Buyer Beware: Read Between The Lines
There are 3 key points to consider when buying a home:
1. The Real Estate Agent works for the vendor, not YOU. As a rule, agents get paid a commission and they will generally only get paid if they can sell you the property. Many agents will refer you to the Yellow Pages or Google to find a building and pest inspection company and some will simply give you the business card of their preferred inspector.
2. Building inspectors and companies that declare their income to be less than $300,000 per annum do not need to meet the Building Services Authority (BSA)’s Financial Licensing Requirements. These companies/inspectors can also seek exemption from having Professional Indemnity Insurance on the grounds of financial hardship. This impacts on you the client as you will have no insurance in the event that a serious issue/defect has not been identified by the inspector in the report potentially costing you tens of thousands of dollars to rectify.
These same companies/inspectors spend tens of thousands on marketing, promoting themselves but will not spend any on Professional Indemity Insurance (Your Protection). If you are ringing around for a quote please ask if they are insured, and don't be shy to request a copy of their certificate of currency. By law companies/inspectors must inform all clients in writing prior to carrying out any inspection if they do not hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. However this can be buried in tiny obscure print at the bottom of an email or in the terms and conditions.
3. Understand when engaging a building and pest inspector/company that their reports are not a guarantee or a warranty for the property. The building inspection is an appraisal of the property's condition on the day of the inspection. However at QBPR, we stand by our reports and our inspectors and we hold Professional Indemnity Insurance for your protection.
In New South Wales, effective 16 September 2009, building consultancy work is no longer regulated under the Home Building Act in NSW. Now anyone can hold themselves out as a consultant and there is no way the consumer can check for licences.
When buying a property it is important to get professional and independent advice so make sure to choose your advisors, inspectors and contractors wisely.