• Significant Defects, Structural Defects and Their Effect on Real Estate Contracts

    15 Jun, 2016 | 975 views

    For new buyers, due diligence and building inspections can take a backseat to eagerness and excitement about purchasing a new home. Failure to obtain an inspection report from a reputable, registered building inspection company can leave new homeowners in a precarious position, especially if significant defects or structural defects are found on the property.

    Understanding Real Estate Contracts: Structural and Significant Defects

    Often, it’s not easy for first-time buyers to understand every aspect of their real estate contracts, due to the highly specific wording and industry language. This means that many new buyers may not realise just how much recourse they have if a property they’ve agreed to purchase is discovered to have structural defects or significant defects due to the findings of a professional building inspection company.

    Standard real estate contracts in many parts of Australia allow buyers to be legally released from a purchasing agreement if major structural defects are discovered. This means that you will not be required to complete a purchase if a building inspection report shows evidence of such. Should your building inspection report show documented evidence of a significant structural defect, you may be able to terminate real estate contracts in order to protect your investment

    Protecting Your Investment Against Structural Defects

    A significant or structural defect can have far-reaching implications for new buyers. These defects can leave a home dangerous or unstable, and can in some cases cost thousands of dollars to adequately repair. While standard real estate contracts do provide prospective buyers with the option of discontinuing a purchase after the discovery of structural defects, this clause will not protect buyers who fail to obtain a building inspection report. Sellers in some states and territories are not legally required to disclose this information. Furthermore, real estate agents are invested in protecting the interests of the seller for whom they’re working, and they may not be required to provide any information beyond verifying material facts when they’re attempting to sell a property.

    While real estate contracts often do feature a standard clause which allows buyers to cancel a sale if significant defects or structural defects are discovered on the property, the definition of “structural defect” is often open to interpretation. The discovery of such problems does have the potential to derail real estate contracts, but this can entail a lengthy process.

    The best way for new home buyers to protect themselves against a poor investment is to obtain an inspection report from an insured, registered professional building inspection company that utilises the services of qualified registered builders before submitting an Offer and Acceptance form. This allows buyers to enter into real estate contracts and negotiations with more knowledge of the property’s condition, providing them with the ability to make an informed purchasing decision.

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