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What is the Ideal Building & Pest Timeframe?

By Shawn Forstpointner - General Manager of ASBIR.


Building inspection

Buying a home or investment property in Brisbane and wondering what is the ideal Building & pest clause timeframe to opt for in your contract? The answer is, it depends, but before you go shaking your head at the answer, let us discuss some of the relevant information so you can make the optimal decision for your situation.


What is the building & pest clause in Queensland?

Before we discuss some of the potential situations you may face, let us first look at what the building & pest clause is. Contracts for the sale of property in Queensland usually include a clause or condition for a Building &/or Pest inspection. When a contract is entered into but is conditional on clauses to be satisfied, the contract is referred to as being ‘subject to building & pest’ or ‘subject to finance’. These ‘subject to’ clauses allow the buyer to make their due diligence enquiries prior to being locked into an unconditional contract of sale. The wording of the clauses is particularly important, and your conveyancing solicitor should be consulted prior to entering into a contract to ensure you understand the implications of the wording of the clauses.


Can you renegotiate after a building and pest inspection?

If, during the building and pest inspection, your inspector finds issues with the property that are significant, or that may impact your willingness to go through with the purchase. As a buyer you have the right to raise the concerns with the seller to come to an acceptable resolution. The nature of those renegotiations is dependent on the goal you are trying to achieve. Common outcomes are a change to the contract price (adjustment at settlement) or requiring the seller of the property to adequately address the concerns raised. This process helps prevent the buyer from shouldering financial or other burdens they were previously unaware of at the time of entering under contract.


What is the most common building & pest timeframe?

A common practice in the market is to make your building & pest clause and your finance clause the same timeframe. This is simple because it makes your 2 conditional clauses due on the same day, meaning that once your ducks are in a row, you go unconditional. However, there may be times when it is beneficial to break from the norm.


One such occasion may be when you are under a multiple offers situation, or the market is very competitive for buyers. By having a shorter Building and pest inspection clause, you may make your offer more attractive to the seller and therefore secure the contract on that basis.


Another situation you may be in, is if you have your finance pre-approved and your contract price is within a range that means the likelihood of your finance approval is extremely high.

Another, more tricky and risky strategy, is to opt for a shorter building and pest inspection clause with a plan to request an extension. This can often work in your favour, if the seller either has no other offers on the table, or no offers that are better than yours that have come through after going under contract. If the seller was to opt to cancel the contract, they would likely have another, at least 7 day, building and pest clause to deal with on the next contract. There are a few variables outside of your control in this situation, so it may not suit the current market.

 

What building and pest option should you choose?

In our opinion, the best decision will come from speaking with all of your advising professionals prior to going under contract. These include, your mortgage broker, your conveyancing solicitor, and your chosen Building Inspector.


Plan well in advance of going under contract with your mortgage broker to understand your borrowing capacity, your preferred lender and maybe even go through the process of pre-approval even if you’re not planning to buy at auction. This will give you the freedom to opt for the shortest finance clause that your broker thinks you can get an approval in.


When speaking with your Building inspector, find out what their current lead time is and how quickly they will be able to turn around the report for you. This will help you to avoid the annoying situation of securing a contract but not being able to get your building inspector there in time to satisfy the clause.


You should also discuss with your conveyancing solicitor the wording of the building and pest clause. Some agents have been known to change the standard clause to only allow the buyer to exit the contract under structural issues or timber pest issues. You want to make sure your Building & Pest clause is as open as possible to allow you to re-negotiate, extend, or cancel at your discretion.


If you are in the position of being in the market and actively making offers but you have yet to secure pre-approval for your finance. There are a few important things to remember when structuring your offer. If your finance is an unknown, it may be wise to have your Building & pest clause at least as long as, or maybe longer than your finance clause. This will help you to prevent paying for a Building inspection only to have your finance be denied. That will mean you have spent the money on the building and pest inspection unnecessarily.


How long does a building & pest inspection take?

An additional note, don’t forget to get your building inspection done before the final day of your conditional clause. You need to allow time to receive your report, read it and, where necessary, discuss the findings with your building inspector to ensure you are satisfied with the condition of the property before you commit to an unconditional sale.

So, to answer the question “what is the best timeframe for my Building and pest inspection clause”.  The answer really depends on the market, your situation, your risk tolerance, and your level of preparedness. We advocate for the highest preparation you can manage in order to increase your chances of success.




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