Inspecting a house

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After inspecting a property, one of the most common problems faced by buyers occurs when they finally get to the day of settlement and they excitedly roll up to the property to do their pre-settlement inspection. To their horror they find that the dishwasher has been taken, the beautiful $10,000.00 drapes have been removed and replaced with cheap continuous curtains, there are broken windows, stains on the carpet and those huge pots that looked like they couldn’t possibly be moved are gone.

Simple you might say, you’re not going to part with any money until everything is fixed. Not so simple! If all moveable items are not listed in the ‘included chattels’ section of the contract, you may not have a legal leg to stand on if things go missing after initially inspecting a property. Basically the standard contract says that what you see is what you get. So without any proof of what is included, and what the condition of the property is, you might be without legal recourse. In any case, after coughing up with all your hard earned cash to buy a property, who wants to get involved in a legal stoush to sort out what is included and what is not.

People being people, I doubt there will ever be a complete solution to this type problem. But a little extra care when inspecting a property, (and before signing a contract), can save a lot of heartache.

When you are out excitedly scouring the market, eager to find that perfect property, you can tend to wear rose coloured glasses. Particularly if you have been looking for a while without success, you might tend to look for the good points and play down any bad bits. Real estate agents love this and are particularly good at encouraging this mindset.

Now I’m not suggesting that you should be totally objective all the time and looking for only the negatives when inspecting a property. If that were the case nobody would buy anything. What I recommend is that before you sign up for a property, no matter how much urgency the agent might say there is to buy, take a second or even a third look at the property.

During these visits to the property make sure you take plenty of pictures of things, like the included appliances (it can be hard to prove anything if the expensive new appliances have been whipped out and replaced with cheap stuff). This can be very helpful in proving the condition of the place when inspected and that things like the garden have been left intact. It’s also quite helpful when trying to plan for your move.

The key to inspecting a property is while you’re there, check that everything works. Turn on lights, fans, air conditioners, kitchen appliances and laundry items. Also, check the hot water system, taps, windows and doors and look behind curtains and furniture for holes in walls etc. Get the pool checked out and, of course, get a professional building inspector. All this will drive the agent and the owners’ crazy, but it’s better them than you after settlement.

Now you might ask, ‘shouldn’t all this be the job of your building inspector?’ Building inspectors are normally quite thorough but they are generally focused on big items like structural defects when inspecting a property.  Some less serious problems, even though being important to you, might be attributed to normal wear and tear. Your inspector may also not be fully aware of what was in the property when you inspected. I always recommend that you arrange to meet with the Building Inspector on the day of the inspection to discuss his findings.

So the message is, when buying property take your time, do your homework and, of course, talk to AMS Conveyancing NSW.

Happy hunting,

The information and opinions contained in this website are for general information only and are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. AMS Conveyancing NSW will not be responsible for any loss that may arise from reliance on materials contained in this website and we make no warranty or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, or fitness for purpose of any material on any websites referred to in this website.