So you’re buying your first home and are spending weekends at inspections. It’s exciting but terrifying! You’re about to splurge on the biggest purchase of your life but have no idea what to look for. Buyer beware! Watching “The Block” is not good enough training. Don’t be distracted by the tasteful rose gold home wares and strategically placed beaded cushions. They don’t come with the house. These are some important things you should consider instead.
Legal due diligence
I know. Compared to black taps and marble bench tops, this is super boring. But actually, it’s the easiest to address – just outsource. Simply email the section 32 to me before you sign, and I will review your first standard contract and vendor statement for free!
I will warn you of anything unfair or unusual and guide you through the conveyancing process. My review includes:
- A comprehensive, easy-to-digest written summary of the contract and section 32 vendor statement
- A phone call to talk you through the summary
- Advice regarding any stamp duty exemptions or concessions that may be available
- Suggested amendments to the contract
- Drafting special conditions
Please don’t rely on social media to answer your questions when you can get free legal advice from a qualified lawyer!
Again, this is easy to outsource. A building and pest inspection by a registered builder is the best way to fully investigate the property itself. The vendor gives no or limited warranties in the contract regarding the state of the building. You are buying the property in its condition at the date of signing the contract, subject to any defects that may or may not be apparent.
An inspection can uncover significant and costly issues e.g. termites, rising damp, white ants, faulty foundations or floorboards, leaky roofs, rusty pipes, illegal building works, asbestos, flammable cladding, land contamination, methamphetamine levels, smoke detectors and pool fencing. You can also organise electrical and plumbing inspections, and a surveyor to measure the property.
There are some things that you may be able to do yourself, such as:
- Inspect the property at different times of day, different days of the week, and in the rain.
- Test electrical appliances, powerpoints, water pressure, and lights.
- Check with the agent exactly which goods are being sold with the property.
- Look for new paint that may be concealing mould or cracks.
Other searches and enquiries
The section 32 contains certain information that the seller is required by law to give you before the contract is signed, but does not contain all information about the property. You can make additional enquiries to determine if any authorities are aware of or have any interest or proposal that may affect the land. For example:
- Contact the local council for more information regarding building permits, zoning, planning overlays, development in the area, flooding, bushfires, mine subsidence, significant snow falls.
- Contact the local water authority for information regarding pipes and easements for drainage or sewerage.
- If you are buying a strata property, contact the Owners Corporation manager to ask about any upcoming works or inspect their files for recent expenditure, correspondence and other issues that may have been raised since the last annual general meeting.
- Contact the Victorian Building Authority to see if the building has been investigated for combustible cladding.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to call me for a free chat and I will help to steer you in the right direction ?
Aliza Taubman is the Principal Solicitor at Prime Property Lawyers
Thinking of buying or selling a property in VIC? Contact us for more information. Buyers get your first standard contact and section 32 reviewed for FREE!