House Purchase - Pest Inspection Results

Hi All - Firstly, I would like to say thanks to the members for such a useful & informative website.
I submitted an offer on an older style period home in the inner west ~ built around 90-100 years ago and I currently have a 0.025% deposit resting on the property. The house underwent a refurbishment about 1-2 years ago.

I obtained the pest and building inspection reports (my offer was subject to these inspections) The building inspection summary states:

* Incidence of major defects in this building (considering the age and similar building types) is considered "Typical"
* Overall condition of this building in the context of its age, type and general expectations of similar properties is considered "Average"

So all in all the building report picked up a few items up such as fretting brickwork, rusty down-pipes, sub floor ventilation inadequate etc..nothing that has detracted me from sealing the deal.

The part that is really scaring me is the pest inspection, in summary reads:

* Visible evidence of termite workings or damage was discovered to the subfloor (a "moderate to severe rating") with borer activity
* No "live" termite or specimens were found in the subfloor recess (thankfully) although a full inspection could not be carried out due to limited crawl space
*No evidence of damage caused by wood decay (rot) was discovered
*No evidence of termites were found on the external house timbers, roof cavities or internal walls (although rising damp was picked up on a few walls)
*No termite nests were found on the property at the time but also no sticker found indicating any previous treatments were carried out. The report also noted that some "damaged" timber replacements had been carried out in the sub floor. The overall risk assessment for the pest inspection came back as “Extremely High"

I understand these reports can be quite a shock and perhaps slightly exaggerated in order to offer protection towards the pest company.
I also understand the house is very old and susceptible to a degree of termite damage and maintenance issues over time.
I contacted the inspector who informed me he didn't notice any telltale signs such as bouncing floorboards & that whilst the damage didn’t appear “extreme” he recommended negotiating further with the REA.

I offered the vendors $8k off my original offer to accommodate a chemical treatment plus other items picked up by the report. The problem is that the vendors are reluctant to negotiate any drop in price. The inspector advised it wasn’t worth having a full imaging inspection completed due to it being brick/masonry construction.

Am I being too paranoid or justly so? If I find another property of similar age will I expect a similar pest report anyway? Will it always be a calculated gamble purchasing an older style period home? Or do I pass it up and wait until another property I like gets a clean bill of health?

Thanks in advance for feedback and apologies for the longish post!
 
I see these reports all the time. It looks pretty standard to me for a period style house over 80 years old. It would not put me off at all.

You are never going to see a perfect report even on a newly built property. ;)

You will be unlikely to find a similar aged property with a better pest report than this.
 
* Incidence of major defects in this building (considering the age and similar building types) is considered "Typical"
* Overall condition of this building in the context of its age, type and general expectations of similar properties is considered "Average"

Sounds good enough for me.

So all in all the building report picked up a few items up such as fretting brickwork, rusty down-pipes, sub floor ventilation inadequate etc..nothing that has detracted me from sealing the deal.

Did the building report suggest a cost or method of increasing the inadequate sub floor ventilation? Perhaps easily fixed for not too much cost.

* Visible evidence of termite workings or damage was discovered to the subfloor (a "moderate to severe rating") with borer activity

Did he give a recommendation as to whether this needs to be repaired/replaced? Or is he just covering his butt?

* No "live" termite or specimens were found in the subfloor recess (thankfully) although a full inspection could not be carried out due to limited crawl space

This would concern me. He hasn't been able to inspect the sub floor recess fully, so how do you ever find out what is in there? We had that exact scenario happen on one of the sales where we lost $2K (15 years ago).

The overall risk assessment for the pest inspection came back as “Extremely High"

Did he say just why he considers it "extremely high" as his report doesn't sound like it should be classed as that.

I understand these reports can be quite a shock and perhaps slightly exaggerated in order to offer protection towards the pest company.

Precisely why I hate them too. I have lost money on two sales due to a perfectly sound houses with NO termite damage sounding like they was about to fall over and the termites were just lining up ready to attack.

I also understand the house is very old and susceptible to a degree of termite damage and maintenance issues over time
I contacted the inspector who informed me he didn't notice any telltale signs such as bouncing floorboards & that whilst the damage didn’t appear “extreme” he recommended negotiating further with the REA.

I offered the vendors $8k off my original offer to accommodate a chemical treatment plus other items picked up by the report. The problem is that the vendors are reluctant to negotiate any drop in price. The inspector advised it wasn’t worth having a full imaging inspection completed due to it being brick/masonry construction.

Am I being too paranoid or justly so? If I find another property of similar age will I expect a similar pest report anyway? Will it always be a calculated gamble purchasing an older style period home? Or do I pass it up and wait until another property I like gets a clean bill of health?

When my mother was selling houses, she liked the purchaser to come and speak to the building inspector at the end of the inspection because their reports always sounded so bad, and many sales are lost over these reports.

Usually the inspector will say to the purchasers "this is a good house" even though the report makes it sound like it is a shocking prospect. We did this with the son's unit. Inspector said to me "this is a good unit and he has gotten a good buy for the price" whereas his report did not read like that. I can understand why people get scared off by these reports, especially when they get their first one.

Mum sold a house a couple of years ago that got a "good house for its age" verbally but the report was similar to yours. Purchasers tried to reduce the price by a (very inflated) figure to cover the cost of a pest barrier. Our own pest chap was $2K cheaper and the inspection chap didn't even find the termites in the garden that our chap found, and treated.

If I was you, I would ask the inspector "would you buy this house" and see what he says. Try to find out what remedial work he would be looking at for the damage and previous repairs he picked up?

Without knowing anything much about brick houses, I would guess that the report is probably fairly good, with just those two questions that he may answer on the phone where he is not putting it in writing.

I would think that a good agent will know that the next report, and the next, and the next will bring up the same issues, and perhaps would try to bring your offer up a little higher whilst making the vendor see that your offer still may be better than the next one, who might try to knock off $15K due to their report.

Next buyer might accept the report without knocking anything off the price. Only you can decide how you proceed.
 
pics

Cheers for the feedback guys..

The inspector quoted around $1300 to resolve the inadequate sub-floor ventilation. He also recommended replacement of any damaged timbers.

The limited crawl space to the sub-floor is an issue which is why I asked whether an imaging device would reveal any activity but he said it most likely wouldn't help due to the materials used (brick facework with rendered masonry walls)

I included the digital photos they provided of the damaged timbers in the subfloor area.

When I asked the inspector whether he would personally purchase the property he said yes he would continue but would re-negotiate the price.

Thanks Again
 

Attachments

  • subfloor1.JPG
    subfloor1.JPG
    44.1 KB · Views: 152
  • subfloor2.JPG
    subfloor2.JPG
    47.2 KB · Views: 136
  • subfloor3.JPG
    subfloor3.JPG
    57 KB · Views: 183
Third photo is a bit of a worry :eek: but can be fixed easily by the looks of it. I imagine you could bolt another timber to it to span the gap and rest it where the original would have been (that's my thought anyway).

I know when we were faced with "do we reduce, or stick to our guns?" we stuck to our guns and the purchaser went ahead with no reduction. It was a hard thing to do...... see who moved first.

The agent will know, and should advise the vendor, that next contract might not be as good, and next purchaser will get a similar (or possibly worse) report.
 
Just a quick one to say thanks for your replies. I was on edge yesterday deciding my next step...

The owner has now agreed to drop the price (ever so) slightly to accommodate for treatment costs ~ $5000 but its better than nothing I guess :)
They also agreed to let us complete the work during the settlement period to prevent any further termite activity.

Thanks All
 
Just a quick one to say thanks for your replies. I was on edge yesterday deciding my next step...

The owner has now agreed to drop the price (ever so) slightly to accommodate for treatment costs ~ $5000 but its better than nothing I guess :)
They also agreed to let us complete the work during the settlement period to prevent any further termite activity.

Thanks All

That's a great result. Based on the report do you think $5000 will cover the work required to rectify the damaged timber?

I agree with the early posters too that it would be really difficult to see a fair report on a home that is 80 years old. The only follow up I would probably take is to speak directly to the inspector (who has probably forgotten now as it was a while ago) and ask them if it looked like the treatment was recent or not. No sticker implies it was more than a few years ago.
 
Top