Pre-settlement inspection guide

pre-settlement inspection

The pre-settlement inspection is your opportunity to check that everything in the property you’ve bought is as it should be and any issues you’ve raised have been addressed before the settlement date when you take ownership.

It’s important to know your rights before you arrive at the inspection so our real estate experts have created this guide you can use as a checklist to cover all the basics.

Note that the pre-settlement inspection is different to the pre-purchase inspection—a pre-settlement inspection is to make sure the property is in the same condition as when you signed the sale contract. This guide is also useful in creating a pre-purchase checklist for all those details you should check before you sign the contract as the vendor is under no obligation to repair anything not in that contract.

Be prepared

The first thing you need to do is to book the inspection with your agent who will arrange that with the vendor or tenants. The agent will also be at the inspection. You can bring other people with you so let them know as soon as you have a time confirmed.

“The timing of the inspection is also important,” says Ash Brown, Director of One Agency Orange.

“They are held close to the settlement date to give the vendors time to address any issues you’ve included as part of the settlement, but you also need to allow time for them to correct anything if you find those issues haven’t been properly addressed.”

Write up a checklist of everything you want to inspect so you can tick each item off as you go. Handy items to have with you include a small electrical device such as your phone charger so you can check all the power points are working, and a bright torch to inspect ceilings or hard to reach places behind furniture. Make sure you have a camera with you too to document any issues you find.

Read through your contract again to be clear on its terms, it will help you create your checklist. It’s a great idea to also read through the pest and building reports and to take copies of those reports with you to the inspection.

What to look for in a final inspection

Contract inclusions and repairs that are included in the sale contract. Make careful notes of any concerns you have about the quality of the work or if it has not been completed to the details stated in the sale contract.

Discuss any issues you find with your agent at the inspection and notify your settlement agent or solicitor immediately. They can address these with the vendor before settlement takes place.

“If there are issues that need to be addressed”, advises Ash, “make a new time for another pre-settlement inspection to check those.

“You may also need to discuss delaying the settlement date if correcting these faults will take some time. If you don’t want that, you can negotiate with the vendor to adjust the sale price to cover the cost of repairs.”

Appliances, electrics, and plumbing

Turn on all the light switches and check the lightbulbs are working, you’re entitled to have those functioning. Also check the light fittings are the same as the ones that were in place when you signed the sale contract.

Check the oven and its lights, the stovetop, rangehood, and all exhaust fans along with appliances in the sale contract such as dishwashers or washing machines as well as any security system, smoke alarms and even the doorbell.

Test any air conditioners and pool filters and their equipment such as a pool cleaner or heating.

Check the water pressure and all taps, showerheads and toilets are functioning correctly and the drains are running free. Run the hot taps to make sure the hot water system is working then check its valves and make sure there are no leaks.

“Take your time with this”, says Ash. “It can feel a little awkward at times but it’s so important to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. If an item is in the sale contract then you’re entitled to have it working properly and not to have to pay expensive repair or replacement bills after you’ve taken ownership and it’s now your responsibility.”

Doors and windows

Open and close all the doors and windows to make sure they don’t stick, and also check all the keys in their locks so you know your property is going to be secure once you take ownership.

Note all the window dressings and check the curtains and blinds that were there when you signed the contract are in place and working.

Outdoor areas

Check the eaves, gutters, window and door exteriors and also the outdoor taps. Check any plants, particularly potted plants, that are part of your contract are still there and no plants have been taken from the garden without your permission.

Does it still shine?

All those lovely touches done to brighten the property up for the sale should still be the same and it should be as sparkling clean as the day you first inspected it. This includes the oven, windows, any appliances, floors, the bins, and all the gardening and landscaping.

Need more information?

Take lots of photos as a record of how the property needs to be when you take ownership of it and to clearly show any issues you want fixed before settlement.

“It’s also worth considering booking a locksmith to change the locks on settlement day so you’re safeguarded against any duplicate keys not in your possession,” advises Ash. “This is particularly useful if you’ve bought a property that’s been rented.”

A professional real estate agent is a valuable asset in this process. They should be helpful and able to answer your questions, including advising you of those things that buyers often don’t know.

The team at One Agency Orange are our region’s friendliest and most energetic agency. Our service is all about making your real estate experience as stress-free as possible. We’re here to help. Call us or come by the office for a chat about all of your real estate needs.


02 6362 9560 | admin.orange@oneagency.com.au | Suite 7/230 Summer Street Orange NSW 2800