What You Need to Know About Pre-Purchase Building Inspections

Pre-purchase building inspections are typically done to protect you as the buyer; this assures you that a home or building you're buying is up to local building codes and they can also alert you to any repairs you might face soon after your purchase. They're also often done to protect your mortgage lender; since they will be using the building as security for their loan, they too need to know that it's in good repair. Note a few questions you might have about pre-purchase building inspections so you can know what to expect and what inspections you need to schedule.

1. Are you allowed to be present and ask questions of the inspector during the inspection? 

Generally speaking, building inspectors will not keep you from the property while it's being inspected, but note that there are areas they may not allow you to enter just for your own safety, and because places like a crawlspace or attic may get a bit crowded. You are usually even encouraged to ask the inspector questions about things he or she may find, as long as you are not interrupting their work, challenging them on their findings, and the like.

2. Why are inspections needed for new construction?

You may assume that new construction means that everything will be in good working order and built up to code, and while this is generally the case, note that some builders may subcontract their work and not keep strict watch on how it's performed. Poor quality building work can mean that certain areas of a building are not done up to code, or poor quality materials were used that may diminish the value of the building. Your lender especially will need to know if anything done during construction compromises the overall value of the home or building itself.

3. Why does a lender ask for a separate inspection?

If you've had a pre-purchase building inspection done, your lender may still want a separate inspection done by a company with whom they're familiar, or that will include items not covered on a basic inspection. For instance, they may want a pest infestation inspection done to note if there is any risk of damage from termites, rodents, and the like. They may want an air quality inspection done or an inspection for mold, as this might decrease the value of the building. Depending on your arrangement with your lender, these inspections may be your financial responsibility or they may pay for them themselves, but they are done to protect their financial investment and risk.