Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Pre-Purchase Pest Inspection

The Pest Guys Termite Treatment

On the hunt to find your humble new home? You will no doubt be overwhelmed by all the advice and information available; from suburb advice to all the little checks you should do on your soon to be home, there is a lot to take in!

You may have fallen in love with the property and cosmetically, your potential new home may look in tiptop condition, but unbeknownst to you, there may also be some hidden, unwanted houseguests lurking out of sight.

Termites are a pest that cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to homes and businesses across Australia every year and they don’t discriminate – these selfish little pests find their way onto all types of properties and into homes with food, water and shelter in mind.

Buying a home? Don’t forget a pre-purchase pest inspection!

When you’re making such a big financial investment, you want to know your purchase is worth the cost, and one way to do that is with a pre-purchase pest inspection from a reputable, knowledgeable team like The Pest Guys.

Thanks to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), there is a drafted standard clause that can be added to your offer and acceptance contract, known as a “Timber Pest Pre-purchase Inspection” clause.

This annexure forms part of the contract and makes the contract conditional upon a timber pest inspection being undertaken by a licensed pest control company to Australian standards and a subsequent report being provided.

If pests are found in the property, the seller must disclose this to the buyer and remedy the situation at their own expense, or risk terminating the contract.

Why should I invest in a pre-purchase pest inspection?

The short answer is – if your potential new home has an army of termites working away at the foundation, you definitely want to know about it!

Pre-purchase pest inspections give homebuyers more than just peace of mind; they also provide a report of any potentially damaging pests and existing conditions that may be hiding out of sight.

This report is a great tool for homebuyers, as it can be used in contract and price negotiations with the seller.

If there are pests or is a history of activity, the buyer and seller may negotiate that a termite or pest treatment is carried out prior to the contract being finalised, or the seller may choose to drop the price of the property instead.

What is the difference between a building and pest inspection?

It may seem unnecessary to have both a building inspection and pest inspection, as they do overlap in some areas.

However, there are some significant differences between the two types of inspections and as a homebuyer, it is important to have both a building inspection and pest inspection before signing your name (and finances) away!

Pre-purchase Building Inspection

According to REIWA, a building inspection within the Australian Standard AS 4349-2007 should provide you with an accurate insight into the structural integrity of the house.

If termites have done significant damage, this may be picked up in a building inspection. However, any active termites may be missed, as they could be deep within the foundations of the home or even living in trees on the property.

Pre-purchase Timber Pest Inspection

A pre-purchase pest inspection, undertaken by a highly qualified company, should be carried out thoroughly and in accordance with Australian Standard 4349.3.

These inspections cover the whole property, not just the house itself, to identify current termite activity, evidence of previous termite activity, decaying or damaged timber, conditions that may lend themselves to a termite infestation and advice for ongoing termite management.

When do these inspections need to occur?

If you have fallen in love with a property, you should look into booking a building and pest inspection ASAP, ideally prior to entering into a contract.

Sometimes having the inspection done prior to the contract isn’t possible due to time and other constraints, so potential buyers should look to add REIWA’s drafted “Timber Pest Pre-purchase Inspection” clause to the offer and acceptance contract.

Are joint building and pest inspections a good idea?

Rather than paying two different companies and organising two different dates for the inspections to happen, a joint building and pest inspection may seem like great bang for your buck.

However, the reality is that this “cheap” method may see you miss out on thorough inspections from the top-qualified inspectors and companies.

With a lot at stake, both financially and structurally, we recommend homebuyers do their research to find a reputable building inspector and reputable, highly qualified pest control company to undertake any pre-purchase inspections.

Not only does this ensure that you have the most experienced people inspecting your home and providing you with reports and advice, but it also means that you have two specialist sets of eyes taking a thorough look at your property for any issues.

Important notes for choosing building and pest inspectors

It can be tempting to search for “building inspection Perth” or “termite treatment Perth” in your internet browser, then click on the first company and give them a call, or to just compare prices on a few companies and then go for the cheapest one.

But homebuyers should really be focusing on finding a reputable, highly qualified inspector who is licensed and insured to undertake an inspection, rather than just the cheapest quote.

If you go with the cheapest company, you often pay for exactly what you get – a cheap service that is unlikely to provide you with the comprehensive inspection you need.

It also pays to ask family, friends and colleagues for their recommendations on building inspection or pest control companies in the area, as they are likely to give you an honest opinion on who to enquire with and who to avoid.

Pre-inspection agreements with building and pest inspection companies

With a lot at stake, you will need to sign a pre-inspection agreement with both your building inspection company and pest inspection company prior to any inspections taking place.

These agreements are provided to protect both you and the companies you book to do the inspection. They should outline what is included in the inspection and subsequent report, as well as how you and the company you contract to undertake either your building or pest inspection are protected by insurance.

What is involved in a timber pest inspection?

A pre-purchase timber pest inspection is a comprehensive look into your property to determine whether there is any current termite activity, previous termite activity, damage to the home from pests or risk of future termite activity.

These termite inspections in Perth are carried out thoroughly in accordance with Australian Standards AS 4349.1, ensuring each part of the property, including the roof void, sub floor, garden and perimeter, are meticulously checked for signs of activity and damage.

Inaccessible? Unexaminable

Homebuyers must remember that while building and pest inspections are both incredibly valuable assets to have, they are also only visual inspections of the home – if a space is inaccessible by the inspector it will not be examined.

Sellers with some experience up their sleeve may try some cunning manoeuvres to stop pest inspectors from accessing certain parts of the house, but a qualified inspector will make note of the lack of access and will often recommend a follow-up inspection as an alternative.

How long should a pest inspection take?

All pre-purchase pest inspections should take a considerable amount of time – they are, after all, diagnostic checks to ensure your potential new home is in good shape and the property is rid of any creepy crawlies.

A “standard” property may take at least two hours to complete a termite inspection, but the length of time taken really depends on:

  • The size of the house – how many storeys and number of rooms are there? Does it have a sub-floor?
  • The size of the block of land – a property with a larger area will take longer to work through
  • The type of gardens present – Is the garden sparse or does it have a complex or dense garden?

What is in the pest inspection report?

The Pest Guys pre-purchase timber pest inspection provides would-be buyers with a comprehensive 12-page report that covers aspects such as termite activity, timber decay, current or previous termite management programs, wood borers and conditions conducive to timber pest attack.

This report includes photos detailing the areas that have been inspected, or not inspected, with notes about anything of concern or recommendations for termite treatment in Perth.

As part of the inspection, The Pest Guys also provide timber pest risk assessment and advice for ongoing white ant treatment and termite management programs.

 Final verdict: book a pre-purchase pest inspection!

When it comes to buying a house, you want to do everything you can to make sure your investment is in a good condition before you sign your name on that dotted line.

Investing in pre-purchase building and pest inspections provides potential homebuyers with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision, allowing them to negotiate aspects of the contract, such as price, with the seller.

Do your research and book a local, reputable, professional and highly qualified pest control company to undertake your termite inspections in Perth, like The Pest Guys.

Contact The Pest Guys!

The Pest Guys have been offering pest control solutions in Western Australia since 2011, and in January 2018, we joined forces with Flick Anticimex, one of the oldest Australian Pest Management Firms. The combined experience and access to technology has now made it even easier for us to detect termites in Perth and across Australia.
Flick Anticimex founder William Flick was one the earliest termite control pioneers in Australia, defeating termites for the first time! His experiences helped to shape the termite and timber pest industry, allowing Flick Anticimex to be at the forefront of termite management. These days, Flick Anticimex offer specialised termite inspection and white ant treatment solutions to suit a wide range of homes and businesses across Perth. 
Contact The Pest Guys today to book your all-important pre-purchase pest inspection and give yourself peace of mind before you purchase your new home.