Tips for property season from a building inspections expert

Getting ready for property season – from an Auckland building inspections veteran

Regardless of whether the property market has slowed or not, summer is always a busier time of year. If you’re looking to buy, it’s vital that you’re prepped and ready to go before you make an offer or bid at an auction. From my construction and building inspections background, I’ve put together my five top tips for getting ready for property season:

Find out any issues in advance

One of my clients found a house they loved and that looked great on the surface so decided to forgo the property inspection beforehand. Unfortunately, once they’d made the agreement they realised that the property was not constructed out of timber framing, as they had thought, but instead from composite panels. While this changed their minds about wanting the property, it unfortunately was not the kind of thing that would void the purchase agreement, and so they had to complete the purchase. Had they had a building inspection report carried out, they likely would not have made an offer on that particular property.

Get someone who knows what to look for on board

It takes experience to notice the potential problems a house could have, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get caught out. A house that looks great on the surface may have bigger issues, so make sure you bring in someone with a background in building to identify small problems that could turn into bigger ones, such as faulty tiling, leaks, or risks due to cladding types. These are the issues that take an expert to spot, so it always pays to ask a professional building inspector for their opinion. With my construction and building inspections experience, I notice things that the average home buyer wouldn’t.

Watch out for the fine print

With many houses selling at auction, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding wars. However, bidding = buying. Once you’ve made an offer for a property via a bid, you are now legally committed to the sale. Even if your sale and purchase agreement gives you options to cancel the deal, sometimes they’re not worded in your favour and they are legally binding. Get a property lawyer to look over any contracts before you sign and protect yourself from any issues later.

Weigh up the cost

If you’re attending an auction for a home, a pre-auction property inspection may seem like an unnecessary cost when there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the property. However, the same can be said if you have signed a Sale & Purchase Agreement and need to get out of the deal. You’ll need to engage the services of a lawyer, will be far higher than if you had obtained a pre-auction/pre-offer property inspection.

Likewise, the cost of a property could go up exponentially when you take into account any issues that may cost you far more down the line in repairs. When you’re looking at buying a property, factor the cost of building inspections (several, if needed) into your budget. While the cost may seem unnecessary, there’s nothing worse than finding out that you’ve spent a million bucks on a property which needs a large sum of money spent on it.

Put your emotions aside

I’ve seen many buyers become emotionally attached to a faulty property, particularly when it’s their first home. No matter how perfect a house may seem, there are some problems that can’t be fixed – such as borer in the walls. My job is to give you the facts about a property, even if they’re hard to hear. Try as hard as you can to avoid getting emotionally attached to a property before you know whether it’s actually fit for purpose.


If you’re browsing around the housing market at the moment, pre-purchase building inspections on any house you’re considering is just good sense – and will help save you a huge amount of money and stress further down the line. Get in touch today for a quality building inspection with results you can trust.