Buying real estate: When should you inspect it?

Under the standard form general conditions for the sale of land in Victoria, a Vendor is required to deliver a property at settlement in the condition that it was in on the day of sale, except fair wear and tear.

When should you inspect the property?

At least three times.

Before you sign the contract, on the day of sale and immediately before settlement.


1. Pre-purchase Inspection

It goes without saying that you should inspect a property before you sign a contract to buy it.

Before signing the contract, you should also consult a solicitor to review the contract and the vendor statement.  Amongst other things, you should discuss with your lawyer whether or not:

  • You should arrange an inspection by a building consultant and a land surveyor.
  • The contract should be signed but made subject to results of those inspections.


2. Day of sale Inspection

Under the standard form general conditions for the sale of land in Victoria (General Conditions), the day of sale is the date by which both vendor and purchaser have signed the contract.

Co-ordinating an inspection on the day of sale can be tricky, especially if the last party to sign the contract does not immediately notify the other party that it has done so. This can be addressed by appropriately amending the General Conditions before you sign the contract.

Whilst not ideal, if you don’t manage to inspect the property on the day of sale, you should inspect it as soon as possible afterwards


3. Final Inspection

Under the General Conditions a purchaser may inspect the property at any reasonable time during the 7 days preceding and including the settlement day. You should review your contract to make sure that this right has not been varied by special condition.

You should aim to inspect the property as close as possible to settlement.  This reduces the risk of a change occurring to the condition of the property between the time of your final inspection and the time of settlement.


What can you do if the property has deteriorated?

A purchaser’s rights where the condition of the property has deteriorated (beyond fair wear and tear) will depend on the terms of the contract and the nature of the deterioration.  You should seek advice from a solicitor.

In some cases, a purchaser is entitled to terminate the contract or to refuse to settle until the property is reinstated.

In other cases, part of the purchase price can be withheld at settlement.

Need help?

Please feel free to contact us if you need help.  We have extensive experience in all aspects of real estate transactions.

Terry Zakis
Principal Lawyer

P 03 9944 0848
E [email protected]