Issues before settlement
Once the sale is unconditional, it is very difficult to pull out of the agreement. But if you address issues before settlement, it is easier to get them fixed, or get compensation.
You have not paid the full amount of the house at this stage, so you have some leverage. Compensation and addressing issues before settlement are often written into the standard sale and purchase agreement.
You are most likely to find issues during sale pre-settlement inspection.
The property must be in the same state as when you signed the agreement. For example, there's a new hole in the bathroom wall downstairs that wasn't there when you first saw the property.
If the property is tenanted and the tenants will continue their tenancy after settlement, you may not be entitled to a pre-settlement inspection.
If you find an issue
Talk to the real estate agent and/or your lawyer if you find:
- damage not there when you made the offer, eg breakages caused when the owner moved out
- the items mentioned in the agreement are not there (chattels), eg curtains, appliances, heaters
- tenants haven't moved out, or aren't ready to move out, and you were expecting them to be.
Your lawyer can talk to the seller's lawyer about getting things fixed. Visit the property again before settlement to make sure it has been resolved.
If the issue will cost money to fix, and there is no time before settlement to get it done, your lawyer can arrange for money to be set aside from the purchase price to pay for the repairs.
If an item is not listed on the agreement as a chattel, the owner can take it with them.
Planning for settlement day when buying(external link) — Settled