Despite the fact that real estate in Sydney is a significant long-term investment that could impact a buyer’s finances for decades, many prospective home-owners baulk at shelling out for a professional surveyor to examine the property before the sale is completed. This is an unnecessary risk at best and a disastrous error in judgement at worst, as home damage that may be invisible to the untrained eye can cause unforeseen calamity long after you’re left holding the deed.
An expert eye
Surveyors are trained to spot existing as well as potential issues with an uncommon level of detail. Once the 2-3 hour examination of the interior and exterior of the property is complete, the surveyor will provide a thorough report on the various aspects of the home, including structure, plumbing, electrical equipment, and other amenities.
During a surveyor’s report, minor defects, major defects and safety issues will be categorised and detailed to you. You will also find out which items need repair and replacement as well as those that should be monitored for future wear. Home surveyors can even inform you of routine maintenance that should be performed based on the amenities in the home, which is information not even the seller may possess.
One of the most useful discretions that having a home surveyed before buying affords you is the ability to back out of an offer if significant issues are discovered during the assessment, even after an otherwise enforceable deal is reached in principle.
The survey contingency is a vital resource after an offer has been accepted. Without this protection you may be legally bound to pay the seller a penalty fee or even the full purchase price of a home once an agreement is reached regardless of what issues may later arise.
If issues are discovered during a home survey, you can choose to ask the seller to fix them at their expense, to reduce the purchase price, or to provide a cash credit at closing to be applied to the cost of repairs. This is where surveyors truly earn their keep, as without the survey your options would be extremely limited and you would likely be responsible for the cost of any repairs necessary before you can live in the home.
It is advisable for all home-buyers to have a survey conducted prior to exchanging. A survey is an investment of time and money, but one that could pay for itself many times over if significant issues are discovered.