Real Estate: A Guide For Buyers And Sellers

The following information has been sourced from Consumers Affairs Victoria.


Make several visits to a property before you decide to buy it. Visiting the area at different times of the day or week can highlight issues that may not be immediately be apparent at a daytime inspection – for example, the level of street noise or how well-lit and safe the areas feels at night.

The first visit will give you an initial impression and determine if the property meets your basic requirements, such as location, age, size, access to facilities, style and condition. If you are inspecting a number of properties in one day, it is a good idea to take a notebook and record any identifying features. You will need to get the agent’s permission to take photographs.

Keep an eye out for signs of potential structural problems. For example:

  • sloping or bouncy floors may mean re-stumping is needed
  • damp brick walls can indicate rising damp or salt damp
  • blisters or bubbles on paintwork can indicate termite activity
  • cracked walls can indicate subsidence, requiring re-stumping. If there are large cracks, you should seek advice from a structural engineer.
  • mouldy walls, lifting tiles, peeling paint or pools of water in wet areas can indicate excessive moisture
  • fretting (crazed) brickwork can indicate major structural problems
  • a sagging roof, cracked or broken roof tiles may involve costly repairs or replacement.

Seller’s tip

It is natural to want to present your property in the best possible light. First impressions count and it never hurts to mow the lawn, place a few plants in the garden, keep the house clean and tidy and even add a lick of paint.

While it is acceptable to present a property in a good light, it is not acceptable to cover up, misrepresent or in any way mislead a buyer about its true condition.

Professional building inspections

Before signing a contract, consider paying an independent qualified building inspector, surveyor or architect to do a professional building inspection report on the property. A qualified inspector will know what to look for and will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that may otherwise be missed.

The inspector will provide a written report listing faults, whether they can be repaired and the likely cost. The report will also highlight any unsafe renovations or extensions.

You may be able to use this report to negotiate conditions in the contract – and possibly the price – with the seller. The inspection service should have full professional indemnity insurance to protect you, as the buyer, if a problem is missed in the inspection.

Buyer’s tip

If the property has been renovated or extended, check the vendor’s statement and contact the local council to check whether relevant planning or building permits were obtained.

Any illegal alterations may become your responsibility once the contract is signed.

Be cautious of any property inspection report offered by the agent or the seller. The independence of a report is only guaranteed if it is obtained specifically by and for the buyer.

The fee for a professional inspection service is small compared with the cost of unforeseen and expensive repairs. Even if no major faults are found, minor faults can be identified for future maintenance if you buy the property.

Pest inspections

You should also consider a professional pest inspection.

For a full list of local councils with designated termite areas, visit the Building Commission website, or ask the council for an updated status report.

Assessing the sustainability of homes

Sustainable housing features can affect the comfort of your home and energy costs. Features such as rainwater tanks or solar hot water are now found in an increasing number of new and older homes.

There is a 6-star energy efficiency standard for all new homes, and for renovations, additions and relocations of existing homes.

New homes must have:

  • 6-star energy rating for the building fabric including the roof, walls, floor and windows
  • 6-star energy rating for fixed lighting but not plug in appliances
  • a rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system.

Renovations, additions and relocations must have a 6-star energy rating for the building fabric, but do not require a rainwater tank or a solar hot water system. If a renovation or addition is more than 50 per cent of the volume of an existing house, the whole building needs to be upgraded to a 6-star standard.

For new apartments, the average is a 6-star energy rating for the whole block with a minimum of 5-star for individual apartments.

When buying an established home, consider the benefits of sustainable features that can reduce running costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and add to the value of a property.

For information about the energy efficiency features to look for in a home, go to the Make your home green page on the Building Commission website.

Vacant land

If you are buying vacant land to build on, consider obtaining a soil test beforehand. This could avoid problems and extra costs when building and excavation commences.

Domestic building insurance

A builder must be registered in order to carry out domestic building work over $5000. If the contract is more than $12,000, the builder must have domestic building insurance.

Domestic building insurance will protect a home owner from defective or incomplete building works if the builder:

  • dies
  • becomes insolvent, or
  • disappears

However, insurance cover is limited to six years for structural defects and two years for non-structural defects.

A builder still operating a business is responsible for fixing defects or completing building work according to plans and specifications in the contract.

Consumers and builders can get free advice and assistance on domestic building disputes by contacting Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria (BACV) on 1300 557 559.

For more information about domestic building, visit the Building and renovating section of the Consumer Affairs website.

Owner-built properties

If an owner-builder sells a property within six years of obtaining a certificate of occupancy or final inspection, they must obtain a defects inspection report from a prescribed building practitioner. This report will be attached to the contract of sale.

Any defects that arise and are not listed in the report will be covered under the builder’s domestic building insurance. For properties built after June 2005, owner-builders must also have a certificate of consent issued by the Building Practitioners’ Board for the domestic building works.

An owner-builder must have domestic building insurance if the property is sold within six years of completion.

Buyer’s tip

Never sign a contract for an owner-built property before checking the property carefully. If there is an issue with defective or incomplete work, check with your local council or ask the property owner for information.


Do ant caps prevent termite attack?

Do ant caps prevent a termite attack? See the answer in the Facebook video below:

A quick explanation on ant caps on subfloor construction. Here we have a concrete stump with a metal ant cap. Now originally, the metal ant cap were designed to go onto top of a timber stump.

Where the termites are going up underneath the ground, through the timber stump and only going as far as the metal ant cap and then coming out and exposing themselves before they going into the bearers joist, flooring, etc.

So, these are an inspection tool. They are not a deterrent. Terminates will still go around the metal ant cap and still go into the timber. So, they will not stop termite activity.

In this situation with a concrete stump, and metal ant cap; it is quite irrelevant as the termites are can’t go up the inside of the concrete stump so they are going to come up the outside of the concrete stump, over the metal ant cap, and into the timber.

Metal ant cap; concrete stump; quite irrelevant. Metal were ant caps originally designed to go on timber stumps.

In the below image, you can see the termite trail going over the metal ant cap

COVID-19 Business As Usual ……Homes are still Selling by private inspection only!

With the COVID-19 virus being declared a global pandemic, we wanted to share some important information about the steps we’re taking to support you during these uncertain times.

Our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of our Clients, Tenants, Home Owners and Agents. We’re closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and, following the advice of the government authorities, we will respond to any updated recommendations.

Safety precautions

While on-site, my team and I are following these steps to help maintain a sanitary environment in people’s homes:

  • We are asking that Agents ,Home Owners and Clients are not present during the inspection in keeping with the safe distance rule. During our Inspection we take photos and notes and we follow up with a digital comprehensive report and a phone call to our clients. 
  • If any inspectors have a fever or cough, we do not conduct the inspection.
  • If any home Owners have a fever over 37.5 degrees, runny nose or feels unwell please contact the Agent immediately and cancel the Inspection.
  • Inspector will wash hands multiple times during every inspection, especially after touching things like faucets and door handles.
  • Inspector will wear a mask and gloves which will be disposed off after each Inspection.
  • Inspector will bring hand towels or paper towels to dry their hands. 
  • Inspector will keep hand sanitizer nearby and use it when needed.
  • Inspector will use disinfectant wipes or the equivalent on faucets and door handles.

We work alone , We take great pride in what we do and we hope we can still continue to provide our services to give  you the  peace of Mind in buying property and insure you that your Investment is Safe and Sound.
We believe these precautions are important and a part of our responsibility in taking care of our clients and each other, We just ask that everyone works together and support one another through this time.

Whose fault is it if you buy a home with illegal buildings on it?

Hao Dong recently found out most of the structures on his property were illegal. The house, in a northern working class suburb of Melbourne, was “blessed” according to the advertisement. Key points:

  • Melbourne man purchased a home two years ago and has just learnt most of the buildings on the property are illegal
  • Whittlesea Council say the bungalow, garage and two sheds in the backyard were constructed without a permit
  • The owner now has to demolish the buildings or get permits

Read the full story

Are Termites Lurking About in Your Garage?

Recently I am finding more and more termite activity in garage timbers.

Even in steel garages and shed timber cross members.

Often these areas are enclosed and stored with goods that can be unchecked for years and as these areas are non-habitable they are prone to moisture.

I recommend checking your garage and sheds regularly as you could be housing a termite nest within metres of your property and once they get into your home it can too often be too late.

Find out if Termites are in your Garage with a Pest and Termite Inspection from Victorian House Inspections.


What is a home loan broker and why use one?

Matching you with a great home loan

Conducting a property inspection is just one of the many steps on your journey to purchasing property. And getting an inspection is easy—just call us up, and we’ll do the rest!

But what about shopping for a home loan? It’s not just a matter of going to your everyday bank and applying for a loan. These days, there are many lenders in the market, each offering what seems like hundreds of loans and loan features.

However, rather than making your decision easier, this extra choice can make the process of choosing a home loan seem more difficult and daunting.

So how do you discover the right loan for you? That’s where home loan brokers come in.

What do home loan brokers do?

Put simply, home loan brokers do most of the legwork for you. They comb through lenders and their products to find a loan that is an ideal match for you and your financial situation.

What are some of the things a home loan broker will look at?

  • Income
  • Credit history
  • Savings
  • Bank statements
  • Employment

A good home loan broker will look at your application in extra detail to make sure that your positive financial aspects are not hidden and ignored.

How to pick a home loan broker?

A home loan broker can help you pick the right loan. But it’s also matter of picking the right broker!

Here are some things you can do to make sure that you find a professional and quality broker:

  • Do your research. Are they licensed? Are they professional? Do others recommend them?
  • Call them up. Calling them up will give you a good indication of their level of customer service. It will also establish what they can do to help you.
  • Follow them on social media. Still not sure? Then follow them on social media. A good business will be active, answer customer questions and post interesting and useful information.

Who are Rapid Finance?

Rapid Finance are finance specialists with well over a decade of experience. The team at Rapid are experts in helping those who have a bad credit history to get finance—from home loans, car loans and much more.

Here is what makes Rapid Finance different:

  • Improved chance of approval. Dedicated finance specialists at Rapid Finance check individual applications to understand their customer’s true financial situation.
  • Free assessment.Rapid’s initial assessment is free of charge. Fees only have to be paid after the loan terms have been accepted by you.
  • One point of contact. You’ll get your own dedicated expert when you deal with Rapid.
  • Flexible lending criteria. Discover the right mix of loan features and terms – whatever works best for you and your budget.
  • Bad credit specialists.Rapid Finance considers applicants that have a bad credit history, including credit card defaults, discharged bankruptcy and repossessions.
  • Range of options. Rapid can find a great home loan by matching clients with lenders such as GE Money, Macquarie, Bankwest and more.
  • Fast, online process.The application process is quite fast and a preliminary assessment can be done through phone also.

Finding the right experts.

From building inspections to finding finance, working with the right experts can reduce some of the risks of buying property, making your life easier to manage and without unexpected surprises. Call the team at Victorian House Inspections for more information about building inspections.

New Section 32 Legislation to Effect Homeowners

As of the 1st of October, legislation for the section 32 changes!

Due to the result of this change it is now the responsibility of the vendors or the real estate agent to supply a due diligence check list.  This checklist will need to be supplied in the section 32 contract of sale.

As you may read on the links provided on due diligence, engaging building and/or pest inspection may assess the property for any potential hazards such as, termites, asbestos or illegal building work. Check out our prices for a building and timber pest inspection here

Check out this link for further information on the latest legislative changes and due diligence checklists

Buyer Beware! Is Your Building Inspector Registered?

Buyer Beware! Is your building inspector conducting a Building Inspection or Timber Pest Inspection and NOT registered? In some cases it’s the company that’s registered not the individual so watch out! You may be paying for something you’re not getting – and that’s qualified advice!

Today Tonight recently aired a segment on Building Inspectors. Check it out here:

Don’t waste your money and risk your investment with inexperienced and unqualified inspectors who conduct Building Inspections or Termite Inspections.  The very important difference is…? We’re registered, we’re qualified, we’re experienced, we’re insured, we’re the best choice!

Did we mention Damien is a qualified Carpenter, Registered Builder, Timber Pest Inspector and with over 25 years experience building houses all over Melbourne?

Visit the Building Commissions website to check the inspector is who they say they are. (some are only qualified for building pergolas so make sure they are an unlimited builder!), ask for their registration number, type it in and see for yourself. As an example, enter in Damiens registration number, which is DB-U 13612.

You can be certain we are who we say we are!

First Home Owners Grant? First Home Buyer? Our Building Inspections and Timber Pest Inspections can help put your mind at ease.

Are you a first home owner? You don’t have long before the government assisted grant for new home buyers finishes and Victorian House Inspections are here to help!

We, at Victorian House Inspections know that buying your first house is a huge investment, made easier by the government first home owner’s grant. However, as the government has decided to bring the first home buyers grant to an end on June 30, now is the time to take advantage by purchasing your home before it is too late.

In accordance with the government first home owner grant, we are also offering our own special offer.

We are offering FREE Thermal detection for Timber Pest Inspections and a FREE Land Measurements for all of our Building Inspections. This is combined with our fully written reports with photos within 24 hours of our Inspections, FREE advice and help with finding the trades you could need for maintenance items…all we highly recommend to give you a great price and peace of mind.

While you are saving on a new deposit, Victorian House Inspections can potentially save you thousands in detection of termites, building defects, maintenance items or just putting your mind at ease knowing what you are buying is worth it!

All you need to do to claim this great offer is quote ‘VICHOUSE’ when booking and we will be happy to include this in our quality Building Inspections or Timber Pest Inspections…all for $590 including GST!

SO if you are a First home buyer and are getting in quick to take advantage of the First Home Owner Government Grant then contact us today… or if you prefer to make a booking please use our webpage