Our previous blog covered what building inspections are and why they are important. Another type of inspection that’s definitely worth your while is the final home inspection.
What is a final inspection?
The final inspection is the one buyers conduct before settlement is completed and they receive the keys to their exciting new property. It is usually done up to five days before settlement is finalised.
Up to two other people may accompany the buyer in the inspection. You may like to take along a property-saavy friend or relative, or even your building inspector.
However, it’s important to note the purpose of the final inspection only allows for the buyer to check that the property complies with the terms of the sale contract (so it cannot be used to conduct a comprehensive Building Inspection).
Buyers would typically have conducted at least one other inspection before they signed the contract. That could be weeks or months ago and things could have changed since then. The buyer’s aim in conducting a final inspection is to ensure that nothing has happened that leads to a breach of contract.
There are legal requirements related to final inspections. For example, the guidelines of the Joint Forms and General Condition for the Sale of Land (2018) are used in Western Australia. It would be prudent for buyers to make enquiries with their conveyancer ahead of the final inspection to ensure that they know everything they should be looking for.
Why is it so strongly recommended?
The final inspection is not compulsory but it is definitely valuable.
By this stage, a typical buyer has gone through a long drawn out process and can’t wait to get into their new property. It is finally theirs!
But wait! Patience is a virtue and could have a big impact on your happiness, peace of mind, and wallet.
If you realised (after receiving your keys) that something in the property or related to it has changed or not been done since you last inspected the property and signed the contract, it is often too late to get the seller to fix it. This means you will need to bear an extra burden in terms of effort, time, or money if you want to get things repaired or replaced.
Therefore, the benefits of conducting a final inspection before settlement are:
- To ensure that you are getting what you agreed to buy, that all inclusions and exclusions are in order, and there is no breach of contract.
- To ensure that special provisions and conditions, if any, have all been actioned.
- To ensure everything included in the sale works as it should.
- To check that there has been no subsequent malfunctions or damage after you signed the contract, and after the seller or tenant moved out.
- To potentially not have to fork out more of your own money, effort or time to get something fixed.
Checklist: Final property inspection
Depending on the terms of your contract, some nasties to look out for are related to:
- Newly visible structural damage inside building(s), outside on the building facade, in outdoor areas, or on the roof.
- Major fixtures like air-conditioners, heaters (gas or electrical), gas and BBQ stoves, hot water taps, electricals (switchboards, power points, switches, wiring), lighting, smoke detectors, phone lines, gas meter, pool pump, bore pump, reticulation system, or solar panels damaged or no longer work.
- Electric Doors (including garage doors and external gates) no longer opening, closing, or locking properly.
- Kitchen appliances, sinks, drainage, showers, or toilets damaged or no longer work.
- Minor fixtures – Missing or damaged furnishings, fittings, window dressings, landscaping, garden fixtures, taps, trees or other plants included in the contract.
- Ex-Occupants – Anomalies after previous occupants moved out, like rubbish or bulky items left behind.
What if you find something out of order?
Let’s say you do find something unsatisfactory, and not as agreed in your Offer and Acceptance contract. What next?
Let your conveyancer and real estate agent know. They can provide professional advice on your rights and what you should do next, which may include the following.
- Bring outstanding issues to the seller’s attention, negotiate and agree on revised terms of contract.
- Get the seller to agree to either fix the issue, or reduce the sale price in lieu.
- If disputes arise, you may need to involve a property lawyer.
How KDD Conveyancers could help
Whether you are a property seller or buyer, you can potentially save time and money, as well as reduce stress, by engaging qualified conveyancing professionals like ourselves to look over your settlement contract (which sometimes runs to 100s of pages long!) and ensure your rights are met during final inspection.
Our caring and experienced specialists can help you create a positive property settlement experience that is as supported, smooth flowing, and pleasant as possible. We have the people and technology to make it work out right for you. Ask us to find out how you could benefit from our input.