So, you’ve decided it’s the one. But do you know exactly what you are committing to when you sign the contract?
To protect yourself from any hidden issues that require rectification or have the potential to leave you with unforseen maintenance costs, you must ensure prior to signing that the contract is conditional upon a building and pest inspection.
A building and pest inspection will identify any defects or repairs that you may not have physically seen yourself. This inspection may also advise if the property has been or still is affected by termites.
It is advisable to contact the inspector to discuss any issues identified in their report. From there you can gauge what is standard for similar properties. If you are unhappy with the findings in the report, you do have a right to terminate the contract. If you wish to terminate, written notice must be provided to the seller by 5pm on the due date. The Contract requires you to “act reasonably”. Therefore, you cannot use the report as a “way out” where only minor issues are identified.
If you love the place and don’t wish to terminate, you can instead negotiate with the seller to rectify the issues identified in the report prior to settlement or, alternatively, agree on a reduction to the purchase price equivalent to the cost for you to rectify the issues following settlement.
Building and pest inspection reports provide limited information. Generally these reports will not provide you with information on whether Council approved any works carried out to the property. For example these works may include structures such as carports or verandahs.
If you have any concerns or wish to conduct additional inspections of the property such as plumbing and electrical, you should obtain advise from your Solicitor BEFORE signing the contract. Seeking legal advise prior to entering into a contract will ensure your rights are protected.