A Contract for the sale and purchase of property includes conditions stating that the purchaser accepts the property in its current condition and state of repair subject to all defects both obvious and hidden. You might have heard the saying “let the buyer beware”.
As a result, purchasers have an extremely limited right to complain after exchange of Contracts regarding the quality of the improvements and inclusions. Improvements include the structures on the property, for instance the house, shed, etc. Inclusions are usually movable items included in the sale, for instance the blinds, stove, air conditioner, etc. Purchasers should undertake thorough inspections of the property and the inclusions prior to exchange of Contracts, which is when the parties are formally bound by the Contract terms. The inspection process can be split into two stages.
Stage One – Purchaser Inspections
It is recommended that purchasers undertake a minimum of two physical inspections of the property. Often, in the excitement of first seeing the property, purchasers may overlook matters. Purchasers can obtain a copy of the Contract from the real estate agent to take to the inspection as all residential properties listed for sale in NSW are required to have a marketing Contract. Purchasers should review the improvements and inclusions noted on the Contract to establish whether they are accurately listed. A review of the title search is important to ascertain whether there are any easements or rights of carriageway affecting the property. For instance, if access to the property is obtained via another’s property, the title search should recite a right of carriageway.
Purchasers should review any plans attached to the Contract. Whilst the deposited plan will not reveal the location of the improvements on the land, it does show the boundaries of the property and may assist in identifying any possible encroachments. The plan of sewer line will indicate where the sewer main runs and may also show connections into the property. This can alert purchasers to potential issues regarding structures over sewer mains, or unapproved works if, for instance, connections to a further bathroom aren’t shown on the plan.
Stage Two – Professional Inspections
There are various professional inspections which can be obtained. Most purchasers will initially obtain a pest (white ant) report and building inspection report. A purchaser may also wish to obtain an electrical inspection, Survey Report, Building Information Certificate and/or inspect Council records. If the home has loose fill insulation, you will certainly want an asbestos test. For purchasers obtaining finance, it may be a condition of the finance approval that certain inspections are undertaken.
It is ultimately at the purchaser’s discretion as to which pre-purchase inspections are undertaken. Depending upon the individual purchaser’s appetite for risk and the property, inspections obtained will vary. At Everingham Solomons, we discuss the inspection options available to permit purchasers to make informed decisions because Helping You is Our Business.
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