It wouldn’t be long before you’re handed the keys to your new home or office. As exciting as that may sound, you have to make sure the property hasn’t been altered in any way by the seller as he or she moves out or that the previous tenant isn’t leaving the place with considerable damage. This is where the final building inspection comes in.
We’ve heard countless horror stories of sellers leaving garbage behind, ripping out gardens, packing up pool pumps, not disclosing electrical or plumbing problems, etc. Because you need to be sure that you’re not suffering the same predicament, have an inspector at the ready to do one last check of the place before you move in.
When Final Building Inspection Should Be Conducted
This kind of building inspection has to be done as close to the settlement date as possible. However, in most cases, that date largely depends on the agreement with the vendor. Although some will choose to skip this as they can clearly see the finish line already (and may feel like the report will only be an unnecessary hurdle), it can actually save you from a lot of headaches down the line.
If you’re buying from a seller who is moving out of the property, you should ideally commission the inspection after he or she moves out. This way, you can be sure that no items or features have been taken (or left) that aren’t part of the sale contract. You don’t want to be paying extra to keep, maintain, or dispose of the previous tenant’s collection of vintage motorcycles, after all.
However, if the property is previously vacant, you may have a few days before the settlement date to conduct the final inspection. This time frame should allow the vendor to do the necessary fixes and replacements included in the house sale. In case you’re wondering—yes, the solicitor has to be involved in resolving such concerns before the actual settlement.
In the end, the final building inspection has to be the last important step before the purchase of the real estate property. It will give you confidence that you’re getting exactly what you’ve paid for.
Ideally, it has to be you and anyone who is involved in the purchase decision (like a co-buyer) that should be conducting the final inspection. Although it’d be tempting to bring in the same building inspector who did the pre-purchase inspection, try not to. Remember, the final inspection may be a different ballgame entirely considering the fact that the inspector doesn’t know what features and amenities are part of the sale price. In the end, you’d rather have fresh sets of eyes at the final inspection so nothing is overlooked as you’re about to settle into your new place.
While you may be feeling that a final home inspection is a bit of a stretch financially, know that it is recommended. Nevertheless, you do have the right to conduct this inspection to ensure that nothing in the house has been changed since the previous property assessment (e.g. pre-purchase building inspection). Once the settlement happens, the last thing you want to see are amenities and features that have been damaged as the previous occupant moved out.
What Gets Checked During the Final Inspection
Wondering what the final inspection will look into? For the most part, inspectors will check the following:
- Rubbish – As you move into your new property, you may not like the thought of cleaning up after the previous occupant/owner. And if it happens that they’ve left behind something valuable like antique furniture and what looks like family heirlooms, it can be an additional expense trying to send the stuff over to them.
- Appliance/Furnishing – In some cases, furnishings and appliances will be removed unintentionally (or intentionally) by the vendor or previous tenant so the inspector will check whether appliances like microwaves, dishwashers, and telephones have been taken out. Sometimes, light bulbs and remote controls aren’t spared and the inspector may find them either missing or their batteries taken out.
- Utilities and features – Inspectors who do the final inspection will also see if every amenity in the property is in working order. After all, electrical switches could break down from the date of purchase until the actual settlement. Vendors moving out of the property could unknowingly scratch the floors or damage walls, too.
Although a bit of wear and tear may be expected, especially when you’re investing in a property that isn’t newly built, major damage has to prompt you to take action. If there are any that weren’t visible when the house or office was first inspected, take photos of each and send them to your solicitor. With such evidence, the solicitor may still be able to negotiate a reduction in the house price or have the seller fix the damage before you actually move in.
If these faults are found after the settlement, it’d be unfair on your end to shoulder the cost of fixing pre-existing defects. This is why final inspection is something buyers like yourself have to take into account.
While organising home and contents insurance the moment you sign a property sale contract can cover you for the unexpected, bear in mind that the coverage will likely not cover for pre-existing problems. This is where you’ll need pre-purchase and final building inspection reports done as they give you confidence that your investment will turn out the way you expect it to be.
Get in touch with our building inspection crew and we’ll make sure that your property investment wouldn’t be a bust.