Encouraging building inspections

It can be frustrating for potential purchasers to watch their precious deposit being whittled away by the costs of due diligence when looking for property to buy.

Even so, it’s important to remind prospective buyers that they should learn as much as possible about a property before signing a sale and purchase agreement (as stipulated in rule 9.7 of the Code of Conduct).

Building inspections are one of the key ways for prospective buyers to find out more about a property. The property pre-purchase inspection industry is not regulated in New Zealand and it can be tempting for buyers to take a shortcut by asking a builder mate to give a property the once-over. 

REAA recommends using a qualified building inspector who has professional indemnity insurance, understands the strict legal requirements of their role and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard. 

Using a qualified inspector means that, if the purchaser discovers problems with the property that should have been evident in the building inspection, they can make a complaint to the professional body that the inspector belongs to and seek compensation through the courts. The same protections are not afforded to those who simply ask a friend to check the place out, or to those who rely solely on a report supplied by the vendor.

Licensees must tell prospective buyers if a previous building inspection has found problems with a property, though they must discuss this with the vendor first, as their consent is required before any disclosure is made.

If you have prospective buyers looking for a qualified property inspector, you can refer them to the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors​ or the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand​.