How to conduct a pre-settlement inspection – Useful checklist

One of the most important aspects of property investment is to ensure the final product is in accordance to what was agreed upon at the point of exchange of contracts. This applies to all types of residential property – houses, semi-D’s, townhouses and apartments and is especially so for units bought off-the-plan.

The pre-settlement inspection is a process to allow the buyer to inspect and identify any defects, flaws in workmanship and variations to contract specifications. These issues are the responsibility of the vendor / developer to rectify to the satisfaction of the purchaser within the terms and specifications of the contract of sale. Although purchasers are generally protected against building defects by a 7-year home builders’ warranty, it pays to identify defects at the onset so that all rectification works can be carried out prior to or immediately after final settlement.

Current building and pest reports are also useful for buyers to ascertain issues such as termite infestation, rising damp and structural integrity of building and construction.

A copy of Strata Living – What you need to know about living in your strata community can be obtained from the NSW Office of Fair Trading, Department of Commerce. It is a comprehensive guide to assist residents to deal with issues arising from apartment living.

Here is a general checklist of items which should be inspected and tested to be in good state of repair and working condition to assist home buyers conducting a pre-settlement inspection. This checklist of items should be used as a guide or reference only and to prompt the buyer for other items which may have been omitted. I make no warranty this checklist is neither exhaustive nor complete as it is based solely upon my experience and research. Buyers should make additional notes against these items and conduct further detail inspection if required.

A. Electrical and systems

  • Main electrical switch board location
  • Water mains
  • Lighting
  • Air-conditioning
  • Gas ducting
  • Heating
  • Powerpoints
  • Telephone / TV / antenna ducts
  • Intercom, security video systems
  • Ducted audio / hi-fi system

B. Utilities, appliances, fixtures

  • Current utility company for a. Electricity b. Gas c. Telephone d. Water
  • Storage, closets, wardrobes, linen cupboards, cellar, attic, basement store, garden shed, pool shed
  • Security keys, locks
  • Toilets
  • Bathtub, shower heads, basins, tapware
  • Kitchen equipment – fridge, freezers, dishwasher, microwave, oven, stove-top, rangehood, insinkerator, filtered and hotwater system
  • Laundry – washing machine, dryer, laundry sink, retractable clothes lines
  • Fireplace – gas heaters and maintenance
  • Collection days for: a. Garbage b. Bottles c. waste and used papers d. bulky items
  • Gardening, lawn mowing and landscaping

C. Structural and internal fittings

  • Roof tiles, roof gutters, down spouts, splash blocks
  • Wall paint – scratches, cracks, nicks
  • Wall tiles, floor tiles
  • Windows and door seals
  • Glass doors and windows
  • Ceiling and floor skirting
  • Carpet installation and seams
  • Floor surfaces
  • Ceiling height
  • Wooden floors, outdoor wooden decks
  • Wood joinery
  • Bench / countertops

D. List of current / useful contractors / tradesman and contact numbers and warranties

  • Remote control gates
  • Pool repair and maintenance
  • Airconditioning / heating
  • Spa / sauna maintenance
  • Kitchen equipment and appliances warranties
  • Private elevator maintenance
  • Gym equipment
  • Automatic / electrical blinds, shutters, overhead roofing maintenance

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