It is likely that you will inspect the property at least twice, at least once before you sign a contract, and once more before final settlement.
Most people get a lawyer (or, a conveyancer) after a contract is signed. We do, however, strongly recommend that you engage a lawyer before you sign a contract. That is because once a contract is signed, it is difficult (and costly) for us to change the contract.
If you are a buyer, when you inspect a property, you need to be aware of a few things. What furniture or chattels are included? What fixtures do you need the seller to include in the contract? Does the property have a pool and a pool safety certificate? If there is a garage or car park, how many remote controls are included? Minor things can often become the most frustrating issues, if the contract is not drafted satisfactorily.
Talk to us even before you step into an open house inspection. Get legal advice even before you go to an auction. We will give you useful tips, and alert you of potential issues. Discuss with us before you sign a contract, so we can protect your interests.
Before final settlement, we recommend that you carry out a final inspection of the property. This usually happens 1-2 days before settlement. The purpose of this final inspection is not for a buyer to obtain any rights to terminate the contract or to reduce the purchase price, but simply to make sure that the property is in the same condition as when the contract is signed.
Quite often, a buyer may request the seller to carry out repairs under the “building and pest inspection”. If that happens, the buyer should take the final inspection as an opportunity to make sure that those repairs are done properly.
What should I be aware of when inspecting a property?
- Whether there are any cracks in the property wall, internal ceilings and driveway. These will show up in the Building Report (a good one), but you may form a preliminary view by just paying attention to these things yourself.
- Do the fences and retaining walls look safe? Again, we are not a building or fence experts, but if a retaining wall looks wobbly, you might want to stop and think about it, right?
- Does the garage door, dishwasher, light switches, oven, showerheads etc work properly?
- How old is the property? Ask the friendly real estate agent!
- Do you like the surrounding environment? Who are the neighbours (do they look friendly?)?
- Is there a smoke alarm installed?
- Are there air conditioning units, and are they working? Are remotes included, and how many?
- Is there a swimming pool? Is there a pool safety certificate?
- Is there a body corporate, and how much are the body corporate fees?
- What furniture is included in the sale? Is the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, window curtains/blinds, wall-mounted television etc included? How many remote controls are included? Whether these items are included in the sale depends on the situation, so we recommend that it is better to state in the contract whether they are included.