• Check that everything works before buying a home

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    It is a term of every contract that at settlement the property is in the same state and condition it was in immediately prior to the contract date, so it makes sense that you ask the real estate agent what items are not working before locking into a contract.  
      

    Special conditions

    The Offer and Acceptance Form used by our members has a section for buyers and sellers to agree to any special conditions, such as representations that the plumbing and wiring be in safe working order.  
      
    If a door, shower screen or window is broken, these are also matters you can negotiate to be fixed by the owner before settlement, however the seller has no obligation to do this and may not agree to repairs.  If you add a special condition, be aware it could jeopardise acceptance of your offer. 

    Pre-settlement inspection

    The purpose of the pre-settlement inspection (not the final inspection), which takes place one week before settlement and not during the purchase transaction, is to check that the property is in the same condition as it was when last inspected by the buyer. It is also to ensure that any special conditions have been satisfied.  

    A pre-settlement inspection is not conducted to add new conditions or request the seller fixes faults that existed at the time of your offer. These requests should be asked before entering into a contract.

    Things to check prior to entering into a contract:

    • The hot water system; learn how it works and whether it may need repairs. If it’s a solar hot water system ask about the booster switch and where to locate it.
    • If the yard is reticulated, check that it works properly and ask to see where the sprinklers and solenoids are located.
    • Check that any air-conditioning is running smoothly and that ceiling fans operate safely.
    • Where there is a swimming pool, look for any damage and become familiar with the pool cleaning equipment and filter. Ensure that the property has the required legal pool fencing.
    • Check that the plumbing and lights work by operating all the taps and switches and run any exhaust fans in the kitchen and toilet.
    • Test all the power points with a phone charger or hair dryer in each of the rooms.
    • Inspect all the water drainage outlets from the roof. Be confident the guttering is sound and find out where any soak wells are located.
    • If the property is on septic tanks for sewage, check that it works and locate the tanks.
    • Test the locks and latches on all doors and windows and make sure that curtains and blinds are secure and operational.

    After becoming familiar with the property you are then ready to make an informed decision on the purchase price. The price you offer may then need to take into account items you think will need replacing or repair in the future.

    It also worth considering hiring a buyer's agent to help this process run smoothly.

    They can help you avoid surprises by;

    • clarifying with the seller and their agent any items that are not working before you sign the Offer & Acceptance contract
    • including clauses on your contract which stipulate that all other gas/plumbing/electrical fixtures are working
    • assist you with your final inspection or conduct the inspection on your behalf
    • negotiating the repair of any broken fixtures or appliances with the seller and their agent prior to settlement