Did you know that the standard surveyor’s report you’ve paid for to support your mortgage application doesn’t actually cover the nuts and bolts of the condition of the house? Often, it’s only after you’ve moved into your new property that you discover the true condition of your massive investment.
Understandably, potential home buyers are under a lot of pressure and perhaps checking out a number of houses at the same time as dealing with the banks. But flawed nuts and bolts can sometimes be very costly, distressing and inconvenient. A full property inspection report from the right service provider can save hundreds – if not thousands of Euros, and ensures that you avoid this scenario. A comprehensive inspection report can sometimes help in the price negotiations with the vendor.
It’s important to remember however, that the quality of the report you’ve commissioned can vary considerably; depending on service you choose.
Dublin based architect Philip Crowe says ‘The standard method of property inspections is generally rather unsatisfactory. Choose the wrong inspector and you can find yourself with a report that’s unclear and difficult to interpret and prices can vary considerably amongst service providers.’
Philip says ‘When it comes to the actual format of the report the client receives, you generally receive a text-heavy document that is quite impenetrable, and gives little direction in terms of the potentially huge decisions being made. For example, ‘Is this house worth buying? Will it have too many problems for my budget etc.? Photos tend to be separate from the text and at the end, which can make it difficult for the client to interpret.’
No house is in perfect condition, but it can be difficult to gauge without getting a builder to come and assess it. This of course means more hassle for you, more valuable time, and more money.
Philip gives an example of what you can inspect from a reliable property inspection service; ‘Inspex effectively brings building condition surveys into the 21st century. For starters, the report they furnish the client with in terms of format and layout, is much easier to navigate. The report comes with photos adjacent to relevant tables.’
‘The Inspex report timeframe is much shorter than the average report takes as there’s no waiting on a surveyor to write up their notes and set out the report’ Philip says. In a traditional situation, the actual inspection process can draw out the tense period of purchasing a property which adds to the stress on the buyer.
For the average person, the regulations and standards relating to different aspects of buildings (and their use) are a minefield and very difficult to negotiate at the best of times. On the other hand, the contemporary Inspex system directly relates regulations and standards to different elements of the building. This allows you to see clearly where investment is needed to bring a property in line.
Taking their standard report beyond a traditional visual inspection service and its inevitable limits, thermal imaging is an additional service provided by Inspex. Philip says ‘It will mean clients know from the outset where the weak points are in a building in terms of the thermal envelope and how it will perform in terms of thermal comfort. As a result, it will indicate where to improve insulation and air–tightness. This is critical with energy price hikes and more demanding building regulations.’
On the recommendation of an architect who specialises in carbon neutral design, John Doyle and Sara Carroll commissioned a pre-purchase property inspection of an unusual property in Glenmalure, county Wicklow. John says 'We were very interested in the 1,400 square feet, Finish design log-built property which also has 600 square feet of decking. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living-room area and sauna.'
'We chose Inspex because we knew that Robert and Anne Millar are very familiar with 'other-than-normal' architecture with a special interest in sustainable energy building. Sara and I don't know much more than the usual person about how sound a structure is.’
He says ‘We were delighted with the report we received after we’d agreed the cost of the inspection, and given Inspex the 'go-ahead'. We had specified that we were interested in a sustainable energy efficiency report and with a view to retrofitting the house’ John says.
‘It was a remarkable report, it was completely comprehensive. It even indicated down to the kitchen cabinet door which needs to be replaced. The inspectors used thermal imaging as we had also requested that the moisture content in the wood be identified. The report itself was absolutely clear and easy to understand. We couldn't fault it.'
'I wouldn't dream of buying a property without first having a pre-property inspection carried out. To the untrained eye, potential damp and structural problems are not visible. It would be unthinkable not to have a professional inspection on an investment such as a house' John says. 'The fee was a very small price to pay for such an in-depth insight into the property. I would definitely recommend the service offered by Inspex.'