Before signing a contract, you should inspect the property. You should also check if there are any restrictions on how the property can be changed or altered.

Buyer's information notice

Make sure you read the buyer's information notice (form R3) (39.7 KB PDF), which the seller must give you before you buy. This notice draws your attention to things such as:

  • the possible presence of asbestos
  • structural problems caused by termites or salt damp
  • any illegal building work
  • if there is a septic tank on the property.

What to look for

Not all problems are obvious. For example:

  • cracked walls, sloping floors and cracked brickwork can suggest problems with the foundation or structure
  • mould and peeling paintwork could mean problems with drainage
  • bubbling paint or mud splatters around skirting boards can suggest termites
  • sagging roof frames and broken roof tiles could mean extensive roof repairs are needed.

Building inspections

You can make the contract of sale subject to a satisfactory inspection report from a:

  • surveyor, architect or building consultant for a general building inspection
  • licensed pest inspector if you are concerned about termite activity
  • structural engineer to check that the building is structurally sound.

Contact the local council if the property was recently renovated to check the correct planning permission was given.

You can also make the contract subject to a pre-settlement inspection. This is normally done about a week before the settlement date.

Other things to check

Be proactive about asking questions and turning things on and off when inspecting a property. Other things to check could include:

  • do the pipes rattle and is the water clear
  • are the downpipes and gutters in good repair
  • are trees growing too close to the building and potentially causing plumbing issues
  • what is behind furniture or wall hangings, particularly if they are in an odd place.

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 15 September 2021

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Attorney-General's Department
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