The final inspection is the buyer’s chance to ensure that the property is in the condition promised by the Offer and Acceptance before the transaction is finalised on settlement date.
From electrical sockets to floor coverings, there are several things to check during a final inspection – so as a buyer, you may be tempted to bring along as many people as you can to make sure you don’t miss anything important.
However, the Joint Form of General Conditions (the document that governs every contract in WA) specifies that:
“The Buyer: may be accompanied by 2 persons on an inspection;”
So unless the contract specifies that you are allowed more than the usual amount of guests, only two people can come along with you.
For the vast majority of property transactions, this is appropriate. Too many cooks can spoil the broth – or in the case of housing inspections, too many people can cause confusion.
What not to do
A few days before a recent settlement, the buyer arrived at the property for their final inspection. In addition to his wife, the buyer had brought along four other family members, totalling six overall.
As they moved throughout the house, members of the family became concerned about numerous small items that they found unsatisfactory – chipped plaster and tarnished bathroom taps, for example. Without a good understanding of the Offer and Acceptance, most of the family members were not aware that these items did not need to be addressed by the seller.
By dwelling on items that would not be fixed, they may have been more of a hindrance than a help to both the agent and the buyer.
What to do
It’s fine to bring along one or two trusted people to act as backup pairs of eyes, but ensure that you yourself have a good understanding of what exactly you’re looking for.
Stay focused on those essential items that you are entitled by law to have addressed, such as:
- Plumbing, electrical and gas fixtures. The vendor warranty, if there is one on your contract, entitles you to have these fixtures in good working order.
- Unlawful structures. By the time you get to the final inspection, any council orders and requisitions should have been uncovered by your settlement agent. However, if you see something that breaches the law, such as a non-compliant pool fence, you are entitled to have it fixed before settlement.
- Fixtures and chattels. If one of the selling points of the house was the built-in stove, you’ll want to check that it hasn’t been removed or replaced. But keep in mind that chattels (such as dishwashers, swingsets, or anything else that isn’t part of the house itself) do not have to remain in the property unless specified in the contract.
If you uncover something that needs to be addressed, tell the real estate agent straight away, and be sure keep your settlement agent in the loop. A successful final inspection is the last step before settlement date – well done!
Image by Fronx via Flickr.