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Pre-Purchase – What Inspections Are Required?

In one of our recent posts, we gave an overview of the process of purchasing a property in Australia. In this post, we are going to look a bit more in depth at one of the most important stages in that process which is often overlooked—the pre-purchase inspections.

Pre-purchase inspections are critical for the reason that you need to know of any potential issues with a property prior to when the contracts become binding (i.e., at exchange). If after exchange you discover something about the property that is problematic or that you simply don’t like, then you generally won’t have any right to get out of the purchase, unless there has been a breach of contract or statutory warranty or some form of misrepresentation. Simply put, pre-purchase inspections will allow you to make an informed decision about the property you are considering buying, it’s worth, and ultimately whether you even want it at all.

There are a number of inspections that a good solicitor will assist you to carry out as part of the due diligence process. These include:

  • Strata Inspection: For purchasers of a unit, townhouse or house that is part of a community title, your inspector will attend the office of the strata/community title manager to inspect the available records. These records will be able to tell them a number of things, such as if the vendor is up to date with payments of levies, whether there are any impending or proposed major works scheduled, the level of insurance on the property, whether there are any “harmony” issues among neighbours, as well as many other things.
  • Building Inspection: Pending the results of the strata inspection, it could be a good idea to carry out a building inspection. Even if there appears to be no issue from the strata records, a building inspection is certainly worthwhile, as it can save a lot of trouble further down the line. A building inspector will attend the property and review for any defects. This will include inspecting the foundations, whether extensions have been carried out, and whether any repairs may be required.
  • Pest inspections: Similar to a building inspection, a pest inspector will attend the property and specifically look for any evidence of current or previous issues of pests. The most notable thing they will be looking for is termites, a problem which affects 1 in 4 Australian homes in their lifetime. Other things they will be watching for are fungal rot and whether the conditions overall are conducive to pests.
  • Other Inspections: As appropriate, a number of inspections may be required, such as electrical inspections (for older houses), plumbing inspections, or a pool safety check to ensure any pool is compliant with safety regulations.

Depending on the individual property, there may be additional searches relevant to the circumstances. This will all fall under the due diligence process— your solicitor will be able to assist in determining what inspections should be carried.

If you are currently considering purchasing or selling a property, always get in touch with an expert who can help you through the process. Doing your homework and getting help to tick off the legal checklist can save a lot of time, money in the long run, and help you get the most out of your property.

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Harris Gomez Group is an international law firm with offices in Santiago, Bogotá, and Sydney. In Australia, our residential, commercial and industrial real estate law practices represent individuals, developers, investors, lenders, and business users in the purchase, development, financing, sale, and leasing of real estate. Over the last 21 years of operating, we find that our clients appreciate the quick turnaround times and fixed pricing.

To better understand how we can support you, please contact Cody Mcfarlane at cmm@hgomezgroup.com