Brisbane homebuyer waives building and pest inspection before discovering termite infestation

Louise * admits she was “caught out”.

What was going to be a dream home for her and her husband to live out their twilight years is now a dirt-covered plot of land.

And a money pit. She’s lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Louise bought the house in Brisbane’s south east last year with the intention of renovating it.

However, when her builders began knocking down walls, they made a devastating discovery: a massive infestation of termites.

“Every wall was eaten from the bottom up to the roof,” said Louise, who 7NEWS.com.au has chosen not to identify.

Brisbane woman Louise agreed to buy the house without a building and pest inspection. Credit: 7NEWS

Then they were hit with another thunderbolt. So widespread was the damage from the pests, it would cost around $ 600,000 to $ 650,000 to fix.

In other words, the house “was not able to be saved”, Louise said.

“We’ve had to demolish the home. We just could not save it at that cost, ”she said.

“It was not worth it to do so.”

Crucial error

So why wasn’t the problem discovered earlier?

According to Louise, she felt pressured for a clause in the sale contract stipulating a requirement for a building and pest inspection to be removed.

“They insisted that we could not because, they said, that there were so many buyers,” she said.

“They said we would miss out on the property, because they had someone offering $ 100,000 more (who they would sell to) if we did not take the clause off at that moment.

“That was just pressure.”

She has been forced to demolish the house for a new one to be built. Credit: 7NEWS

Kylie Newman, a conveyancing law expert at McCarthy Durie Lawyers, said the practice of building and pest inspections being removed from sale contracts has become more common during recent years amid frenzied demand for property.

“It’s not an uncommon clause to be waived, particularly in the most recent market where there were significantly more buyers than properties,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.

“In a lot of instances, buyers have become emotionally attached to the property.”

She said the only reason not to have a building and pest inspection included in the contract would be if the buyer had arranged it themselves prior to the sale.

“However, the practical aspect is clients will waive those rights if they consider the risk is low and if they’re intending to knock the property down and aren’t too worried about it,” said Newman.

The empty block in Brisbane’s southeast. Credit: 7NEWS

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said not having an inspection has significant risk for buyers.

“Including a building and pest condition is not mandatory or compulsory, but given buying a property is likely to be the most significant acquisition many people make in a lifetime, it is highly recommended,” she said.

“In a competitive market, some buyers may opt to enter into an unconditional contract but this comes with a level of risk, particularly when building and pest issues are identified post purchase of the property.

“A seller may commission their own building and pest report to save buyers time and money, however buyers need to check that if in the event they are the successful buyer, they are able to directly rely on the report and seek compensation from the inspector for any damage or loss they may suffer if the report is defective. ”

Sage advice

However Louise warns that buyers need to be diligent even if they do get a building and pest inspection.

She claims two building reports she had done – after she bought his property – ahead of renovations indicated there was only “little bits” of termite infestation.

She said she’s been told it will be two years until their house is built.

“The consequences are huge, especially if you think you’re going to live in it,” she said.

“We just got caught out with this.”

* Not her real name.

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