The standard pre-purchase inspection is a Residential Property Inspection NZS 4306:2005. This is a visual inspection of the property. This means it won't identify any problems concealed behind finished surfaces, eg plumbing, framing, insulation or wiring.
During the inspection, the inspector looks for signs of any problems, eg:
- structural damage
- drainage issues
- dodgy wiring
- faulty pipes.
They will take photos of problem areas and comment on them in the report. This includes signs of gradual deterioration as well as things that may be an issue now.
Some inspectors are happy for you to go to the inspection. This is chance to take your own photos and see any issues firsthand. Going along may cost slightly more — the inspection is likely to take longer than if they were doing it alone.
A pre-purchase inspection may identify where work has been done on the original house, eg a dug out basement, a new room or deck. It will not tell you if the renovations have building consent. Find this out from council records and/or a LIM report.
LIM report — Prepare to make an offer
Work requiring consent(external link) — Building Performance
A pre-purchase inspection looks for clues. You may need to find out more based on what's found.