If you’re reading this you’re probably arrived at the point for a pre-settlement inspection. Congratulations! You’re nearly at the end of the home buying process. But don’t forget about this important step. Inspecting the home you’ve bought and are moving into help ensure nothing bad surprises you down the line.
It’s a simple enough procedure. But if someone’s been living in the home during the settlement stage, you’ll want to make sure it’s still in the condition you agreed on. Settlements periods can range anywhere between 30 and 90 days, which leaves ample time for unexpected changes to occur.
Think of this as a final chance to verify everything in the property is as stated in the contract. And if it isn’t, we’ll also go through how to solve those issues. So before you head out for the appointment, arm yourself with our comprehensive pre-settlement inspection checklist and a notepad. And let’s kick this off by addressing a few questions you might have.
When should the pre-settlement inspection take place?
Usually, the pre-settlement inspections are scheduled by the real estate agent. It shouldn’t take longer than a half hour, especially if there are still people living there. So if you have any questions or concerns, now’s the time to raise them.
When the inspections take place depends on your state. But here are some examples of current regulations:
Victoria – inspections can be arranged anytime within the week before settlement.
South Australia – inspections are only permitted if stated as such in the contract.
Take a look at your state’s government website to stay up to date. And get organised so you have plenty of time to prepare for the inspection. The earlier the better—that way if the vendor has any repairs to arrange, there is enough time to complete them before you move in.
Who can inspect the property?
Typically, the real estate agent is present during the inspection and accompanies you—the buyer. Just make sure you’ve scheduled the inspection with the vendor, and are not showing up unannounced.
Bring along the sale contract so you can refer to it when needed.
How many inspections can I do?
You can pretty much conduct only one inspection, which is why we encourage preparing yourself for it. However, if there are changes or necessary repairs to be done, you can visit again to verify the maintenance.
What should I look out for during the pre-settlement inspection?
This is where our pre-settlement inspection checklist comes in. Depending on the type of home you’ve purchased, you’ll need to check different things. Our checklist covers all general aspects of the inspection:
- Lighting and electricity – check to make sure everything is working; the switchboard, power points, the lights in every room (including the potential bathroom heat lamp), doorbell, outdoor lighting, exhaust fans, heating and air conditioners. If there’s a garage, check that the door is functioning properly, as well as the outdoor gate. Safety aspects like locks and the alarm system should also be in good working order.
- Kitchen appliances – check all the appliances are working by switching them on and off. Including the oven, stove, stove exhaust, dishwasher and any other appliances included in the contract.
- Fixtures – go through the property and turn on every tap, checking for hot and cold water. Make sure the toilets too are functioning. And while in the bathroom, look out for leaks under the basin and in the cupboards. Washing machine taps should also be looked at.
- Outdoors – the outdoor landscaping, including the backyard, garden, terrace, balcony should all be maintained properly. Check also that outdoor hoses are working well.
- Windows and doors – go through the home and check both the doors and the windows by closing and opening them, then locking and unlocking. Also look for any minor issues with door handles.
- Curtains – this depends on your contract, but if window dressings, such as curtains or blinds, are included, they should still be there. And if they’re not, discuss this with the seller and make sure they will be taken down.
- Rubbish bins – make sure the right rubbish bins are there and in decent condition. They shouldn’t be filled with piles of rubbish or green waste.
- If any furniture was included in the sale, check that they are present and will remain there.
- Look out for other appliances like the gas meter, hot water system, smoke detectors and the pool pump.
What should I do if I find a problem?
If something needs repair or isn’t as agreed upon in the contract, notify your solicitor or conveyancer as soon as possible. If there isn’t enough time for the repair, they might be able to speak to the seller and negotiate on the balance of the purchase price.
However, if it can be attended to before settlement, the vendor may just want to fix it.
This may come at a stressful time, when you’re preparing to move and might have to deal with unexpected repairs. But if you keep levelled, and deal with it rationally, this should move forward with no problems.
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