Do I Need a Building and Pest Inspection on 10 Year Townhouse?

Long story short.

We signed a contract for town house in Melbourne's west.(private sale) Exciting times!

It lasted only few hours as my conveyancer told me why i didn't ask for subject to pest and building inspection. Although she also added if it is few years old then you might not need it to get it done but it is money worth spending.

So i rang back the agent and as expected, he said "Should have asked for it before the signing of the contract" or else i can get it done after my loan is approved as the property is subject to finance.

Now, I am panicking as the agent's answer didn't give any assurances.

Confused with what to do next, "Threaten the agent that i will pull off the contract (within cooling-off period) if he doesn't let me before the approval" or just suck it up and hope for the best.

Hoping to get some answers from community members.


  • +6

    Its good to have a building inspection no matter how old is the house however in worst case scenario (hopefully not in your case), if building is about to collapse due to termite, tell that to the bank, they will freeze the loan (subject to finance). I think you be fine. Congratulation on your purchase, enjoy!.

    • Thanks a ton friend, appreciate your comment and wishes.The house looks pretty good and went around to check and didn't feel it was having issues regarding building or termites but since my conveyancer alerted me and subsequent answer by the agent makes me little worried.

      He said we can get the inspection done after the loan. Can we push him to get it done before the loan approval?

      • +2

        I would still do it, that way you have some understanding of the house.

  • +1

    Why don't you try to get the building and pest done within the cooling off period?

    We bought a renovated house where the guy spent top dollar on it, and we still wanted the building and pest.

    • I asked agent and he said you can do it after the loan approval. Kinda make me suspicious after that.

      • +4

        That is weird, but i guess he wants it as unconditional. (profanity) i hate agents.

        • Yes, indeed very weird. He wants unconditional, but we are happy to buy it if it is all good. Just concern me when he said that. I guess not the most loved profession.

        • Not wierd at all. The agent is working tooth and nail for the vendor and has a politician’s understanding of the concept of truth….

      • Just been through this and mine was subject to finance and building inspection…
        Building inspection was done 2 days after my offer was accepted while finance took few more days.


        • I can get it done tomorrow but seems like agent is reluctant. How did your one went?

          • @OSA: Mine was about 5 weeks ago now, so memory is a bit blurry…
            but mine picked up several things I'll need to attend to..

            The report from memory was 40 odd pages - most of it is a form letter where they fill in the blanks to say good/bad/needs attention etc

      • yeah you can do it after loan approval, but won't be able to do anything WITH it. Once the loan is approved, the agent is guaranteed his commission, and the fact that you just bought a house that will fall down around your ears is not his concern whatsoever.

        Are are right to be suspicious.

  • +3

    This is part of being a grown up.
    You get to pick whether you can derail your finance to get out of the deal, or go through.
    If it were me, I would probably spend the $600 or so to get the report prior to the finance outcome. In the rare event there is a serious issue it might save you.
    But really, most of the price of housing is the land. Maybe the place is riddled with termites, but if so it would be hard to miss. Maybe the walls were built on unsound foundations, but if they have lasted ten years…

    But please don't post next month that you have moved in and there is a crack in the gyprock behind the wardrobe and you want compensation.

    • Thanks a ton for your comment and appreciate the info provided. Can we derail the finance though?

      The house looked good and it was presented well with normal wear and tear.I am willing to spend the money but the agent told I can get it done after the loan is approved. So that didn't give much comfort.

      • Sure you can try to flunk your finance application - but doing so might backfire as normal subject to finance clauses obliges you to make best endeavours in good faith.
        Deliberately sabotaging your application would be a breach.

      • +1

        Have an inspection urgently, if anything serious is found, let your lender know, promptly, that serious problems with the structure of the property have been found. That may help you out, as they may be open to cancelling loan approval.

    • But please don't post next month that you have moved in and there is a crack in the gyprock behind the wardrobe and you want compensation.

      hahaha whatever happened to that guy?

  • -1

    Has your offer been accepted as yet? If not, you should rescind it and replace it with a new offer subject to Building and Pest Inspection.

    • Yes it is accepted already.

  • +1

    Depends on how much of stress it is causing you.

    • If you threaten to cancel during cooling off period; are you willing to walk away from the house if they say no. In the current market, they might just say "OK, good bye" and sell to the next person at a higher price.

    • From the seller side, they have a signed contract - why would they change it to add clauses that increases the risk of them not selling. Maybe you need to give them something in return of the additional risk they are taking on. Maybe increase your offer and tell the real estate agent you will pay $x more if the contract is amended to subject to building and pest inspection.

    • Very good points here:

      • 100% agreed that in current market they can always find someone else, and we are back to square to start searching and fighting over the other properties.

      • That is good suggestion. I guess that can also tell me if there is some real issues with the property or not if they refuse that.

  • +3

    It sounds like you sign the contract without your conveyancer present, usually you need to sent the contract to your conveyancer and go through together. If I were you, I will tell the real estate agent that you will pull out from the deal (cooling off period, 5 business day here in NSW) if they are not letting you get the pest inspection done tomorrow.

    Note: be prepared to lose the townhouse though.

    Better safe than sorry, at least you can pull out now.

  • +2

    Never worried about building and pest with townhouse purchases as you always have strata to fall back on for the building and if termites were an issues int he complex 99/100 strata would be treating. Buying a house you should def get done

    • That is comforting to hear indeed and make sense. Building insurance is part of the body corporate fee that we will pay. Hopefully that covers that :)

    • Agree with this. A townhouse should be strata title, where most building issues will be covered by strata and probably minuted if it's been spotted before. Please say you got a strata report.

    • good point, I missed that it is strata titled.

  • Short answer is Yes for your peace of mind đŸ˜·

  • +3

    Lol, this is the equivalent to asking for a lawyer after you're already in in jail.

    Don't sign until someone has checked the contract for you.

    • Yes admit the mistake but it is different from going to a jail. Didn't commit a crime for sure lol

      • I've bought a few properties and always sign without a conveyancer. Usually there is some crossed out figures, some pencilled in conditions etc before you get 2 signatures - you don't want to be paying a lawyer for that. After you have a signed contract, get the conveyancer involved before coolig off period is up.
        Only once was the contract so messed up that the conveyancer re-wrote it.

        It would be a mistake to sign a contract without a subject to satisfactory inspection clause if you wanted the inspection, but it's not a mistake to sign a contract without a lawyer. Sales contracts, in Queensland and SA at least, are not that complicated.

        • What are you talking about? Most conveyances are fixed price. May as well get your bang for your buck and get them to review your contract before signing. Majority of potential disputes are due to the contract.

  • +4

    Ring the agent and say that to get the finance the bank (don't tell them which one as it's your future bank) needs a pest and building inspection, so you need to organize it ASAP and let the real estate agent squirm. Payback's a bi&ch.

  • meh, it's a ten year old house, what can go wrong? I bought the house older than me, without a lawyer or conveyancer before signing the contract and no pest inspection. The bank eventually came out doing their own inspection but years later down the track I found that the guy didn't do much of an inspection than walking around looking for crack.
    Let me tell you if you do your due diligent you can tell if the house is structurally sound or not, being in Melbourne termite is highly unlikely. For an old house building and pest inspection is more of a leverage point so you can negotiate with seller to take some price off so you can remedy those defects but it's kind of a moot point in seller market right now.

    • We did the same, purchased a house built in the 1960s without any inspections, or finance approved or having looked at it before….. the price was the lowest that we had seen in the area and at auction we could either miss out and have to pay another 100k for something else.

      The reality was that the land is where the value was for this block.

  • +1

    I would still get it done. They pick up on a lot of defects which even if not substantial make the place better once fixed. Some of the ones picked up for our place include, leaning piers, missing ant caps and sinking walls requiring underpinning, and sub-floor drainage problems. Got some tradies around to fix so all good.

  • Given that it's a town house, more importantly you'd just need to check the strata report.

    Also request for last AGM minutes.

    These pest/termite inspections should be a part of the AGM meetings and there will be notes on when it was last done and when it's next necessary

    If there are major problems with the building structure, it probably would've been pointed out and they'd be planning to use the funds to cover fixing it.

    In conclusion, you wouldn't need pest / building inspection with a good strata report.

  • I would absolutely arrange ASAP prior to finance clause. In fact if it can't be done prior to finance approval, just hold off on notifying receipt of finance until after building and pest inspection. If need be seek extension on finance (how many banks realistically give unconditional approval within the first finance timeframe).
    Incidentally, most of the advice suggesting you don't need it above alludes to termite issues. Building and pest inspection will give you insight into many more things, like damp, structural issues you can't obviously see, build quality, maintenance issues, poor/dodgy repairs and renos etc. It's a small price to pay for insight and the ability to foresee potential issues.

  • Get it done. Good ones have very detailed reports usefull for old houses which are the important parts that needs fixing. Then when you get the house you know which and where needs attention rather an a builder telling you what to do.

  • A house is the biggest purchase you will ever make. Of course you should get a building and pest report. It is a small price to pay to ensure you are making a sound investment. I bought a house that was only a few years old. I didn't get the building and pest because I too thought, it's new, it will be fine. Within a year it was evident that the foundation was screwed. I sold it pretty quickly thereafter. Fortunately, the buyers also didn't bother with a building and pest. It is now their problem, not mine!

    I've learnt a valuable lesson. I'll always get a building and pest, irrespective of the age of the house!

  • +1

    Explain to the agent you want to get it done so you can arrange for whatever maintainance might be needed for your peace of mind and at your expense. But in this market most every property is getting multiple unconditional or just finance condition offers. So be prepared for them to decline anyways.

    Nonetheless most building and pest have the same template and not worth the paper they are written on. All filled with may, might, could, would and a million disclaimers removing liability if they missed any issues. If you can see obvious things like stepped cracking, rotted termite infested timber and leaning retaining, moisture ingress etc then pull out during cooling off or finance.

  • Absolutely get building and pest if it is worrying you, and it should! Building is minimum. At 10 years, building inspection should advise if termite treated materials were used. But if concerned, it will be worth the money to get both.

    If you've signed contract and you later wish to back out, you can do that but it will cost you. If you go down that path, you'll need to understand what those costs are. At that point, and given potential amounts involved, get legal advice rather than forum advice. Keep in mind also, even with conditions of pest inspection, it has to be a serious infestation to permit cancellation of contract.

    Then it's a matter of weighing repair costs versus escape costs versus how much you like the place.

    Being a 10 years old property, odds are in your favour but it is certainly better to check now.

    Good luck. :-)

  • What happened?

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