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Home inspections – yes or no?

Buying a home

Buying a home is exciting. You discover your dream home and immediately envisage moving in. Maybe you’ve already started mentally renovating and decorating it to your taste.

However, before getting caught up in all the excitement and signing on the dotted line, it’s worth taking a step back and seeking independent advice. Remember, once the deal is signed, sealed and delivered, the house is yours – along with any issues it may have.

Removing the rose-coloured glasses and taking another run through with discerning eyes will help spot surface issues.

Issues such as:

  • Leaky taps and toilets
  • Condition of the guttering and spouting
  •  Toilets not flushing
  •  How well doors and windows open and shut

Inspections, builders’ reports, and LIMs will help reveal things you don’t have knowledge of and what you might not be experienced enough to see.

For example, are you aware that properties built prior to 1938 require an electrical Warrant of Fitness for a buyer to get insurance?

A builder’s report can help identify potential issues with the house, such as:

  • Mould, mildew and moisture
  • Efficiency of smoke detectors
  • A leaky roof
  • Efficiency of heating and cooling systems
  •  Insulation
  •  Asbestos
  •  Foundations

Technology now allows tests for moisture to be undertaken with non-invasive thermal imaging cameras. And in a sign of the times, the NZ Ministry of Health has guidelines for meth testing. A fully certified Meth (P) tester will carry out a methamphetamine test in accordance with these guidelines.

A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) will highlight any issues regarding the land the property is built on. You can order one from your council or have your lawyer arrange it.

Armed with the knowledge from independent assessments, you can better negotiate and budget for maintenance and repairs.

Selling a home

Sellers may also elect to have inspections conducted. This helps them understand what could be fixed prior to putting the house on the market. Sometimes a small outlay can bring a big return. The knowledge gained can also place them in a better position when it comes to negotiating a final sales price.

Having a home inspection conducted

Enlist the help of registered building inspectors. One place to find recognised building inspectors is to search the members directory of the NZiBi (New Zealand Institute of Building Inspectors). You’ll want them to conduct a certified building inspection and provide a comprehensive written report.


To help you understand what you should be looking for, it’s handy to download a checklist or two. That way you won’t miss something crucial. There are good ones available from:

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Buying a house – A checklist to help home buyers make informed decisions

Consumer NZ

Home inspection checklist

20 tips for protecting your home

How we can help

If you’re in the market for a home or investment property and would like to discuss home loans, call us (0800-230-235) or send an email ( to set up time to chat.

You might also find the following blog posts interesting:

The professionals you need when buying a house

8 tips for paying your mortgage off faster

The Legalities of Buying a House

And this comprehensive guide from WiseUp.NZ: