We often get calls for people wishing to get pre-purchase timber pest inspections or termite inspections done however their first question should be their last question and that is how much does it cost. Everyone seems to worry about how much the inspection will cost instead of how good the inspection will be, when you are looking at purchasing possibly your biggest investment ever trying to save one or two hundred dollars may cost you thousands. A pre-purchase report is designed to try an outline and report on visible defects on your house, therefore you will usually find someone doing an inspection very cheap will only have a limited amount of tools whereby spending a little bit extra your inspector may have more tools available to them to try and detect possible defects. this in turn will then give you a more informed opinion about the house and surrounds where you can then determine if you want to pay the agreed amount, negotiate more off the price or not purchase the property at all. So Below is a list of questions which you should be asking your potential pre-purchase inspector and why you should ask them.
This should be an obvious question and nowadays most inspectors are insured but you would hate to find out after they have carried out your work that they are not insured to do the work you have employed them for.
2. Are you licensed and how long have you been licensed for?
Obviously someone should not be carrying out a pre-purchase timber pest inspection for you if they are not licensed and unfortunately a pest inspection licence is very easy to obtain therefore it is best if you find someone who has several years experience in the industry.
3. Do you do timber pest inspections and building inspections?
It is very common that people in the building industry go out and get their pest inspection licence so as they can carry out both inspections that are normally done when purchasing a house. This can be good as it may save you some money as you're only paying for one person to do the inspection. However quite often they will not have experienced that a pest control person will have to carry out the timber pest inspection you will also find that they may not be able to provide you with estimations on pest control rectification work that may have to get done.
4. What equipment do you use during your inspection?
To carry out a pest inspection as to the Australian standards you do not require a lot of equipment, realistically they may have something to go and tap the timbers with and a moisture metre. however if your your inspector has additional tools like a thermal camera, a termatrac machine or a termite detection dog you should find that they will be able to carry out and much more accurate and detailed report. If your inspector does have a thermal camera I would recommend that you ask what the resolution is of the camera this is very important as a very cheap camera will not give you the same detection level as a more expensive camera that has better resolution, it is my personal opinion with that a thermal camera used for this type of inspection should have a minimum resolution of 320 X 240, anything lower than this would not be very beneficial.
5. Are there photos in the report you provide me?
Photos in the report can help you determine where the inspector has detected any problems that he has reported on.
6. Are you happy to talk to me about any issues you have found during the report?
It is always good if your inspector is happy to run through any problems he has detected as you can get more information or a clearer picture of the problem by talking to them instead of what is written in a report.
7. If there are inaccessible areas how much will it cost for you to go back and recheck these areas?
Quite often we carry out an inspection and some areas that should be inspected for access cannot be gained for one reason or another therefore if they are high risk areas access should be gained so a more informed opinion can be made. This can be a variable question as you do not always know what areas need to get re-inspected. Obviously this requires the inspect it to allocate more time and revisit the site which will cost additional money but is highly recommended.
8. How long will it take you to be able to do the inspection?
This may be important due to the competition in purchasing the house and the market state at the time of purchase.
9. What is your report turnaround time?
Obviously the quicker you get the report after the inspection the better it is for you, you do not want to be waiting days for a report to come through.
10. How much is my report going to cost?
This should be your last question and you can then lay up all the information you have gained to determine whether you think the inspector is charging you an appropriate amount because without all the information you will not compare apples with apples. so bear in mind that the more equipment the inspector has and the better report you will receive will cost you more money but the cost involved is insignificant to the cost of your potential purchase.
This blog has been written mainly to refer to pre-purchase inspections however is relative to termite inspections as well. I hope you find it very useful and beneficial to you. This blog has been written by Paul Hosey, I have been involved in the pest industry since 2000 and been involved in expert reports for the court of law.