When you purchase a property you’re entitled to come back to re-inspect it within the 5 business days prior to settlement.

In the industry we call this the pre-settlement inspection.

The purpose of the pre-settlement inspection is to check that the seller has complied with their obligations under your contract. This typically includes:

  • checking that the property is in the same condition as when you inspected it prior to your offer being accepted
  • checking that any other special conditions or warranties that were included in the offer have been complied with

Normally properties are sold with a warranty that all gas, electrical and plumbing items will be in working order upon settlement, so this is your opportunity to check all of those. If you fail to make those checks and find out something’s not working after settlement it’s too late to ask for them to be fixed – all risk and liability passed from the seller to you at settlement.

It’s a good idea to bring a hairdryer or phone charger to check powerpoints and your settlement agent may have a helpful checklist for you to follow. That said, be careful of some of those checklists as they can include items that don’t actually form part of the pre-settlement inspection – unless an obligation in the contract there’s no requirement for the seller to address it.

The pre-settlement inspection is not a second building or maintenance inspection. If an item, such as a blind, wasn’t working properly before you won’t be able to request the seller to repair it now unless it was agreed in the contract that it would be. Similarly for anything else maintenance related on the property you didn’t check before or notice – unless it was covered by a seller warranty or special condition on the contract, there’s no requirement for the seller to make any further repairs. That level of inspection should have happened prior to making your offer so you could have either requested their repair prior to settlement as part of your offer or taken them into consideration when making your offer.

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It’s good to take notes during your pre-settlement inspection and if there’s anything you’re not sure of direct your query as soon as possible to your settlement agent rather than just the selling agent – your settlement agent is your representative in the sale and they will give you feedback on what’s required and where you stand. They will also liaise with the selling agent and sellers settlement agent if it does turn out that there is a warranted item, such as a plumbing or electrical item, that needs repair.

So there you have it. The pre-settlement inspection is important for checking that the seller has complied with their obligations under the contract but can’t be used to make up for anything that you didn’t notice or check prior to making your offer or for requesting items not included in the contract to be attended to.

Hopefully though, all will go well and and it won’t interfere in the excitement of buying your new home – enjoy!

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