Q: I purchased a house at auction last week. I have been told I have the right to a ‘final inspection’. What does that mean exactly? Alison M.
A: Congratulations on your purchase! Yes, you have the right to inspect your new home prior to taking possession at settlement (when the exchange of funds and the title takes place). The final inspection entitles you to look through the property to ensure that it is ‘as inspected’ i.e. it is in the same condition as when you last saw it, excluding reasonable wear and tear, before bidding at the auction or having your offer go unconditional.
What this highlights is that you should be very sure of what you are buying before making an offer or bidding at auction. We strongly suggest you have a building inspection to be sure that you have identified any issues of concern. If there is a hole in the carpet that has been covered with a rug, or a hole in the wall behind a painting, you need pre-settlement inspection the pre-settlement inspection. Unless you can prove that it was not there when you inspected the property then there is no come-back for you.
A few things to consider:
Anything that has not been excluded as a chattel should be in good working order: We suggest that you check that all the lights work, and that any included appliances (stove, dishwasher, waste disposal etc.) are all in working order. A competent real estate agent will have noted on the Sale and Purchase agreement that any chattels that are not working are either specifically excluded from the chattels list, or are noted as “not in working order”.
Under NZ law the property does not have to be cleaned prior to settlement but should not have rubbish left on or in the premises – so it doesn’t have to be ‘clean’ but it does have to be ‘tidy’. So if, for example, you notice a pile of old bricks under the house when you are looking through before buying, be sure to mention to the real estate agent that you expect them to be gone by settlement – the last thing anyone wants is a last minute dispute when you are about to take possession and move in.
As always, be sure to seek professional advice when buying a property, and we’d just like to re-iterate that a building inspection is a really worthwhile investment.
Enjoy your new home!