Buyers: Bank valuers are not home inspectors

When a bank sends a valuer out to a home you have offered to buy, the purpose of the visit is to establish whether there is sufficient value in the property to secure your home loan – not to identify possible defects.
What’s more, many valuations are actually performed electronically these days, so the bank valuer may not even visit the property, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“The purpose of a home inspection, on the other hand, is to protect the potential buyer against the high cost of repairing unforeseen or unknown problems. Such inspections are particularly recommended for senior buyers living on fixed incomes, parents with young children and inexperienced buyers – and should be conducted before any offer to purchase is made.”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says thathome inspections can also help buyers decide between newly-built or pre-owned homes, since the age of a home is not necessarily a good gauge of quality.
“With new homes, there is the advantage of having the builder's warranty, as well as the fact that new construction must comply with current standards for safety and structural stability.
“With pre-owned homes, there are more variables. But in all eras of home construction, there have been those that reflect quality workmanship and others that do not. And all homes, new or old, harbour some defects not apparent to the untrained eye.”
Meanwhile, Everitt says, buyers taking a first look around a home they are interested in should  look out for the following problems – the top four found on most home inspectors’ lists:

  • Electrical hazards and deficiencies, including amateur wiring jobs and old distribution boards.
  • Roof problems such as rust, loose or missing tiles, leaks and rotted timbers.
  • Water leakage and damp from interior sources such as bath or toilet surrounds or pipe-joints in the walls.
  • Poor site drainage or clay conditions, which can cause foundations to swell or crack.

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