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What to look for at a pre-settlement inspection

You are about to receive the keys to your new home! What a moment.

After working so hard to get to this point, the excitement is palpable as you approach the big day. You have been out shopping for new furniture to fit the new spaces in your life. Eyeing up hardware stores looking at tiles, garden features and new appliances. Your world is full of possibility and anticipation.

Before you can move in though, there is one last job to do. The pre-settlement inspection. This is when you visit the home, usually a few days before final settlement takes place, to inspect the property and make sure everything is ok.

What to check at your pre-settlement inspection:

  • Appliances. Check that any chattels included in the sale contract are in working order. This could include a dishwasher, heating unit, oven and more. Take a copy of the contract you signed when purchasing your home so you have easy access to a list of items to check. Note: If it’s not listed on the contract, it may not be included!
  • Light fittings. Check that these are in working order.
  • Changes since your last visit. Look through the home for any damage that may have occurred since you signed the contract. If you find anything you are not sure about, query it with your agent.
  • Completion of any work required. Sometimes your contract to buy a home can include specific jobs that need to be completed prior to settlement. An example would be, re-installing wardrobe doors or replacing a broken chattel.
  • Cleanliness. If the home is already empty, you will also be checking to see that it’s clean and tidy and all rubbish has been removed from the property. Remember to check under the house and in the roof space as well.
  • Access. Check that all keys, garage door remotes and alarm codes are accounted for, ready for you to access on settlement day.

What not to do at your pre-settlement inspection:

  • This is not an open home. Resist the urge to invite the extended family along. Yes, they are excited to see your new home but their presence could distract you from checking the items you should be, and from making appropriate plans for moving day.
  • Keep it short and sweet. This home still belongs to the seller until settlement day, so please respect their time (and that of your agent) by keeping your visit as concise as possible. You’ll have all the time you need in this home very soon!

No matter what, keep it real.

We all want our new abode to be flawless. In near-new condition. But the reality is often something very different.

Buyers often turn up to their pre-settlement inspection to find that all the homely feel has been removed. There are no house plants. No baby photos on the wall. No lush bedding and comfy couches. These are replaced by empty picture hooks, holes where a tv bracket once lived and sparse rooms with no sign of life.

Any small bit of wear and tear suddenly stands out like a sore thumb.

Contrast that with your last visit where your desire to own the property allowed you to see past small imperfections, focussing more on the bigger picture and the features you love most.

Don’t be disheartened. This home will shine once more after you move in and make it your own.

Other key points to remember:

  • Everyone has a different standard of ‘clean’. One of the most common frustrations for buyers is moving into a home that isn’t as clean as they expected. It’s worth the investment of hiring cleaners to give your new home a once-over before you move in so you can have a fresh start. Nothing dampens moving day like having to scrub empty kitchen cupboards before you can unpack.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. If there is a lightbulb that needs replacing, or a bit of wood left under the house, or a few nicks in the hallway walls, try not to let it get to you. Objecting to small issues, especially if you have to get your lawyer involved, can be more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, you should ensure all chattels are working as they should be, but don’t nickel and dime your way into a messy settlement.
  • Take a tape measure. Inevitably, you will have spaces you need to measure up for appliances, furniture or artwork.
  • Ask when the home will be empty. The person you are buying off may not be moving until settlement day. If this is the case, make sure you don’t book your moving truck to come too early. You don’t want to be paying your movers to stand around outside your new home while you wait for the old owners to move out. Liaise with your agent on timing so you can make a seamless transition.

Above all, remain focussed on the big picture, reminding yourself why you liked this home so much in the first place. And remember that as soon as you move in, it will look like a welcoming home once more.

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Tony Skilling

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, REA 2008
Arizto New Plymouth
Mobile: 020 486 6975

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Tony Skilling © 2021 • New Plymouth Real Estate Salesperson with Arizto

Licensed REA 2008