Top Tips on getting a Building Inspection

Top Tips on getting a Building Inspection

A building inspection is a crucial part of buying property in New Zealand, and can assist you to work out whether the property is move in ready, needs some love and attention, or may in fact need much more work than you were expecting. Residential or Commercial properties, body corporate, owner built – it’s likely you’ll need an inspection during the process.

So if you’re in the market for your next property and need the right information on what you should or shouldn’t do when engaging an expert, see our top tips below!

Ensure your contract is conditional to a building inspection

A property inspection should always be conducted before a sale is finalised. The purchaser needs to ensure that the purchase is worth the investment and there won’t be any unexpected works required – all before they actually purchase.

Where an inspection sits in the process can be dependent on the method of sale, as well as individual circumstances.

For a private sale, or through an expression of interest offer, the offer should be subject to a building inspection being completed. By proceeding in this manner, you can save on an inspection where your offer may not be accepted and you may choose to continue your hunt elseware, but allows you the comfort that you can amend your offer or back off completely without any penalty to pay if in fact significant defects are found. You should discuss your options with a local conveyancer to ensure you are working within current guidelines.

If you’re investing through an auction, you should aim to initiate an inspection as early as possible prior to the auction date. This means you can fine tune your bid and set limits prior to the day. This could mean that you’ve invested in an inspection without being successful in landing the property. If this is the case, your Jim’s Building Inspections franchisee may be able to offer you a discount on future inspections.

In spite of the cost, ensure you know what you’re buying and this will lead to savings in the future.

Your Real Estate Agent may offer inspections as part of their service package

Some agents will offer a building inspection as part of their package to vendors, which is a great value addition when you’re looking for an initial agent to sell your property. This can ultimately save you money as it reduces the chances that a potential sale will be knocked off course by unknown defects and shortens the sale process when selling privately. It can even save your agent time when they would normally be assisting with multiple inspections for the same property.

Don’t be worried about bias! Just because it’s packaged by the agent, it is still a professional, independent, and insured report. At Jim’s Building Inspections we have many such arrangements with agents to make life easier for them, and their prospective property buyers.

Verbal reports should not be provided without a written report

There are some building inspection service providers that will offer clients a cheaper alternative by providing a verbal only report. This is a situation that can lead to short term savings, and long term headaches.

Verbal reports are not able to be relied on and create unwanted risk to the client. Those businesses that are willing to skirt formal procedure by giving you a verbal report (with nothing to refer back to) can be less responsible in their overall duties.

Ensure the product provided is professional and that you have a written report that you can refer back to and rely on.

The property may already have been inspected

New Zealand have embraced online report sales and vendor reporting, especially post the Covid Pandemic!

A prospective property buyer can go online and purchase their own copy, which can then be read at their leisure. The report is marketed to multiple parties and is therefore available to buy at a discount, but is still a fully independent and insured report.


Jim's Building Inspections NZ report interface

Real Estate Agents appreciate this reporting style. Their clients can reduced their costs in obtaining the reports, and every report sold is fully insured with Professional Indemnity Insurance so the buyer can rely on the contents. They also reduce their time in opening up for various inspectors, and the traffic through the property is drastically reduced – hence why this is favoured in post-Covid times. Vendor reports are also popular in auction situations, as the report can be purchased and received prior to the auction without the delay in finding someone that’s free to do an inspection at the very last minute.

Some great tips on what to ask when you are engaging a building inspector are:

How long is a report valid for? Should a more recent one be done?

Most vendor reports are commissioned during the sale campaign, and are therefore recent to the timeline. At Jim’s Building Inspections, our reports are available for sale for a three month period from the date the inspection was conducted, so you can ensure it’s been conducted recently. If the report has been completed earlier than this three month window, we would recommend commissioning a new inspection so we can ensure it is

Most inspections are conducted during the sales campaign so they are recent to the current sale timeline. For instance, our reports remain available for three months from the date of inspection so you know it’s going to be recent with the current owners. Any longer than this, we recommend a re-inspection so that we can make sure the report is thorough and recent.

How do you get a report online?

We offer these at Jim’s Building Inspections! You can lookup the property on our website here to see if a report has been conducted on the home you’re looking to buy. Most real estate agents are able to inform you if an inspection has taken place, and should advise you of this when you’re discussing the property.


jim's building inspection reports can be repurchased online

What payments are accepted and how will I get the report?

Ensure the system you’re purchasing from has a secure SSL Certified site (as ours does!), so you are buying with confidence. Most will accept some form of online payment, either credit card, paypal or similar. Your report will be emailed to your nominated email address, so ensure you double check for typos! Don’t forget to check that junk/spam folder – some might end up in there depending on your security.

Can I talk to someone about the report?

A report should have the inspectors contact details so that you can get in touch with them. Every Jim’s Building Inspection report has this information on page 3, so you can call or email them to discuss the contents of the report, and ask any questions you may have.


Do you need a building inspection in New Zealand? You can get a free quote by contacting our Jim’s Building Inspections experts, or look up our existing reports online here.


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