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I thought the contract covered this.

I thought the contract covered this.

It’s been a long few months: you’ve spoken to dozens of agents, brokers and banks, builder friends and family members and you’ve decided on the dream home. The agent prepares the contract and asks if you want the usual ‘get out of jail’ clauses –pest and building inspections and a finance clause.  Surely this covers me.

You and the seller sign the contract, but because cash is a bit tight you decide against talking to the lawyers straight away. After all you’d rather not run up a bill just yet until you know your finance application, pest and building inspections are all ok.

As expected they are all OK and you tell the seller everything’s good to go.

You then make contact with the lawyers who begin to go through the contract. You’re pretty comfortable with the questions until you’re asked if you knew whether the house and shed are council approved. I think so. The house looks great and you’ve just had two inspectors say everything checks out.

The lawyer goes on, explaining the building inspection has nothing to do with whether the improvements are legal, and to make matters worse there’s nothing in the contract fine print to say improvements must be council approved.

You barely hear the rest. You look across to your partner (you’re on speaker in the car). Will your insurance cover you? Do you have to make the house compliant? What about your renovation plans now?

At PD Law our fees are fixed regardless of when you call, so don’t delay making contact. We discuss these and many other issues up front, so you can ask as many questions as you want, before it’s too late.

And remember Latin’s most important legal phrase– caveat emptor – buyer beware.