The father of a Vendor today asked with genuine interest what was to be gained by having a building inspector conduct a prepurchase building inspection on a home.

As he saw it he could tell if a house was in good condition or not. He also believed he could ascertain in a quick walk around what condition the house was in. Older homes he went on to say would always have defects and you don’t need a building inspector to determine that. Equally I understood him to say that newer houses don’t have defects.

Our conversation was an interesting one because whilst I understood his point of view I recognised he had no appreciation that others would not have his level of knowledge with buildings. Having said that I have seen many a “bit of a handyman”, as he called himself, demonstrate that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Certainly, many of the things I would report on today would be things he could reasonably expect to see. I am always conscious that much of my report my clients may not need me to report on as they can see it for themselves.

But where do I draw the line. How much can any one client see for themselves. I am not to know that and I should not expect a level of awareness from my client/s. If I don’t report on something I see as insignificant but they see as obvious then my  report would lack credibility.

I see this father expecting everyone else would have his knowledge and awareness. And yet I was of course during my inspection aware of what he could not see or expect to see.

By way of using a moisture meter I could determine that the external walls in the south east corner of the house had rising damp. This was not obvious to the eye and I am sure that most purchasers would want to know that it existed, even if they don’t do anything about it once they own the house.

Will that knowledge stop someone from buying the house? Probably not!

So this Vendor’s father would wonder why bother.

Some purchasers might cool of in the face of this knowledge. And that is it was time and money well spent as one client indicated just recently.

And this is likely to be the biggest financial investment you will make in your lifetime, so would you trust your knowledge and awareness or would you prefer an expert.

For more thoughts on why you would use a building inspector checkout this earlier blog, who should conduct a building inspection.