How important is a pre-settlement Inspection?
When you purchase a property – whether it is for yourself to move into as your new home, or as an investment, you are entitled to a final inspection of the property before settlement occurs and you become the legal owner of the property.
Obviously if you are purchasing the property with vacant possession, the best time to do the inspection is as soon as the occupants have vacated, and as close to the time of settlement as possible – such as the afternoon on the day before settlement, or the morning of settlement day. If the you are purchasing a property with tenants in place that will be remaining once you take over ownership, it is also a good idea to do a pre-settlement inspection within 3 days of settlement, just to make sure the property is basically in the same condition it was when you first inspected it and there has not been any damage done that you have not been made aware of.
So what do you look for at a pre-settlement inspection?
1. Is the property in the same condition or has there been any damage – other than fair wear and tear to the property, since you signed the contract?
2. Is everything that was in working order when you signed the contract or at the time of the building & pest inspection report, still working?
3. Are any items that were listed as inclusions on the contract of sale still in the property?
What can you do if there is a problem?
If it is just a small issue like some rubbish that can easily removed by throwing it in the wheelie bin, just mention it to the sales agent so it can be brought up with the seller to see if the sellers are willing to attend to it. If the issue doesn’t end up being rectified by settlement, while it is not nice, it also is not a major drama that can delay or hold up settlement.
If there is an unreasonable issue that you are unwilling to accept, you have a couple of options.
1. Discuss the problem with your agent as they have a direct ear to the seller, but also notify your Solicitor that you would like to formally request to the Seller what the issues are and that you are requesting the matters to be remedied before settlement occurs.
2. Your solicitor will advise you on the course to take depending on the issue, but it could mean that settlement may be delayed until the issue is remedied, or that settlement continues as planned but some funds are withheld at settlement until the issue is rectified.
As with all topics of a legal nature we recommend you seek the advice of a professional in that area. We’re fantastic real estate agents – but not lawyers!