The Importance of a Pre-Settlement Inspection

Among the bevy of formalities, contracts and agreements related to buying a new property, there exists an underappreciated aspect of ownership that is often glossed over or missed entirely. The pre-settlement inspection represents a property buyers chance to inspect a property after a contract of sale has been signed.

Being able to inspect a property after purchase is crucial because there is always the possibility that the property does not resemble what the new owners believe they purchased originally, which can especially be the case if the previous owners are still living in the property for a small amount of time after the sale contract is signed.

The most immediately obvious example of this is the interior of the house being properly vacant. This is an ideal opportunity to properly assess the house and discover any defects. Because house-staging has become such a big business, it is increasingly possible for defects to be expertly masked during the initial selling process. With the removal of things like furniture and art, flaws like stains, blemishes and poor paint work become much more obvious. It is also possible for the property sellers to swap out appliances, or even remove them entirely. Problems can also be more obvious, such as previous owners leaving large amounts of rubbish or old furniture in the house for the new owners to manage.

What to look for in a pre-settlement inspection

We’ve compiled a list of the things you should ideally look out for during your pre-settlement inspection. They are:

  • Plumbing (leaking taps and well-draining sinks, properly flushing toilets, hot water service)
  • Kitchen appliances (correct dishwasher, oven, stove and similar kitchen appliances)
  • Other appliances around the house (smoke detectors, light fixtures, ceiling and exhaust fans, air conditioners, heaters, climate control amenities and ducted heating)
  • Undamaged doors and windows that are capable of opening and closing with ease and can be sealed/locked if required

It’s important while you’re inspecting your house to keep a keen eye out for anything else that might be out of the ordinary, and keep in mind things that are no longer there that were agreed to in the original sales contract.

What to expect with a pre-settlement inspection

If you’ve undertaken a pre-settlement inspection and have found something was not originally in the contract (whether it be damage, missing appliances, or rubbish), you can avoid settling until the issues are rectified.

These situations can be highly valuable as if the buyer finds something damaged or in disrepair working as it was on the day the property was sold to them, they can request a repair. Legislation related to pre-settlement inspections varies between from states, but it is often the case that buyers can inspect a property at a reasonable time during the week before settlement by arranging an inspection with the agent.

How to settle one of these inspections

If you do find that the property is not to your expectations, we encourage you to contact the team at Goodman Group Lawyers. As highly experienced conveyancers, we’re able to negotiate with solicitors of the vendors to reach an outcome that all parties involved can be satisfied with.

Remember to take advantage of the pre-settlement inspection whenever you can – if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of taking ownership of a house that has any damage, or anything similarly problematic, there is little you can do after settlement is completed. To find more about our conveyance services, or more about the inspections involved during the stages of buying property, get in touch with us today.

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