Today I was requested by a vendor to carry out a pre-purchase building inspection on a property that they are selling. A potential buyer had their own independent inspector out. The inspector did a thorough inspection but unfortunately their report made a number of comments that were false. One that there were termites and it would cost $30,000 to fix. Another that the drainage system in the driveway was not connected to the storm water. As you might have imagined, the sale fell through.
Once I finished my inspection, I found that the “termite damage” was in fact The Powderpost Beetle. This is a common mistake by trades who work on houses, owners, and unfortunately inexperienced building inspectors.
The Powderpost Beetle (Lyctus brunneus scientific name) will generally only eat the sap of hardwood, my own house is the worst case I have come across! As new homes are constructed of pine or metal studs now, this mainly applies to houses pre 1980’s. Sapwood should have been no more than 20% of the timber so that leaves 80% still structurally sound. This means that in most cases, given there will be a few where the affected area will need replacing, the timber is fine.
The other false claim that the person made was the drainage system. The inspector never cleaned the debris away to see if it was connected or not (it was). Not only did the Vendor lose a sale but the couple had their heart set on the property and were extremely disappointed.
Here in Victoria, a person does not have to have any building or termite experience or have insurance to operate. I strongly recommend that people ask for proof of insurance AT THE VERY LEAST before engaging a company to carry out an inspection for you.
I would love to hear if anyone has been in a similar situation where a sale fell through like this or just need some advice on their house. Attach photos and I will contact you with my opinion.