What is a Pre-Purchase Inspection? And should we get one before buying a house?

A Pre-Purchase Inspection is carried out before purchasing a property.  


A good building inspection company is non-biased, independent from agents and sellers, trustworthy and provides a full comprehensive written report that highlights significant defects and gives a summary to the overall condition of the property.  Being independent means, they are not emotionally attached to the property or client and will tell it how it is and not sugarcoat things.  You will be thankful for this kind of Building Surveyor in the long run when you drive past that property you once got inspected and saw the new owner having to carry out extensive repair works on it.              


Every house deteriorates over time through wear and tear,  environmental conditions, lack of general maintenance or just because of the age of the products.  Sometimes it’s not just the obvious things that are costly, but a lot of little issues throughout the house all put together can add up quickly.  You need to be aware of these issues before buying your house so that you can make an informed decision.            


What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic drug, manufactured from a range of highly toxic and poisonous chemicals.  It can be smoked, swallowed, injected or snorted and comes in two main forms being Crystal Rock and Powder.


Methamphetamine is an odorous stimulant which speeds up the messages to and from the brain, hence the street name of ‘speed.'  It is also commonly known in New Zealand as, Meth or P but other names  used include crystal meth, pure, ice, crank, whiz, and molly.       

Why should we be worried about Meth?

New Zealand and Australia are amongst the highest users of Meth in the world.  


Methamphetamine is quick and easy to manufacture if you know what you are doing and can be made in virtually any location.  Both smoking and manufacturing Meth leaves behind a residue which is toxic and harmful.  


During the manufacturing process (cooking) the chemicals used become airborne or volatile and can quickly be absorbed into porous surfaces,  i.e., carpets, sofas, and curtains, and settle on the surface of walls, ceilings, and appliances.     

How do you test for meth?

At Total House Inspections, we only use approved methods supported by NIOSH 9111 (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health).


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Why don’t you use the onsite indicative meth tests?

They are unreliable and don’t give a unit reading of the area being sampled. This type of testing method is not approved by NIOSH. 

How long does a Meth Inspection take?

For an average three bedroom house, you will be looking at around an hour for us to collect the series of samples needed for a Lab Composite Test. After the samples have been taken, we will normally get you the results within 48 hours. 

How long does a House Inspection take?

Inspections times vary depending on the type, age and size of the house being inspected, but normally for an average three bedroom house, we would be looking at 2-3hrs for a thorough onsite inspection that is carried out to NZS 4306:2005. 

What is Professional Indemnity Insurance and why is it so important that Building Inspection Companies have it?

Professional indemnity insurance is often referred to as professional liability insurance or PI insurance. This type of insurance is very expensive and hard to get,  and not all Inspection companies have it for these reasons.


PI insurance is needed where professional advice is given as part of the service provided. Many House Inspection Companies say that they comply with the New Zealand Standard 4306:2005 A requirement for complying with this standard is that the company or person conducting such inspections must have a current Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy.


A Building Surveyor or House Inspection Company should be happy to provide proof of insurances if requested.  

What is New Zealand Standard 4306:2005 and how does it benefit me?

NZS 4306:2005 was formed to give consistency and reliability into the inspection of residential properties. This standard sets out the minimum requirements for visual inspections and what should be documented in a report.


Getting your house inspected from a Company that complies with NZS 3406:2005 means that you will receive a detailed report highlighting significant defects, particular attributes, gradual deterioration and significant maintenance required on the property.    

I can get a cheaper inspection done elsewhere, will you drop your price?

No sorry. We are not the cheapest, and we are not the most expensive.  As the old saying goes, "you pay for what you get."


Building Inspection Companies vary quite considerably between t  hem. Some are builders that do inspections on the side for friends and family. Some are not suitably qualified. Some don’t carry any form of Insurances. Some don’t comply with NZS 4306:2005. And some just do verbal inspections only.


Our Building Surveyors at Total House Inspections attend regular training courses to continue to upskill, have all appropriate Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurances, have the latest and most advanced equipment to assist with their inspections and most of all we offer a professional, fast service that you expect.          

What is a Thermal Imaging Camera (Infrared Camera) and how can they help in an inspection?

Every object emits different levels of Thermal radiation. An infrared camera displays these different levels of Thermal radiation in an image which can be saved. Because a damp or wet object has a different temperature to a dry object, it emits different levels of Thermal Radiation, therefore alerting the Thermographer to potential moisture problems in that area.

A misconception with this piece of technology is that an Infrared Camera can see through the walls and get a reading from the inside. This is not the case as it can only read the service temperature and thermal radiation on an object. 

A Thermal Image Camera can also assist in detecting if insulation is present or even partially missing in a building by displaying different Thermal Energy that is being emitted by the wall/ceiling linings. 


Why don’t you offer verbal reports?

Total House Inspections complies with NZS 3406:2005. To comply with this standard, all House Inspections must be documented in a written report that is provided to the client. Verbal inspections only, are a lawsuit in the making and are open to people being misled or not fully understanding what the problems are with the property.     

Why can’t you get onto the roof to inspect it?

Recent Worksafe NZ Law changes have meant that Building Surveyors can no longer get onto a roof without being appropriately harnessed or have safety guards around the outside of the roof.


To comply with these changes, it would mean that there would be significant increases in the price of that inspection. Inspections are carried out from a ladder that is no greater than 3.6mtrs from the ground.        

Do you move furniture or items out of the way during inspections?

No. We have no right to move people's personal items around either inside or outside the house. If the owner is home at the time of the inspection, then we would kindly ask them to move the items instead if we needed to get to a particular area.


We do however inform the real-estate agent before our inspection that all access areas need to be free from obstructing areas.       

How long does it take for us to receive the written report from you after the inspection?

Total House Inspections will get your full comprehensive written report to you within 24 hours after the inspection on site was completed.

What happens if I don’t understand something in the written report?

Give us a call, and we would be happy to discuss your report and explain to you the parts that you don't understand. Our primary goal is to ensure that you the client is satisfied in our service.     

What is a Maintenance / Condition Report service that you offer?

Do we carry out remediation work on the houses we inspect?

No, we do not fix houses that we  inspect, and you should be wary of companies that do. We are entirely independent of the people that carry out the remediation work. We don't even recommend trades service companies to our clients.