• David Benfell


If you haven't read our post on whether you need to get a building inspection or a pest inspection, we suggest you read that first. The short answer is 'yes' you should get one, but that post sets out some other things you should think about. In this post we look at some different inspection condition wording and what yours might need to say.

It isn't just 'fine print' - if you don't pay attention to what your inspection condition says, you might pay hundreds of dollars for your inspection report (or reports if you get both building and pest inspections done separately); the report might disclose problems which will cost you thousands to fix; but if your contract is not worded appropriately you might still have to purchase the property and have no opportunity even to negotiate a reduced price or have the vendor attend to repairs.

An appropriately worded condition might give you the opportunity to walk away from the purchase if it discloses things which aren't satisfactory.

If the special condition only gives you rights if the building is not 'structurally sound' or if there is a 'major structural defect', then you might still get stuck with purchasing a property which needs thousands spent on repairs. Likewise, if a pest inspection condition only gives you rights if the report shows evidence of 'current infestation' then you might have to accept a property with pest damage if the inspector can't establish whether it is still infested or not.

There is limitless variety in pest and building inspection conditions, and what is appropriate for you will depend on factors including the age and type of property, your own ability to assess the condition of the property, and your appetite for risk. It will also depend on the property market and what you can get the vendor to agree to. If the vendor has similar offers from two purchasers, one from a purchaser who wants their position protected and one from a purchaser who doesn't care, the purchaser who doesn't care will likely get the property. If you're are the careful purchaser, you might take comfort that the careless one is also get the resulting problems!

We suggest you pay attention to the wording of the inspection conditions in your contract, and don't assume that the one provided by the vendor (or even the 'standard' one included in the contract) will be suitable for your protection. Get advice before you sign.