Buying an off-the-plan apartment or house comes with the expectation that you end up with exactly what it detailed in the contract of sale, possibly with the added bonus of no stamp duty payable. Final handover should only be finalised once all included appliances, windows, doors, finishes and extras have been completed. However, closing the contract before a handover inspection may lead to costly issues down the road.
Preparing for a Handover Inspection
One of the major mistakes that off-the-plan property owners make is deciding to settle for a walkthrough in place of a handover inspection conducted by a qualified builder. The average person may detect cosmetic or obvious defects, including missing features, but there is more to inspecting a property than meets the eye. With that in mind, hiring a professional building inspector who is a registered builder (DBU) is always recommended. Houspect building inspectors are licensed with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).
The sale contract with the developer or contractor should contain full details of the property design and list of agreed features. A building inspector can use these documents to ensure that the contractor has carried out all agreed work, and that work is completed to all relevant Victorian and Australian building standards.
Purpose of a Handover Report
Disputes over defects can cause a major headache for new homeowners. If you wait until the contract has been finalised and you have taken ownership of the property, there is very little you can do to prevent the contractor from pushing back on a dispute. In some cases, a contractor may even claim that certain defects were the result of damage that occurred after work was completed.
A handover inspection for an off-the-plan property is particularly important when dealing with a developer who is constructing many properties on a tight deadline. Contractors who are pressured to complete work on a project are more likely to cut corners or make mistakes. The homeowner is then left with the cost of repairing defects if the dispute cannot be settled in the absence of a handover inspection.
Included in a Handover Inspection
Handover inspections are not completely rigid, in that the checklist will reflect the type of property and what was agreed with the contractor. Typical areas that are inspected include foundations, walls, cladding, ceilings, plumbing, fittings and extras. An important aspect of any building inspection involves ensuring that your property is structurally sound.
Qualified builders, with extensive experience, are best placed to carry out a handover inspection for an off-the-plan property. At Houspect, our building inspectors have extensive knowledge of building techniques and expected standards in Victorian and national level. These professionals can identify defects that most homeowners would otherwise overlook.
Our job is to cover all the important considerations of a handover inspection and subsequent report. Although you may have agreed a contract, it is quite easy to miss issues where the contractor failed to build to the agreed plans and specifications. Your building inspector will thoroughly assess the property to ensure that the property has been completed according to what is included in the contract.
Disputes & Off-the-Plan Builds
If you have not yet signed a contract with the developer, you may wish to discuss whether you are entitled to have the property inspected by a third party building inspector. It is always better to settle disputes before you move into the property. A handover report that details defects and failures to meet acceptable standards can help eliminate any pushback from the contractor.
Houspect can provide a thorough handover inspection for homeowners who have purchased an off-the-plan property in Victoria. Call our offices today to discuss your needs with an experienced builder, including other types of inspections such as stage building inspections.