For those of you who are looking at buying a property now or in the future we would like to make you aware of a few important things regarding items which prospective purchasers often tend to only skim over. Those seemingly trivial items are the chattels, and the state of the property on settlement date.
We strongly advise that anyone purchasing a property should consider doing the following:
At the time of viewing the house and signing a sales and purchase agreement, include every identifiable chattel you expect to receive on settlement in the sales and purchase agreement, and even be specific as to make and model (if any of the items are particularly significant)
There have been occasions where items in a property have been removed by vendors and replaced by lesser quality chattels, or are taken out of the house before settlement because they have not been clearly identified on the agreement. The page with the box for including Further Terms of Sale is where the standard chattels are listed. Where there are additional chattels being purchased, these MUST be added in here for you to ensure that you will be getting these at settlement.
At the time of viewing the house and signing a sales and purchase agreement check the working order of these chattels and ensure that all are functioning properly. This can even include checking all taps are functional, all extractor fans work and all electrical equipment seems in satisfactory order.
It can end up being a difficult situation trying to remedy faulty chattels after settlement where no one specifically knows the state of the chattels at the time of signing an agreement. It is also difficult to justify legal costs in chasing remedies under a contract when chattels are not in a good condition on settlement. Therefore, it is important to identify any issues at the time of entering into an agreement, so that you can specifically know the state of repair and possibly get faults remedied before any issues arise later.
At the time of viewing the house and signing a sales and purchase agreement, if you are concerned that rubbish or “junk” may be left behind by the vendor, include in your agreement a clause that requires them to remove it, and if not, the price will be reduced by a set figure to compensate you for clearing it for them.
We sometimes have purchasers who have to deal with out-going vendors (or their tenants) who have left rubbish or unwanted items at the property at the date of settlement. Getting such items removed can be costly and also a nuisance. By checking whether there is a likelihood that this problem could arise, and by possibly pre-empting the problem with a suitable rubbish-removal clause in your agreement, these issues can be dealt with satisfactorily before they arise. If you need assistance in this regard, we are happy to help with inserting appropriate conditions into your sales and purchase agreement. However, please remember that you need to do this before signing. Afterwards is too late!
Always do a final inspection of the property, preferably the day before settlement, and make sure all the chattels you are expecting to be purchasing are present and that they are in the same working order as when you signed the agreement.
Under the standard sale and purchase agreement for real estate the vendor provides warranties as to delivering the chattels to the purchaser in “their state of repair as at the date of the agreement (fair wear and tear excepted)”. This may seem like a satisfactory protection for a home buyer to expect that the chattels they are receiving work, but please be aware that if a problem is noticed after settlement it could be too late to actually do anything about. It is extremely important to check all chattels at the time of the pre-settlement final inspection, to make sure you are getting what you expected and the items are in satisfactory working order.
If you do not do a thorough final inspection before settlement, you fail to do so at your own peril.