What is a building and pest inspection report?

A building and pest inspection report is a written account of the property’s condition. It can be commissioned pre-purchase, so that home buyers are informed of any significant defects in a property.
Erin Howell
Written by
Erin Howell
Imogen Baxter
Reviewed by
Imogen Baxter
Last updated
May 16, 2024
0 minute read
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What is a building and pest inspection report?

A building and pest inspection report is a written account of the property’s condition. It can be commissioned pre-purchase, so that home buyers are informed of any significant defects in a property.

What is a building inspection report?

Sometimes referred to as a ‘standard property report’, a building report is a detailed property inspection conducted by a building inspector on a freestanding home. For apartment buildings and units within a strata complex, it’s more commonly a “strata report”.

At OwnHome, our buyer’s agents always purchase building and pest inspections for our customers. It’s just one way we make you are getting your money’s worth when purchasing your house and don’t get stuck with a lemon.

What is a pest inspection report?

A pest inspection is where a qualified pest inspector attends a property and conducts a methodical and careful visual examination of the inside and outside of a property, sometimes using thermal sensing and moisture detecting technology. This helps to identify pests such as termites and cockroaches.

Commonly, the two reports are combined into a building & pest inspection report.

Generally, you'll commission this report once you have inspected a property yourself.

Why do I need a building and pest report?

Your home will likely be one of the most significant investments you make. This is a low-cost and generally highly effective way of identifying potential future problems.

Using this knowledge, you can more effectively negotiate the property price to account for likely repairs or get additional specialist knowledge in advance of a purchase.

If any issues are identified within the report that the vendor or real estate agent agrees to fix in advance of the purchase, you can organise to amend the contract of sale.

You can use this guide to understand how to calculate the value of a home as part of a purchase.

What is included in a building and pest report?

A property inspection report should cover:

  • Interior and exterior walls
  • Roof exterior view and the roof space/cavity
  • Gutters
  • The floor and subfloor
  • Toilets and bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Garage, sheds, driveways and carports
  • Stairs, fencing and pathways
  • Non-structural retaining walls
  • Visible structural issues
  • Minor defects like paint chips or cracks in tiles
  • Visible signs of asbestos
  • Termite infestations or termite damage

What to look for in the report

Look for things such as water damage and leaks, broken appliances and wood rot in person and in reports.

The major callouts to look out for in reports include evidence of untreated termite activity, serious structural issues (including ground movement) or anything flagged as a 'major defect'.

What isn’t included in a building and pest report?

  • Issues that are hidden behind walls or ceilings. Inspectors can't assess things that aren't readily accessible and will outline the areas in their report that were obstructed. This includes everything that is blocked by these things, including plumbing, drains and electrical wiring issues. It may also not include structural problems that are hidden.
  • Appliances. Some properties are sold with built-in appliances. Appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, air conditioning and range hoods often aren't within scope. You can check these yourself during an inspection.
  • Home accessories. Alarm systems, fire and smoke alarms and television antennas aren't included in the report.
  • Swimming pools and whether they comply to Australian standards.  Compliance differs across Australia, so whether you're in NSW and buying in Newcastle or Sydney or Queensland and purchasing in Brisbane or the Gold Coast - you should get a local professional to check this is safe.

The inspector is working for you to help you secure a great home, and they will provide a detailed report with their findings. It can be really helpful to attend the inspection so you can ask questions to see exactly what they are referring to, but in most cases, inspectors provide their number for a call after the report is complete in case you have questions.

How much does a building and pest report cost?

Real estate agents will often organise to pre-purchase building inspection reports so that it is quickly accessible to buyers. This fee is usually split into $50 upfront, and then $450 if you successfully purchase the home.

You can also commission your own Building report. If you do commission your own report, you'll need to pay for this upfront and out of pocket. There is typically a fee of $500, sometimes up to $750 depending on providers. Ideally, use a building and pest inspector who will explain the key findings for you, not simply write the report.

Choosing the right person to inspect the property

This is not a regulated industry, so we recommend you use a licensed builder, a surveyor or an architect, or a similarly qualified person. These professions should spot faults hidden under cosmetic improvements that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.

Ask if the person that you choose has adequate insurance coverage, particularly for professional indemnity.

OwnHome Buyer’s Agent Service

At OwnHome, our expertise is homebuying. When you're approved for a Deposit Boost Loan, you get the power of a dedicated Buyer’s Agent to help you find and review your dream home.

The home-buying process can be overwhelming and you want to know you’re making a good investment. Your OwnHome buyer’s agent can help you access and understand the pest and building reports, market trends, valuation, and comparable properties to help you make a great decision.

You focus on finding your dream home; we’ll handle the paperwork.

Key takeaways

While a building and pest inspection report isn't a mandatory part of the home buying process we recommend property buyers access and review one pre-sale.

Whether you are buying your first home or investment property, this is a low-cost written report that provides peace of mind that your home doesn't have major red flags.


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This article is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial product advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice and read the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS), or other offer documents before making an investment decision in relation to a financial product (including a decision about whether to acquire or continue to hold).
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