Pre-settlement inspection: what home buyers need to know

Settlement is the final stage in the home buying process, but it’s not the time to get complacent. You want to be confident that you’re buying property in the condition advertised, without any nasty surprises that could add to your expenses.

As a buyer, you have the right to a final inspection of the property before signing on the dotted line. These inspections can be conducted by your conveyancer or other licensed professionals who know just what to look for and can help you to catch any costly problems before they become your responsibility to fix.

When to organise an inspection

Buyers are entitled to inspect a property up to a week before settlement. Scheduling an inspection for as close to this date as possible will give you the clearest impression of the property as you will receive it, especially after tenants or owners have moved out.

This should be arranged with your conveyancer or real estate agent ahead of time to make sure your preferred date is available.

Common problems

Following are the most common issues identified during property inspections, so you know what to prioritise. Conveyancers inspect the whole house and grounds to confirm whether the property is in the condition stated.

  1. Damage to property

Damage to walls, flooring or other parts of the property must be stated in the sales contract and agreed by the buyer. Some damage is considered acceptable if it’s necessary for installation, such as holes in a wall for TV mounting.

  1. Wear and tear

Buildings may show appropriate wear and tear for their age, as long there’s no damage. Vendors are not required to thoroughly clean a property before a sale, but it should be presentable and lawns must be kept within council limits.

  1. Fixtures

Permanent fixtures such as doors and windows, carpets, curtain tracks, smoke alarms and electrical and plumbing connections should all be present, along with any appliances detailed in the sale contract.

  1. Non-fixtures

Removable furniture, appliances, rubbish and other items should not be present in or around the home, unless this was agreed in the sale or the vendor’s conveyancer or solicitor can guarantee that these will be removed by the settlement date.

  1. Appliances not working

Fixed appliances such as heating and cooling systems and rangehoods should be in good working order, unless otherwise stated. The vendor may have already cancelled electricity and gas services to the property, so it’s recommended that you have these connected in your name in time for the inspection.

What other inspections do I need?

Depending on where the property is located and other considerations, you could benefit from organising other inspections before you sign the contract. These may include:

  • Building and pest inspection
  • Land contamination report
  • Surveyor’s report
  • Swimming pool inspection

Find out more.

What to do if there’s a problem

If one or more issues are identified during a pre-settlement inspection, you should notify your real estate agent or conveyancer. They will communicate with the vendor to discuss repairs or other resolutions before settlement.

You are then entitled to organise a second inspection to check that the issue has been dealt with. If repairs are not possible, the vendor may offer a price reduction for you to consider.

Get help with property settlement

Settlement can be the most complex part of buying a home. East Coast Conveyancing can conduct inspections and liaise with vendors on your behalf to take the stress out of buying property and make sure you’re fairly represented.

Call our team on 1300 327 826 or download our free ebook below to find out how we can help you.


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