You’ve bought a house. Congratulations! The contract’s been signed, the finance is in order, the settlement date is approaching, and your conveyancers are on it. Wait up, no sleeping on your laurels yet!
What about the final inspection?
What final inspection? Your estate agent may have forgotten to mention this to you. As a purchaser, you are entitled to a final inspection – or, as many call it, a “pre-settlement inspection” that is conducted as the term implies at some point before settlement.
Do you have to go though the final inspection?
No, it’s a right, not an obligation. In many cases with all the moving-home-mess our life gets so busy that we don’t want to have that right, because it is just another thing we need to worry about. But experienced solicitors and real estate investors will tell you that you don’t want to skip the final inspection.
Why should you conduct the final inspection?
Because of these 3 simple reasons:
A. Things that you bought the house with can go missing or be replaced (such as light fixtures and fittings, blinds, curtains, and so on).
B. Things you don’t want can be left behind by the previous owner (who couldn’t be bothered to remove them).
C. Things in the house can break down between the day you’ve signed the contract and the settlement date, and then you’d want to have them fixed before moving in.
When should you do the final inspection?
Some people suggest that you should do this pre-settlement inspection as close to the settlement date as possible – to make sure nothing breaks, disappears or gets left in the property. I say it depends on the vendors’ circumstances.
If the vendors or their tenants are living in the house till the settlement date, then it makes sense to inspect the house after they have left (but before the settlement). This way you will see if anything is missing, broken or if anything unwanted has been left behind. If you were to inspect while they are still living there, all of the above wouldn’t be possible to check.
If the property is vacant then you can check it even a week before the settlement, because the chances that appliances will break or go missing during that last week are minimal. The more time you have to solve a problem – if there is a problem – the better.
In case the house is not in the condition it was when you signed the contract, for example if any of the appliances were broken (and you weren’t notified about that at the time you signed the contract), or any fixtures were removed from the house, etc, you would need to involve your conveyancers / solicitors to have this solved before the settlement. The vendors will need to rectify the problem either by doing their own repairs or by reimbursing the purchaser for the expected expenses.
What to check in the final inspection?
- Light fixtures
- Water taps
- Sinks (check that don’t leak)
- Toilets (check that flush)
- Exhaust fans
- Ceiling fans
- Stove / cooktop / oven
- Air conditioner
- Evaporative cooler
- Heating unit
- Hot water service
- Pool pump
- Garage door (check that works + remote)
- Smoke detectors
- Rubbish bins (check that present and in good condition)
- Door locks
- Window locks
I’ve put together a checklist that will make your job easier. Simply tick the boxes as you go through the house to mark the items as present and working.
Enter your name and email in the boxes below and I will send the checklist to you.