Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter! In this issue, we delve into a practice that’s been gaining popularity but comes with significant risks: relying on vendor-supplied builder’s reports during property transactions.
While it might seem convenient to have a pre-purchase builder’s report handed to you on a silver platter, it’s essential to understand the potential pitfalls that come with this seemingly helpful gesture.
The Trap of Vendor-Supplied Builder’s Reports
It’s become a trend for real estate agents to suggest that vendors provide potential buyers with a pre-purchase builder’s report. On the surface, this might appear as a step toward transparency, but the reality is far more complex. The danger lies in the fact that vendors are only obligated to disclose defects they are aware of. If a vendor obtains a builder’s report, they must disclose any defects it reveals, creating a potential conflict of interest.
Vendors may inadvertently or intentionally downplay certain issues to make their property more appealing. Furthermore, there’s a possibility that the vendor obtains a report from a less thorough inspector, leading to incomplete information being passed on to potential buyers.
A Closer Look at Disclosure Documents
Recently a disturbing trend has emerged where disclosure documents provided to purchasers alongside vendor-supplied builder’s reports contain disclaimers that cast doubt on the reliability of these reports. Fine print may include statements like, “We recommend you seek independent advice regarding this matter,” or “Purchasers should undertake their own independent due diligence/specialist reports.”
Essentially, these disclaimers are saying, “Here’s the vendor’s builder’s report, but don’t solely rely on it.” This begs the question: if even the real estate professionals are advising against relying on these reports, shouldn’t buyers exercise extreme caution before making any decisions?
The Prudent Path for Vendors and Purchasers
For vendors, the wisest course of action is to refrain from obtaining pre-purchase builder’s reports to present to potential buyers. This avoids any perception of bias and allows purchasers to conduct their own due diligence without any external influence.
On the other hand, for purchasers, the golden rule should be: Always Get Your Own Builder’s Report. Relying solely on a vendor-supplied report can lead to critical oversights. By commissioning an independent report, buyers gain a clearer and more impartial picture of the property’s condition. Remember, a reputable inspector with no vested interest can provide the insights needed to make an informed decision.
The allure of vendor-supplied builder’s reports may be tempting, but the risks far outweigh the convenience. Vendors may unintentionally or purposely omit defects, and these reports often come with disclaimers that advise against relying on them. When it comes to something as significant as purchasing a property, thorough due diligence is crucial.
Our advice to both vendors and purchasers is crystal clear: Opt for Independence. Vendors should avoid presenting their own builder’s reports, while purchasers should always obtain their independent assessments to ensure a transparent and secure property transaction.