Buying a home will probably be the most expensive purchase you will ever make. With such a phenomenal investment at stake, it's crucial that you leave no stone unturned. Pest damage is a serious issue that's often overlooked. Termites can cause structural defects and cosmetic damage that could significantly reduce the value of the property. While it's not always a deal-breaker, spotting pest problems in advance can give you some serious negotiating power.

If you're buying a new home, take the following information into account.

Include a Pest Clause in Your Sale Agreement

Having a pest clause in your contract of sale will allow you undertake inspections by a specific date and terminate the contract if the report is unsatisfactory. Agree on a suitable time, giving yourself enough leeway for written inspection reports to be compiled and sent. If the building is subsequently found to have structural defects (not including cosmetic damage) caused by pests, you will be within your rights to terminate the contract, forcing the seller to fix the problems or reduce the overall price. 

Obtain a Written Pest Assessment by a Qualified Professional

Obtain an Australian Standard Pest Report from a licensed builder, architect or surveyor. Schedule an inspection as early as possible, especially if you've seen signs of a termite infestation during the viewing. While hiring a professional may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially during the early stages of the sale agreement, it could save you a great deal of hassle in the future.

Beware of House-Only Inspection Clauses

Thoroughly read every clause in the contract to ensure the building and pest inspection is not limited to the house only. This essentially means that you "accept" the current condition of the exterior: fences, swimming pool, walls, parking space. Question any clauses that seem out of the ordinary and make sure they are addressed before signing the contract agreement. 

Always Consider Your Options

Termite damage isn't always a deal-breaker; however, it's definitely something you'll have to resolve prior to signing a contract. If you're still considering purchasing a property after an unsatisfactory inspection, hire a structural engineer to determine whether or not the property is beyond repair. If it is sound, chemical treatment may be the only option to get rid of the pests.

Only use pest inspectors that are regulated by the government and hold indemnity insurance (also known as professional liability insurance). Once you have the report and quotes from reliable pest control companies, use the information to re-negotiate the price. For more information about negotiating prices when buying a home, contact a company like Woodgate Lawyers.