Property buyers' take-up of their prerogative of a pre-settlement inspection is now almost standard practice. Subsequently, it is important that when selling your property, you understand this process.

The pre-settlement inspection is a chance for the buyer to check that the property and chattels are in the same condition they were when they signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement and that you have met any conditions listed in the agreement. If there is any significant damage or if a condition has not been met, the buyer may be entitled to compensation from you. The inspection is not an opportunity for the buyer to uncover problems that already existed when they signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement. The pre-settlement inspection is usually at least 2 working days before the settlement date so there is time for any issues to be addressed.

No automatic entitlement with tenanted properties

If the property is being sold with a tenancy that will continue when the buyer takes over the property, the buyer may not be entitled to a pre-settlement inspection. If the tenancy will end before or on settlement day, the buyer should have the right to an inspection. You will have to get your tenants consent to show the buyer the property and give the tenants a reasonable amount of notice.

During a pre-settlement inspection the buyer is likely to:

  • Check that the property is in the same condition as it was when they signed the sale and purchase agreement
  • Make sure that all the chattels listed on the sale and purchase agreement are in the property and are in good working order (unless it has been agreed and documented otherwise)
  • Check that fixtures such as lights work too
  • Check if there is any property damage since the sale and purchase agreement was signed, for example, storm or earthquake damage, or damaged caused when the previous occupants moved out
  • Check you have completed any maintenance or repairs to the property that you agreed to as part of the sale and purchase agreement conditions
  • Check all previous occupants’ belongings (not included in the sale) and rubbish have been removed from the property

Make sure all keys, garage door remotes and security alarm codes are accounted for and will be available to them on settlement day.

It's a good idea to refer the sale and purchase agreement for details of any conditions and chattels. If the buyer finds damage during their pre-settlement inspection (that wasn't present when they signed the sale and purchase agreement) or if a chattel is missing, this could delay settlement. We will outline your options and negotiate with the buyer's lawyer or conveyancer to rectify the situation. You can choose to fix any damage immediately, or you may agree that the cost of fixing the issue can be deducted from the final payment the buyer makes. Having the final inspection less than 48hours before settlement gives you and the buyer time to reach an agreement about any issues.