Make sure you get everything you’re paying for when it comes time to buy your next property. Those of us who have bought before know how important it is to ensure that you negotiate effectively and buy well. After all, that mortgage can be a huge weight on your shoulders for the next 20-30 years and so it’s vital to get it right. Come moving day, it’s very exciting to move in and enjoy the fruits of your labour, but what happens when you discover that not everything that you thought was included is actually present in the property? Those gorgeous living room linen curtains are gone, the $2000 crystal hallway pendant light fitting has been replaced with a $50 el cheapo IKEA knock-off and the automatic pool cleaner is nowhere to be found. Suddenly you feel ripped off, and potentially rightly so…. or was it your fault for not being thorough in the first place?
As buyers’ agents, one of our pivotal roles is to liaise between parties such as solicitors and conveyancers, building inspectors, property managers and lenders in order to effect a successful sale for our clients. Not only does this ensure the process is an easier one for our buyers but it can often expedite the exchange of contracts and lead to a smoother settlement for all involved.
Part of the due diligence here involves obtaining a copy of the contract of sale and passing it on to the buyer’s legal representative for review. However, it’s in the best interests of our client, as their buyers’ agents, to double-check the “black box” in the middle section of the front page of the NSW sales contract, which contains the inclusions and exclusions of the property for sale. Vendors have been known to omit articles that were “assumed” to have been staying with the property eg: curtains, pool equipment, dishwasher- that are not necessarily considered fixtures of the property. It’s imperative to not only check these inclusions upon inspection (and to ensure they’re in working order) but also to take note of any exclusions and inform our clients.
Sometimes we need to specifically itemise other inclusions on the contract to ensure clarity here. For example, “pool equipment” as an inclusion can be vague and we know of cases where buyers turned up to their new home to find that the $1600 auto pool cleaner had disappeared yet the pool scoop and brush had been left behind, constituting the “pool equipment”. Dishwashers are a common inclusion that buyers assume are staying and, if unchecked, can find themselves doing the washing up by hand when they move in, to their surprise! Items such as curtains, blinds and light fittings have been known to have been substituted between exchange and settlement, so it’s also good practice to take note of these and photograph them as a record for the pre-settlement inspection. We do this for all clients and also take the time to test everything electrical/gas in the property both at initial inspection and again prior to settlement, at the pre-settlement inspection.
Checking inclusions may seem like common sense and assumed to have been carried out and double-checked by buyers, however it’s our duty of care to our clients to ensure that these are correct and recorded as accurately as possible to avoid any nasty surprises at settlement. So, if you’re buying a property soon make sure you double-check and clarify those inclusions and take photos as an extra form of protection when conducting that pre-settlement inspection. Ensure you’re getting EVERYTHING you’ve actually paid for!