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Jun 9, 2018


From time to time we have buyer clients who are most upset that their new house is not quite to the standard of cleanliness they expected.

But here’s the rub, without any specific special clause relating to this, the property simply has to be in at least the same condition it was in when the buyer last inspected it prior to making the offer to purchase.

In other words, if the house wasn’t absolutely spotless before you made your offer to buy it, it doesn’t have to be afterwards. If you want the house to be professionally cleaned, ask the real estate agent to put it in the contract.

This same principle applies to other things about the house as well. If a house has some damage or defect, the seller doesn’t have to fix it, unless the contract specifically requires it.

If the defect was there when you inspected it before making the offer, you are deemed to have known about it and bought the property in spite of it.

Again, if there are defects to the house you want fixed, put them in the contract.

This brings me to the scope of building report clauses in most contracts. The standard clauses used by real estate agents is limited only to structural defects, so unless the defect affects the structural integrity of the house, the seller is not obliged to fix them and the buyer generally has no grounds to get out of the contract.

The best way around this matter is to get your building inspection done BEFORE you sign the offer, then you don’t have a contract to get out of.

It will also inform you as to whether you buy the house at all and if so, what you might pay for it.

The contract matters, so pay specific attention to it and get advice on it from a lawyer or settlement agent before you sign it.

Neither Goldfields Settlements nor Paul Browning are lawyers, so none of the above should be construed as legal advice. Readers are encouraged to seek their own independent legal advice on these and any other matter involving property dealings, preferably before entering into them.

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