When buying a home it pays to know about its condition, beyond what the LIM tells you. You don't want to find yourself faced with large repair bills for work you didn't discover until after you move in.

This is where a pre-purchase building inspection comes in.

A pre-purchase building inspection is an inspection of a property that looks for significant defects, maintenance issues, signs of deterioration or inferior work. An inspection will tell you if there are any signs that the property is a leaky building, for example.

Identifying building issues before making a purchase means that you can choose to pull out or modify your offer. You could include in the sale and purchase agreement that certain issues are resolved before settlement.

When getting a building inspection, ask for a pre-purchase inspection so the inspector includes relevant areas in the report.

A building inspection is a visual examination of the building covering only those things that can be reasonably accessed and viewed. This includes the condition of the building framing, the roof, chimneys, foundations, exterior walls, heating systems, windows and doors, insulation, interior flooring, ceilings etc. They may also check driveways, sheds and garages, retaining walls, verandas and balconies etc.

They may also do non-invasive moisture testing.

An inspector will not do invasive testing such as the removal of wall linings to check for insulation or leak problems. They may recommend further inspection by qualified tradespeople such as Plumbers or Electricians if there is visual evidence of non-compliance or other issues. While they will report evidence of pest damage, unless specified it won't include checks for pests beyond that which can be detected visually.

Depending on who you use, a building inspection report may include estimates on resolving any areas of concern.

The cost of a building inspection will depend on the size, if there are any additional structures such as garages, where it is located and its age etc