What to Consider Before Buying an Existing Property

buying an existing property

Are you looking at purchasing an existing property that might have been renovated or had improvements such as, extensions, patios, decks, pergolas, driveways, garage, carports, pool or spa added?

Buyer Beware!  Making a Contract subject to property searches can save you money and time and prevent on-going problems.

Unless specific conditions are included, the Standard REIQ Residential House & Land Contract in Queensland does not contain any provision which allows home-buyers to terminate the Contract if any unapproved structures are found after the Contract is signed.

Standard Condition 7.6 of the standard REIQ Residential House & Land Contract states that any valid notice or order by any competent authority (such as local council) must be fully complied with:

  1. If issued before the Contract date, by the Seller..;
  2. If issued on or after the Contract date, by the Buyer.

That means that the home-buyer assumes liability for any unapproved alterations or improvements to the dwelling revealed after a Contract is signed.  Such liability may include the cost of engaging a qualified Certifier, obtaining Council approval or even demolition of the structure if it fails to comply with the prevailing Council’s regulations.

While most (if not all) home-buyers elect to undertake a Building and Pest Report, it is not the role of a Building Inspector to review Council approvals of property improvements.  Their role is to evaluate the structural integrity of the property and to report as to the existence of any major or minor defects, potential health and safety issues and whether the property (and improvements) meets current standards.

If you are considering purchasing an existing property we strongly suggest that you contact White Jordin before you sign a Contract.  We are able to draft various Special Conditions to meet your specific needs, at no extra charge to you.  Our fees are capped at a set rate, regardless of the property location, purchase price or whether the property is meant as your principal place of residence or as an investment property.

Special Conditions allow the home-buyer time to undertake recommended searches with the prevailing Council (such as Approved Building Plans) to check for any unapproved structures and, if found, the home-buyer may have the option to terminate the Contract (and have the deposit refunded in full), or to enter into negotiations with the Vendor.

White Jordin Lawyers
White Jordin Lawyers value fairness, integrity and justice. They believe that all people have the right to access the legal system and to have their cases heard.