When it comes to property, looks can be deceiving. Your dream home could hide many defects that are not immediately obvious to the ordinary buyer.

Purchasing a brand new house or unit, does not guarantee that the property will be free of issues – sometimes builders cut corners or forget to do things like waterproofing the bathroom.

How do I find out about any defects before I purchase?

Many defects are only discoverable through ordering a building and pest inspection before committing to purchase the property.

Not obtaining a building and pest inspection means that you could purchase a house that may cost you thousands of dollars to repair. Unseen issues such as dampness and rotting floorboards can be expensive. Pest infestations (such as termites) can be catastrophic for a home owner.

You may also find you have trouble selling the property later on if buyers are diligent and obtain their own inspection.

What if I don’t have time to get a building and pest inspection?

Sometimes agents will put pressure on prospective buyers to commit to the sale as quickly as possible. They might tell you that other offers have been made that match yours, and the quickest person to exchange contracts will be the successful purchaser.

If you are in a hurry to exchange contracts, you can do so with a cooling off-period. Legislation in NSW provides buyers with a 5 business day cooling-off period, during which time you can pull out of the purchase (however you will forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price).

If the agent or vendor’s solicitor insists upon exchanging contracts without the cooling-off period, you will need to get the building and pest inspection done before contracts are exchanged. This may mean that someone else gets in first and purchases the property, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Not obtaining a property inspection before you purchase simply isn’t worth the risk – ask yourself whether you would prefer to purchase a place that could cost you a significant amount to repair; or would you rather risk missing out on the purchase because you took the time to conduct a thorough inspection?