’re selling in the best light – but if the reality is significantly different to what you’re selling, then you could be in trouble once a deal has been made. By being upfront about any potential issues, vendors and agents can avoid any push-back from buyers who might be inclined to say they were sold something under false advertising.

It avoids last minute pull-outs

So many times when I do an inspection report, my clients will find themselves without finance – with the banks refusing approval because of issues identified in the report, they often find themselves pulling out of the deal at the last minute. The agent’s already done all this work, the vendor’s at the point of signing the contract and has mentally moved on, and then the bank refuses to lend – leaving the vendor without a deal and the agent having wasted their time.

Having a building inspection completed by the vendor means avoiding these kinds of nasty surprises. Buyers know up front what they’re dealing with, and are unlikely to make an offer that won’t go through if they know what kind of conditions their bank has on their financing.

So many agents prefer not to get building inspections, but if you’ve spent 4-6 weeks marketing a property and the deals are falling through at the last minute, why wouldn’t you do something to prevent your hard work from being wasted? No matter what condition you believe a home is in, a building inspection will highlight any potential issues, putting vendor, agent, and buyer all in a position to achieve the best possible outcome – without any surprises. Remember it’s not just plaster homes from a certain era that leak. All cladding types can and do leak. Homes from all eras (including new builds) can and do leak. It’s about design, build quality, materials used and ongoing maintenance.

Avoid any nasty surprises – contact us today.

Weather Tight Solutions