Making sense of property jargon: reports, tests, and building inspections

If you’re new to the property game or you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for some time, the range of tests, building inspections, and reports at your disposal can be both daunting and overwhelming. Before bidding at auction or putting an offer on paper, it’s important to do the groundwork and request the right reports and inspections to save yourself time, money, and heartache further down the track.

Pre-purchase property inspections, meth tests, LIM reports, property files… You’ll hear a bunch of terms throughout your property purchase journey, so it pays to understand what they mean before you get in too deep. Here’s a rundown of what these all mean and how they can help you make the best possible property purchase.

Property File

The local council is a wealth of information when it comes to purchasing property, and getting your hands on the property file is one of the first steps to understanding a property you’re looking at. The property file is a collection of all the documents the council holds on a particular property, including construction plans and any correspondence with the council.

You can request the property file from the council yourself and on most properties, you can visually match any works or alterations to the property with the information in the report. If there’s no record of any additions, the works could be non-permitted or non-consented and potentially costly for the new owner. Check out our guide to non-consented works to find out more about using your property file to avoid any issues with non-consented works.

LIM Report

Like the property file, the council also holds the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) for a property. The LIM report is a summary of all information about a property and includes rates, building consents, development of the property, and potential risks such as flooding or erosion. Prospective purchasers can request the report from the council, though it is often supplied via the vendor’s real estate agent. Have your lawyer cast an eye over the report to spot any potential risks or issues with the property before making an offer or heading along to auction.

Meth Testing

‘P’ houses and meth labs have all been hot topics in the news in recent years and no one wants to risk their family’s health or their investment by buying a contaminated property. Detecting meth contamination is a specialty test performed by professionals who swab sections of the property and analyse whether there is any level of contamination.

Smoking or producing the illegal drug can contaminate a property and a positive result could make it hard to secure tenants and impact the future resale potential. It’s expensive to decontaminate a property so if you have any concerns, have the property inspected by a professional before making an offer. Although I don’t offer this specialist service myself, I’m always happy to recommend someone so just get in touch.

Building Inspections

Of course, before writing an offer on a property or waving that hand around at an auction, building inspections are a critical step to provide peace of mind with your purchase. When performed by a professional building inspector, a building inspection will spot major defects or issues with the property and identify areas that could prove to be problematic in the future. The findings of a building inspection report may even provide an angle to negotiate on price. A building inspection will check moisture levels, foundations, structural conditions, building materials, and more. Having a professional building inspector give their unbiased report can eliminate unwelcome future surprises and give you the confidence to secure your new home or investment.

Keen on a property and ready to get a building inspection? Get a free quote today.

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