Let the Buyer Beware

“CAVEAT EMPTOR”

You’ve probably heard this term before but what does it mean to you. Well, it is latin for “Let the buyer beware”. This is a doctrine applying to property whereby the buyer cannot recover from the seller for defects on the improvements.

One of the most important terms of the Contract is that you are purchasing the improvements and inclusions in their “current condition and state of repair”.

Perhaps the most common issue arising at the time of settlement is that the buyer finds a fault with the building or one if the items included in the sale that they didn’t previously know about. If you can prove that the fault was not there on the day you exchanged contracts to purchase the property, then the Vendor should correct the problem. “Proving it” is the issue.

There is probably no limit to the extent of pre-purchase inspections that you could do. However, they inconvenience the Vendor and they take time as well as costing you money so you need to be reasonable about it. Inspections that we would consider essential include:

Your own inspections – You should probably look at the property another time before locking yourself into a contract. You will notice more of the “little things” the second time. How far do you go ? Well, there are no rules; some people turn all the lights on to see if they work, they turn the elements of the stove on to see if it works, the air conditioner, the fans, the taps for water pressure, etc. Some people take photographs so that they can check before settlement that everything they expected to remain on the property have indeed remained on the property. It is up to you; the main thing is to satisfy yourself of the things that are important to you.

Pest Inspection – if the building has termites when you exchange contracts, then you have bought the termites as well. We would always recommend a pest inspection, it’s a small price to pay for certainty and you can’t be certain unless you get someone that knows what they are doing to look properly. Not only is a professional inspector qualified but he is insured against making a mistake. This one is a must.

Building Inspection – sometimes the building inspector finds major faults in the buildings to the extent that the buyer doesn’t proceed with the purchase. More often though, he will find things that you should know about before you buy because then you will know the things you can work on to prevent more significant damage later on. The building inspector will always find a fault because no building is perfect and whether that fault is minor or major, you should know about it.

If is often a good idea to do your inspections at different times of the day and in extreme weather conditions. For example, it will be hard to gauge the effectiveness of drainage when it is not raining, or of sunlight at night time.

If you want to find out more about this topic or others, check out this web page:

www.allabout.net.au

Conveyancing Posts, General

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