Invest in a building report
Your home will be the biggest purchase you'll ever make. Martin recommends engaging a registered building inspector if you want to make an offer.
A pre-purchase or building report involves undertaking a thorough inspection to report on a property’s finishes, structure and services, identify any defects and problems, and assess the maintenance requirements. The whole property should be checked, including the garage or shed, fences, retaining walls, driveway and paths. By paying for your own report, you can be sure it’s impartial and that the person who prepared it is suitably qualified.
The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) recommends using a qualified building inspector that works in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard and who has professional indemnity insurance. This will help protect you if you discover problems later on which should have been picked up in a building inspection. You will be able to make a complaint to the professional body the inspector belongs to and seek compensation through the courts. If you get a builder friend to look at the property, you could end up with some expensive problems. If they are unqualified or uninsured you may limit your ability to seek damages if the property has significant issues.