Before You Sign a Contract

  • Never sign a contract before showing it to a competent solicitor/legal representative acting on your behalf, and definitely not someone recommended by the real estate agent
  • Be aware that there are clauses (indiscrete or additional) sometimes used in the industry that may bind you to a contract regardless of faults (major or expensive) identified by your inspectors

  • Do not accept reports organised by the current owner or real estate agent (often referred to as Vendors reports); they will more than likely be biased! You may not have any legal recourse against the inspector that has not been hired and paid by you if undisclosed problems are found after you have bought the property. Their insurers usually demand a disclaimer be put in the report against claims from third parties. Check with your legal representative

  • Do not under any circumstance sign a contract that says to the ‘structural soundness’ even if it says to your satisfaction. This clause is sometimes used to limit your chances of renegotiating or terminating a contract unless the building is falling to pieces before your eyes. A building can be deemed structurally sound yet still require a considerable amount of money for rectification of non-structural items. There is a far greater list and expense of non-structural items in a building than that of a structural nature!

  • It is preferable to obtain inspections before signing a contract so you know the true condition of the property before putting a price on it. Otherwise you are signing and agreeing to a price on something you know very little about!

  • Do not be bullied by anyone into using a building or pest control inspector they recommend and out of using someone of your choice. Sellers and agents often recommend inspectors that will give favourable reports so the sale can go through, if a sale falls through they will not recommend that inspector again

  • Be cautious of “Standard Contracts”  contracts generally have been drafted by the real estate industry for sales and are not necessarily designed to protect the buyer. You must seek legal advice before signing anything and if advised also where necessary, add clauses to protect your interest

Not all contracts are the same. Not all building inspection reports are either!

A 'standard contract' has been drafted to sell a property. You must seek legal advice from a competent legal advisor before signing any contract that binds you to a purchase!