Property settlement is the legal transfer of property ownership from vendor to purchaser.  The settlement process is handled by either a conveyancer or a solicitor. Settlement periods range from 30 to 90 days and are nominated by the vendor.

When settlement is effected, ownership of the property passes to the purchaser, and the purchaser pays the balance of the agreed purchase price to the vendor. The vendor must hand over the property in the same condition as it was when it was sold and the contract was signed so the purchaser has the right to arrange another inspection during the week prior to settlement. The purchaser’s bank will expect building and contents insurance to have been arranged prior to settlement, which will take effect from the date the contract is signed.

During the period leading up to settlement the conveyancer should provide the purchaser with a plan of the land as well as a copy of the Certificate of Title.  It is the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure the boundary measurements correlate with those on the Certificate of Title.

If there is any doubt, a Surveyor should be engaged by the purchaser before settlement takes place. The purchaser’s conveyancer will provide a list of documents required for settlement.  The purchaser should ensure these documents are available and correct to avoid costly delays in settling. The purchaser is responsible for paying land transfer duty (stamp duty) at settlement.  The Title to the property will not be released to the purchaser until the duty is paid.

Once settlement is effected, both parties will be contacted by their respective conveyancers / solicitors and the handover of keys will be actioned.

Just remember, a pre-purchase building inspection should be conducted before or immediately after an offer is accepted prior to the expiry of the cooling-off period in order to ensure that there are no major defects that could result in an undesirable loss of utility or significant outgoing costs post-purchase. Pre-purchase building inspections are also of vital importance in identifying any potential safety hazards that may exist with the property. More detail at here.

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Buying a new home is often the most significant and exciting purchase someone will ever make. It is very easy for a home buyer to become distracted and get caught up in the moment; the open-plan living area may be spectacularly inviting; the kitchen may be breath-taking in its scope and functionality; the bathroom may be seductive in its aesthetic charm. Generally a purchaser will emotionally connect with a potential new home, focusing primarily on the cosmetic appeal and overall “feel” of the home without considering the practical aspects of its structural integrity and general safety. This is totally understandable considering that most people are not builders or construction experts.

What is required at this point is a competent building inspector to examine the home and to provide valuable feedback regarding the building’s condition and soundness.

A professional building inspector possesses a broad frame of reference in regards to building systems and construction techniques. They know how to accurately assess the condition of a property and have an eye for detecting unobvious defects. A building inspector will have specialised equipment to assess the building’s condition; from moisture meters that measure dampness in walls and voltage testers that gauge the polarity of power points, to thermal imaging cameras that assess the heat registers imposed on various building elements. Expert building inspectors have a thorough knowledge of the various Australian Standards and relevant building codes that relate to safety and compliant workmanship, and will implement a systematic approach when inspecting a home so that every possible element is adequately checked.

By engaging a professional building inspector prior to the expiration of the 48-hour contractual cooling period, you can be free to enjoy the experience of property acquisition whilst being safe in the knowledge that the building inspector will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision on the biggest investment that you will likely ever make.

We report and you decide! Contact Summerton Building & Inspection now to book a pre-purchase building inspection of your prospective new home! Visit for more details. Remember to check out our Google Plus page: Summerton Building Inspections


The purchase of residential property is a significant decision and should be supported by an informed awareness of the physical state of the property; thus objective professional advice should generally be sought to enable informed decisions.

A pre-purchase building inspection is a thorough inspection of a home listed for sale conducted by a qualified building inspector on behalf of a prospective buyer.

AS4349.1 – 2007 Inspection of buildings – pre purchase inspections” states that the purpose of a pre-purchase inspection is to provide advice to a prospective purchaser or other interested party regarding the condition of the property at the time of inspection.

Subsequently a report will be provided by the inspection company to the prospective buyer detailing major and minor defects as well as any potential safety hazards that may have been discovered during the inspection. The inspector will also compare the building to other similarly aged homes that have been maintained to an acceptable standard and will appropriately classify the home as either below average, average, or above average.

The pre-purchase building inspector will inspect all accessible parts of the building and any outbuildings within 30m of the building and within the boundaries of the property.

The building inspector will inspect:

  1. The interior of the building
  2. The roof space
  3. The exterior of the building
  4. The sub-floor space
  5. The roof exterior
  6. The property within 30m of the building subject to inspection

The building inspector can only observe those areas that are visibly accessible, thus safe and reasonable access must be considered. When entering a roof space or a sub-floor, the crawl space must be a minimum of 600mm x 600mm and easily accessible by a 3.6 metre ladder as per AS4349 series of Australian Standards. Similarly when inspecting a roof it must be safely accessible by a 3.6m ladder. It is at the inspector’s discretion at the time of the building inspection as to whether the conditions allow for safe and reasonable access.

The types of building defects that are to be reported on are:

  1. Damage;
  2. Distortion, warping or twisting;
  3. Water penetration or damp issues;
  4. Material deterioration (e.g. rust, rotting, corrosion or decay);
  5. Operational (where the element or component does not operate as intended);
  6. Installation (where the element or component has been installed incorrectly, inappropriately or is missing components).

Often the building inspector will encounter limitations when conducting a building inspection relating to areas restricted by stored personal items, air conditioning ducts, low pitched roofs, cars, or locked doors and gates (among other factors). It is the clients’ responsibility to arrange to the best of their ability maximum access to all parts of the property. In circumstances where access to particular areas is denied the inspector, those parts cannot form part of the inspection.

Organising a pre-purchase inspection prior to committing to a property contract can be an invaluable exercise to you, the prospective buyer. It will inform you of the condition of your prospective home, will make you aware of any potential safety hazards that may exist, and will grant you an insight into potential repair and maintenance requirements prior to making a financial commitment to the property. This amplified knowledge can also result in your avoiding potentially escalating repair costs if a problem is found during its early stages, and in turn, may also bestow you with increased bargaining power when negotiating purchase price with the real estate agent.

Contact Summerton Building & Inspection now to book a pre-purchase building inspection before the expiration of your 48 hour cooling period!

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