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Did you know you’re entitled to a final inspection of the property you are buying before you take possession of it? Known as a pre-settlement inspection, this inspection is your chance to check the property is in the same condition as it was presented to you when you bought it.

When you are buying a property, there is always a term in the contract that at settlement the property must be in the same state and condition it was in immediately prior to the contract date.

Once settlement takes place it is extremely difficult to make the previous owner responsible for repairs which haven’t been done as per the purchase contract, and to return items that you had thought were going to be included.

For an investor, the pre-settlement inspection is all the more important as ideally, you want the property at the standard you agreed on in the contract when you take possession of it so you can get it tenanted as soon as possible.

When to Have a Pre-settlement Inspection

The pre-settlement inspection should be timed to be as close to the time of settlement as possible. By being close to the time of settlement, there is less time for things to go wrong and there is still time for the problem to be sorted.

Ideally the property will have been vacated, or at least be relatively clear of belongings making it easier for you to inspect.

What to Check

These are common items to check at the pre-settlement inspection:

  • Are there any changes to the property?
  • Have all the agreed repairs been done?
  • Is there any damage caused by moving items from the house?
  • All of the inclusions listed in the contract are still in the property.
  • Double check remote controls for garage doors, security gates, air conditioners etc are present and work.
  • Any unwanted furniture and other exclusions have been removed.
  • The place is relatively clean, rubbish has been removed and the property will be in a reasonable state for handover. Remember, there is a difference between moral expectation and legal obligation.

What Else to Ask

Before this inspection, you should already have a history of the property and any previous issues however if you haven’t done so already, ask about other aspects, such as manual and warranties for any appliances which are being left.

Find out where the cut-off valves for water and electrics are (this information should also be conveyed to the tenant when they move in).

What Happens if There is a Concern?

If you do have a concern, and the property is not the same as per the contract, you have the right to withhold settlement until the concern is rectified. You also have the right to re-inspect the property again before settlement takes place to ensure the concern has been rectified.

What Can’t I Do?

You cannot 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.

If you would like to know more about pre-settlement inspections or more about investing in property in the Newcastle region, our knowledgeable and experienced team would love to help. With over 40 years of business in the area, we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.