• ASAP Lawyers

What is a final inspection?

When purchasing a property, general condition 22 of the Contract of Sale states that you (or a person nominated by you) have the right to inspect the property at any reasonable time during the seven days before the settlement day. Arrangements should be made with the selling agents for such an inspection as near to settlement as is reasonably possible. A couple of nights prior is usually ideal.

Although a final inspection is not compulsory, you as the purchaser have a right to one final inspection before settlement. This inspection allows you to ensure that the property is in the same condition that it was in on the day you signed the contract (besides fair wear and tear).

What to look out for at a final inspection

When inspecting the property, you should look out for the following:

  • Is everything that was in working order at the time of the contract still in working order?

  • Do the goods included in the contract still remain at the property?

  • Has there been any damage to the property that is not fair wear and tear?

  • Has there been a substantial amount of rubbish left at the property?

  • Are you provided with a ‘vacant possession'?

keys in a front door with a green background

What is vacant possession?

Typically, a Purchaser will buy the property with vacant possession. Vacant possession means that Vendors should vacate and take with them all of their belongings (including their rubbish). Further, the Vendor is required to be out of the property prior to settlement. It is critical that this take place. Vacant possession almost means, of course, that any tenant has vacated. The responsibility for ensuring that the tenant is “out” is that of the Vendor who signed a contract promising vacant possession. It is not an excuse at law in a contract dispute between a vendor and purchaser that the tenant is uncooperative.

If you identify a problem with the property during your final inspection, it is crucial to bring it to your solicitor's attention in order that consideration may be given to cancelling the settlement or resolving the problem. If there is only minor damage to the property (such as fair wear and tear), you will not have the right to withhold settlement in the meantime. Your solicitor will get in touch with the Vendor’s representatives and attempt to have the issue rectified.

If the damage is substantial and the Vendor is in breach of the contract, you can ask for it to be rectified before settlement. In this case, if settlement is held up, the Vendor cannot charge penalty interest or rescind the contract.

It is a good idea to do a final inspection as close as possible to the settlement date in order to ensure your new home is in the same condition as when you signed the contract.

Purchasing a property is a big decision and can be challenging. Our team of experienced solicitors and conveyancers can help you with your purchase every step of the way. We are able to:

  • Review contracts of sale and vendor statements prior to you signing;

  • Assist you with your transaction from contract through to settlement; and

  • Provide you with expert legal advice about your contractual rights and your transaction.

Contact us on 03 9450 9400 to speak with a team member about your property matters.

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