Many successful property investors are advocates of being surrounded by a good team, and a building inspector is considered by most as one of the key members that allow them to ensure the quality of their investment properties.
BuildingPro founder Andrew Mackie-Smith, who has been working as a licensed builder and pest and building inspector for decades, said that a good inspector will be able to help an investor understand the cost of maintaining a house or a building. Their ability to communicate reports on different properties is one of the best indicators of their expertise on the field.
“[Find someone who] has the experience and qualifications and insurance… Saying you've been a chippy for 10 years is one thing, but it's a different skill set to inspect and report and be able to communicate the findings,” Andrew said.
He added: “[A good inspector is someone] you can discuss the inspection with and understand the property better… Maintenance, as we all know, is a considerable cost… Some properties are high maintenance and some are lower maintenance—a building inspector should be able to help you understand what some future cost could be.”
Having a building inspector who is also a good communicator will help an investor understand problems on the property as well as the severity of the issue and, consequently, avoid any future unexpected costs.
“I've read plenty of other inspectors’ reports… [and] sometimes I don't even know where the problems are or I don't know the magnitude of the issue… It might just say, ‘Repair still beams’ and I [go there] there and find this whole structure needs to be replaced and it might be $20,000 dollars’ worth of work,” Andrew said.
“I thought I knew it when I started and I'm still learning 15 years of running my own business and 30 years as an inspector… I'd get someone with at least five years inspecting experience, someone who's got a background as a builder or architect would be preferable, and someone, if the state requires it, who is licenced.”
One of the most simple and most effective ways to find a trustworthy building inspector to assess your property is through the recommendations of friends and colleagues in contrast with reviews or testimonials on a builder’s website.
In general, one must avoid making assumptions and get used to asking different relevant questions—from the inspector's experiences and past reports to his insurance—to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
Andrew concluded: “I do think that people need a building inspection essentially to avoid future significant unexpected costs because that can really kill the investment. You buy property to make money out of it, not [to become] a money pit… You need to know what you're buying.”
Tune in to Andrew Mackie-Smith’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the science behind pest and building inspections, as well as the top 10 things every investor should check to ensure their new property is the real deal.