After buying a new home, you’d want to make sure that everything is in perfect condition before you move into your new property. A pre-settlement inspection is very crucial, especially when someone has been living in your property at the time you signed the contract. You’ll never know when minor or major damages may have occurred in your new home. This may just be a stain on the floor or a hole in one of the closets in your room.
As the buyer of the property, you have every right to do a pre-settlement inspection of the property before final settlements are made and see to it that the house is in the same condition as it was when you drew up the contracts.
The aim of this article is to discuss the importance of a pre-settlement inspection, and the importance of checking for significant changes in your property. If there are any changes or the property is in a worse condition than before, you can ask the vendor to make repairs accordingly.
What To Look For In A Pre-settlement Inspection
Basically, what you want to do in a pre-settlement inspection are several things that may affect your everyday life when living inside the property. These includ
1. Door handles/knobs and their locks
Since this is how you’ll be entering the property, make sure that all locks are functioning and that all the other doorknobs in the house actually turn.
2. Lights and their switches
Check switchboards and see if there’s a lag when lights are turning on as they are supposed to. Don’t forget the garage door’s switchboard!
You don’t want leaks in your property. Make sure the pipes are tight and that there are no signs of leakage in the house. Turn on the tap to check if the hot and cold water settings work.
Make sure they’re functioning by turning them on and off and checking their respective warranties.
5. Functioning curtains/blinds
Your privacy is important in the house so make sure the curtains are in good condition. There should be no damage to the blinds, and check that they open and close smoothly.
6. Intact window glasses
See if they’re clean, sturdy and the locks are working. Maybe try knocking lightly on the glasses to make sure they do not budge.
7. Presence of pests
One of the root causes of pests coming over is the place’s cleanliness. Make sure that tight corners are well inspected and any pests that reside there are reported/eliminated.
It’s best to check that the gardens and courtyard are also well-maintained.
Apart from all of these, you should also ensure the cleanliness of the property, and that all conditions in the contract are also followed.
There Was A Problem During My Pre-settlement Inspection. What To Do Next?
Imagine a scenario where you are doing your pre-settlement inspection in your room on the second floor, and your foot suddenly sinks in the floorboard! This faulty floorboard wasn’t here when you last checked it before you signed the contract.
Before anything else, you should immediately raise this concern with your solicitor. It is worth noting that you should avoid directing this first to the vendor as your conveyancing solicitor will negotiate it as a special condition included in the contract, meaning it needs to be fixed before the settlement can proceed.
If the problem cannot be fixed, the conveyancer has the option to negotiate the sale price and lower the price while negotiating with the purchaser in order to cover the damage expenses. More importantly, these breaches of contract must be proven by the purchaser in order for settlement to be halted. It must also be proven that the damage found in the pre-settlement inspection was not a result of wear and tear.
Factors Worth Noting Before Moving In
Some people miss a lot of external factors when doing a pre-settlement inspection, so here are a few things you should consider as well as it may affect expenses and way of living:
1. Hiring a professional cleaner to make sure everything is tidy before you enter the household
Make sure everything is neat when you enter and that you’ll settle in with no hassles.
2. Secure keys and backup keys for the property
Securing a backup key for everything that needs to be locked/unlocked is a must. It’s also advisable to have a locksmith change all the locks as you have no idea who has exact copies of the original keys before or during your pre-settlement inspection.
3. Consider making upgrades/refurbishing of the property
Are there pieces of furniture that need polishing again? Maybe an upgrade to that old fridge that the owner has? It is also important to child-proof some of the furniture if you have a kid moving in with you as well.
4. Termites and Borers
To prevent this, make sure that there isn’t any wood touching the ground or near plants as this is an easy access point for them.
5. Issues with privacy (e.g. neighbours can see through windows, yards, etc.)
You wouldn’t want neighbours who have the chance to snoop around your property. Make sure to do a minor background check like getting to know them before moving in the household or making sure that they don’t have any means of easy access around your house. You might also want to know if there were issues of past crime and break-ins within the neighbourhood.
Our Advice On Pre-settlement Inspection
A pre-settlement inspection sounds like a tedious task. After all, you only want the best for your next property, right? Staying level-headed in situations like this is a must while making sure you have the best solicitors to back you up when doing so. Owning a property sounds really convenient and is a good investment, but not when you have little knowledge on this matter.
At JB Solicitors we specialise in handling a pre-settlement inspection. Our expert solicitors have a wide set of skills in helping you obtain your first property with ease. With our fixed-fee prices, we’ll help you with your worries by being transparent about the expenses and you can focus solely on getting legal advice for pre-settlement inspections.
Reach out today to be a step ahead in securing your own property.