Your house might need to be demolished!

We were recently approached by a couple who had purchased a 1960’s house a number of months ago. They like the house but something is wrong.

Subsequent to settlement, they discovered that the walls and floors of the house appeared to have a slope to them. After stripping back the render on the house and seeking expert engineering advice, they were advised that the footings had failed and that the house was not capable of being saved and ought to be demolished.

The reason for their call to us was ultimately to confirm whether there was any recourse against any other party to that transaction. It became apparent that the purchasers had not obtained a pre-purchase inspection of the house and that ultimately the old adage “buyer beware” applied.  This is a terribly expensive consequence and one reason why it is always advisable to obtain expert advice before buying what may potentially be the most expensive asset of your life.

Your contract might impose costly obligations

Not all risk lies in the physical attributes of a house which you are buying.  We also had a client who engaged us to act in respect of the purchase of a suburban block of land that was part of a two lot subdivision.  The contract contained a special condition that required the purchaser client to pay for the costs of drainage and other civil works that benefitted the other block in the sub-division.  The value of the works were not disclosed.  This special condition would have added tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of purchasing the property.

The purchaser had signed the contract before he came to see us for advice.  After we explained the effect of the special condition and the unknown quantum of costs he would be liable for, he immediately wanted to end the contract. The Purchaser was fortunate that a technicality allowed us to assist him to exit the contract without any penalty.  He later went on to purchase a home which he was very happy with.

Do your pre-purchase inspections

The above are two short examples of what can go wrong if purchasers do not undertake adequate due dilligence prior to making an offer to purchase  property.  If you are in the process of purchasing property please contact one of the lawyers at Septimus Jones and Lee for assistance with your conveyancing requirements.

If you need any assistance contact one of our lawyers at sjl@sjl.com.au or call 03 9613 6555 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.