What is a ‘final inspection’?

When you purchase a home in WA, generally, you’ll be entitled to a final inspection of the property prior to settlement.

The inspection is completed in the week before settlement, at a time that suits you and the Seller.  Usually, the Real Estate Agent will show you through the property.

You can also take up to two people with you, if you wish.

What is the purpose of the final inspection?

Subject to the terms of your contract, the inspection is your opportunity to:

  • Check that the property is in the same condition as when you first inspected it.
  • Test the gas, electrical and plumbing fixtures to ensure that they are all in working order. This include items such as the stove, oven, taps, lights and reticulation.
  • Ensure that any relevant Special Conditions have been attended to.  This includes things such as any repairs that the Seller was required to complete under the Contract.

What happens if I discover a problem at the final inspection?

Should you find that there is something that needs to be repaired, replaced or otherwise attended to, the Real Estate Agent & your Settlement Agent will be able to liaise with the Seller and their Settlement Agent to reach an appropriate outcome.

This could include having the repairs completed by the Seller prior to settlement or perhaps receiving a credit of funds from the Seller at settlement in lieu of having the issue rectified.

Can I go back to check a repair made by the Seller after the final inspection?

In WA, most contracts are underpinned by the ‘Joint Form of General Conditions’.  Some real estate agents use the 2011 version of these conditions, whilst others use the 2018 version.

Under the 2011 standard Contract, you are only entitled to one final inspection.   In this case:

  • If the Seller has to complete any repairs, they will need to let the Real Estate Agent know once this is completed.  The Real Estate Agent may be able to go back to the property and check the work themselves.
  • Alternatively, the Seller may provide a receipt or invoice from the contractor confirming that the work has been carried out.
  • In some cases, the Seller may oblige your request to re-visit the property yourself.  It doesn’t hurt to ask the Real Estate Agent if a second inspection is possible.  However, you should bear in mind that the Seller may politely decline this request.

Under the 2018 standard Contract, you may be entitled to reinspect the property.  In this case:

  • You are only entitled to a second inspection if you identified items at the first inspection, that pursuant to the terms of your contract, are required to be fixed by the seller.  If you are unsure whether a particular item is covered, you should speak to your Conveyancer.
  • Once the Seller has completed the necessary repairs, you can arrange a suitable time for the second inspection with the Real Estate Agent.

I want to delay settlement until the seller fixes the problem.  Can I do this?

It is important to note that generally, issues raised at final inspection do not entitle you to delay settlement.  That is, if the Seller is not willing or able to fix the problem before settlement, you will still be obligated to go ahead and settle, and then seek compensation or specific performance by the Seller following settlement.

Do you have a checklist that I can use at my final inspection?

Yes, Metro Settlements has a handy checklist, that you can download here.

This checklist will take you through all of the gas, electrical and plumbing items that will likely be included in your purchase.

It is important to note, however, that the checklist is generic and not all items may be covered by your Contract.  If you’re unsure, just give your Conveyancer a quick call to check.

My final inspection all went well.  What now?

Congratulations!  A successful final inspection is the last stage of the process before settlement.  

Give your Conveyancer a call or a quick email, and let them know that it all went smoothly.  They’ll now be able to proceed to settlement on your behalf on the scheduled day.