Should you trust a Seller's Builder's Report?5 Aug 2019

Looking for a property to buy can be a busy and confusing process. Doing all the research takes time and money – and if you’re a bit short on either it can be tempting to take a short-cut. If you’re keen on a property and the seller or their real estate agent says they can give you all the information you’re after, such as the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from the local council, or a property inspection report, you need to be aware of the risks.

Using a building report provided by the seller (or the real estate agent working for them) may seem like an easy option in the short term. However, if you buy the property and then find problems with it that cost a significant amount to fix, you’re not protected by the building report because the inspector’s contract is with the seller, not you. The Real Estate Authority (REA) recommends using an accredited property inspector who complies with the New Zealand building inspection standard 4306:2005. Their written report will identify any current defects as well as highlight any urgent and long-term maintenance required. Look for someone who has a good level of indemnity insurance, as this will protect you if you buy the property and then find you need to fix something that wasn’t in the report. Building inspections do come at a cost, but we think it’s worth it to be sure that you’re fully aware of what you’re signing up for.

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