When you start looking at buying a property more seriously, sooner or later you will need a Property Inspection Report.

For apartments you will typically need a Strata Report and for houses you will usually get a Building & Pest Report. For townhouses you may require both.

But how do you compare the many property inspection companies competing for your business? Price seems an obvious way but really, you should be more focused on quality. Because remember – you usually get what you pay for.

So, why is that some inspection reports are cheaper than others?

There are two main reasons behind this:

1. Cottage Industry

Property inspections remain a cottage industry with multiple inspectors operating on their own without a proper team or office. And often, the only way they can compete is on price. Essentially, individual inspectors are selling their time and being the cheapest is the only way they can keep a steady flow of work. This often results in the inspector taking on too many jobs, leading to lower quality reports and minimal follow-up support, if any.

Of course, there are good inspectors out there but telling them apart may be difficult. We share some tips on how to distinguish a good inspector here.

2. Vendor Reports

So-called Vendor Reports are inspection reports ordered by the seller of a property. Usually, in cases like this, buyers enjoy low report-access fees with the balance paid only if you buy the property. In fact, services like Open Access were specifically designed for this purpose: to enable quicker and cheaper due diligence for buyers without compromising the quality of the report and follow-up service. And while the seller gets to see a copy of the report, the report remains completely independent and the inspector is accountable for the information they included in their report.

What about free reports?

When Vendor Reports and cottage industry culture clashed, free reports began to emerge. Some real estate agents and sellers choose to hand our free inspection reports on their listings, thinking that they are helping buyers to complete their property checks. And there are enough inspectors who are fine with this.

But this is where things get compromised. When inspectors give control of their reports to real estate agents they:

  • do not see the buyer as a customer;
  • are less likely to be liable for the information circling around and, therefore, are less focused on quality;
  • don’t have to worry about updating the report if new information comes to light; and
  • don’t have any incentive to provide follow-up support.

This is exactly what has happened in the ACT, where agents control who does building inspections.

Can you trust under-priced reports?

By now, you may already have answered this question. There is a difference between under-priced reports – some are more credible than others. It’s always tempting to go with the cheapest option, but don’t consider price in isolation.

Make sure the person is insured (and you are protected if something goes wrong). You also need to check that they have the right experience and qualifications. Finally, a report should only be part of the service – you need to be able to follow up.

Found a perfect property?

Get it inspected!

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You can also download our Buyers Guide for more helpful tips.

Best Regards,
The EYEON Property Inspections Team

At EYEON Property Inspections, we help you buy and sell with more confidence.