Why cutting corners on property reports can mean big trouble

The right pre-purchase building inspection can save you thousands of dollars by exposing expensive problems.

When you're looking to buy a property, thorough property inspections and reports carried out by qualified professionals can be expensive. However, before you consider cutting corners, it's worth considering how much more it could cost you in the long run. Veteran buyer's agent Tod Peterson explains:

There’s been some talk in the industry about the subject of agents recommending building and pest inspectors, where the reports have not been done professionally with defects and building issues being missed. Tod Peterson explains.


Evidently it’s been happening quite a bit in capital cities and regional areas, where certain inspection companies are referred by real estate agents, because the agents know that these companies will do a quick report without discovering too much wrong with the property.

It can’t be stressed enough that it is imperative that these reports are done by professionals with a proven track record. If not, you’re just throwing money down the drain. And it’s your legal right to have a professional building and pest inspection done on the property you’re intending to purchase.

This helps your buyer’s agent too, because they are then able to leverage off this and use it as a negotiating tool to reduce the price of the property. It ensures that you won’t be forking out thousands of dollars in correcting building defects you discover months after you move in!

Some time ago, a client of mine was about to purchase a two by three bedroom apartment in a relatively new complex in Darwin’s CBD. I suggested we get some reports done, but because the developer owned the units, my client felt that getting a swag of reports done was a bit of overkill and not really warranted. Not long after her purchase, she discovered to her absolute horror that the electrical and water services in the unit… wait for it… were not connected up! So needless to say, a fair amount of cost was involved in getting that issue rectified.

Another client of mine was about to purchase a house in Rapid Creek, a lovely seaside area in Darwin’s northern suburbs. It was an old house, tenanted, and the owner of the property lived interstate. Again, the client declined on getting inspections done. He thought it was a bit of overplay because the house was old and he was going to renovate it anyway.

However, he erred on the side of caution and decided to get the reports completed. A good thing too, because the inspections revealed not only a leaking pool, which would have cost $15,000 to get relined, but also a massive termite infestation! Had he not had the reports done, just to rectify these two issues alone would have set him back $55,000! And as the report turned up a few more expensive building issues, I was able to leverage the purchase price down and saved my client a whopping $85,000 off the sale price.

So the proof is in the pudding (sorry, for the pun, but Christmas is nearly here). Do get the inspection reports done. Yes, it’s time consuming and tedious, but it will save you an absolute truckload of money in the long run, and if any problems are discovered, your buyer’s agent can use it as a bargaining tool to negotiate a great purchase price for you.

And more importantly, getting the reports completed allows you peace of mind.

What do you think? Have you ever had a less-than-stellar property inspection done on one of your properties? Share your experience by posting a comment below.

Tod Peterson

  • Tod Peterson is the director for Peterson's Property Search, a leading buyer's agent service that caters exclusively for property buyers in the Northern Territory.
  • Tod has over 28 years of industry experience and works with residential, commercial, rural and development markets
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Home Loan Offers

Important Information*
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000

Take advantage of a low-fee mortgage with a special interest rate of just 3.59% p.a. and a 3.59% p.a. comparison rate.

HSBC Home Value Loan - (Owner Occupier P&I)

Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. Available with just a 10% deposit.

loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)

A competitive interest rate home loan with interest only options. Interest rate 3.64% p.a.
comp rate of 3.66% p.a.

Tic:Toc Live in Loan Variable Rate - Principal & Interest

Get a very low interest rate and avoid big fees. Apply online for full approval in under 30 minutes and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site