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The importance of Pre Settlement Inspections

The importance of Pre Settlement Inspections

Co-written by: Alicia Haule

Pre Settlement Inspections


  • Pre settlement inspection is the purchasers right to insect the property prior to settling, to ensure it is in the same state that it was at exchange.
  • Minor issues can usually be resolved.
  • Major issues could lead to delaying settlement.
  • Opportunity to make sure all contract conditions have been met.

Pre-settlement inspection (commonly known as a final inspection), is an inspection a purchaser has the right to before settlement. Usually, the inspection will occur a couple of days before settlement. Although they are not compulsory, they are highly important and should always be recommended to you especially when the property has not been vacant. It is an important step of the buying process to ensure that the vendor is upholding their part of the transaction. I will touch on why they are recommended and what to look for throughout your inspection.

Why should you do a pre settlement inspection?

Purchasers often do not realise the importance of a pre settlement inspection. This inspection allows purchasers to make sure the property is in the same condition as to when they exchanged on the contract. Also, if there was any agreement between the parties for the vendor to have anything fixed before settlement, it would be important for this to be looked at before officially settling on the property. It allows you to have the opportunity to inspect the property and deal with any issues before paying the balance of the purchase price at settlement.

It is important to remember in some cases settlement might not take place for a couple of months and a lot can happen when a property is not vacant, a stain on the carpet, a problem with plumbing or a hole in a wall. This is why pre settlement inspections are so important to a purchaser.

A lot of purchasers will go into their pre settlement inspection and not understand the point, spend only 5-10 minutes there and after settlement find something wrong at the property which ultimately could have been dealt with before settlement if they had just understood what the point of the inspection was and what to be looking out for.

What happens if you don’t do a pre settlement inspection?

If you decided to not do a pre settlement inspection and then after settlement, you found some issues with property, for example, the hot water system is not working. If this happened, there would be no recourse to the situation. There is no way possible for anything to happen because as soon as you take those keys at settlement, the property is now in your possession and who is to say that it stopped working after you got the keys? This would mean more expenses for you, when this could have been avoided if you did the inspection, as your conveyancer or lawyer could have negotiated to deduct the cost from the purchase price or could have had it fixed by the vendor before settlement. However, once settlement takes place there is nothing else that can be done.

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Who arranges a pre settlement inspection?

A pre settlement inspection should be arranged with the real estate (in most cases the agent should contact you regarding this), however, if you have not heard from the real estate agent within a week of settlement make sure you contact them because it is your right as purchaser. The inspection will usually take around 30 minutes and is a great time to ask the agent questions and to look for anything that is different from the time of exchange.

Key things to look out for at a pre settlement inspection:

  • The property is in the same condition as to when the contract was exchanged.
  • Anything that was meant to be removed from the property has been.
  • Any rectification work that was agreed to be completed before settlement is done.
  • Make sure there is no damage (this can sometimes occur when people are moving furniture out), for example: holes in walls, broken windows, doorknobs not working etc.
  • Make sure any inclusions that were marked on the front of the contract are in working condition, this can include: stove, oven, air conditioning, dishwasher, alarm system, garage door, smoke alarms etc.
  • Make sure there is not rubbish lying around the property (no skip bins, boxes left behind etc)
  • Remember to check items like the hot water system, gas meter, smoke detectors, air conditioning system etc (these are common things purchasers do not think to look at.

What should you do if an issue arises?

Something to keep in mind is a sale contract provides for the property to be in the same condition on settlement as when the contract was signed, however, this is subject to fair wear and tear. Taking your contract of sale with you to a final inspection can help refresh your mind on what inclusions are marked and any conditions agreed upon.

If a minor issue arises, usually you may be able to reach a mutual agreement between the vendor, however, something to remember is that cleanliness does not fall into this scope.

If a major issue arises it is important to take photos and advise you Licensed Conveyancer or Solicitor. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to delay settlement or negotiate for some funds to be withheld at settlement. In saying this, this is not always the case and ultimately, we are all working to reach a fair outcome for our clients.

How Coutts Can Help with Pre Settlement Inspections

At Coutts, we recognise that your property purchase is a significant investment. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your pre settlement inspection experience is smooth, informed, and empowering. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in making your property transaction journey a successful one.

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Kay Vitogiannis

Kay joined the Coutts team in May 2021 working as a Licensed Conveyancer within our Property & Conveyancing team, based in our Narellan office.

Kay has over 20 years of experience in the Legal industry. She began her journey in CBD Conveyancing firms as a secretary and attained her Advanced Diploma in Conveyancing in December 2010.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Kay Vitogiannis
Licensed Conveyancer
1300 268 887


Alicia joined the Coutts team in June 2023 as a Paralegal working within the Wills & Estates and Property & Conveyancing teams, from our Narellan office.

Alicia has extensive experience in property law, after working in real estate for three years and has almost obtained her Real Estate License.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Alicia Haule
1300 268 887

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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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