Pre-closing property inspection - how common?

Hallo - hope this is in the right forum.

Pre-closing property inspection - how many people have had one of these on a second hand house?

The question is not whether or not its a good idea - am in two minds about it - but how often are these carried out?

This is in a situation where the initial offer was made and accepted in august, and closing date finally agreed to be mid-october.

Thanks for any replies in advance

I asked essentially this question at work today to a group of 5 people.
5 of them said that they had hired an independent engineer to carry out survey and inspection of their properties.
It seems that many of them were requiring bank mortgages so it seemed to be part of the process that either their bank and/or solicitor or both etc. had requested of them.

Of the 5 I don’t really believe all of their answers.

I think only 2 actually really went and hired an independent engineer/architect/builder/chartered surveryor/responsible certain person to go and do the work of the inspection.

One name was mentioned that I had heard about earlier in the morning as being a person who if you hired him as an engineer that he would come back with a complete and detailed snag list to do with the building that he would have carried out the inspection of.

Knowing the little (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing) that I do about construction in dIreland I believe that it’s money well worth spending PROVIDED THAT THE PERSON WHO IS DOING THE WORK REALLY KNOWS, CARES AND APPLIES HIM/HERSELF TO THE WORK. This means time, a keen eye, an investigative manner and someone who won’t accept answers or appearances on surface level but who will dig deeper.

Pre-close inspection would be relatively common in the case of new builds but unusual when purchasing second hand property.

For new builds the pre-close inspection is try and eliminate as many of the snags as possible prior to the closing.

However in the case of a second hand property, contracts would have been signed on the basis that you are purchasing the property as is.

Specific item might be mentioned in the contract (curtains, light fittings, etc) thus the pre-closing inspection probably would consist of nothing more than ensuring that these items remain in the property.

**You have little or no come back if you spot any defeats spotted after you have signed the contracts. **

A pre-close inspection is advisable even re second hand houses IMHO. Too many buyers have been surprised by the vendor stripping the curtains (if supposed to be included), taking fixtures, leaving rubbish in back garden, etc.

Thanks all so far for your replies. In my experience, this is unusual indeed in a second hand property. The law society reccomend that purchasers organise a pre-closing inspection prior to closing, but it’s not something I’ve seen very often and would really like to know how many purchasers or vendors (of which there should be several on this forum? no?) have actually encountered one in Ireland. I see they are very common in Australia.

I presume it would be advisable in case any material changes were made to the property since contracts were signed? e.g. there’s now a big hole in the wall.

Unless it was listed in the contract (no holes in the wall), you would have difficulty proving it happens after signing.

However in my experience most people are honest in relation to such matters.

So I guess we’re all in concensus that it’s unusual so? The context is that we agreed sale at the beginning of August. The purchasers had been back in the house a couple of times since. Closing was on the 18th Oct.

Purchasers were under the impression (from the EA I imagine) that a lot of the contents in the house were included in the purchase price. When we told them they weren’t, sale was off. Eventually, EA did a deal with them and gave them 800 euros for the contents that we could not agree to leave and we left the rest - most of which were only fit for the tip. Sale went back on.

They got their loan cheque on the 30th sept and insisted that we then had to keep to closing date of 7th Oct. We could not do that - I posted previously re: the finance condition. Eventually closing got agreed for the 18th Oct. Huge personal and professional sacrifice (including a close family bereavement) later, we managed to get everything cleared out on the evening of the 17th. We left one set of keys with the solicitor that afternoon. We posted the other 2 back in through the letterbox and told the solicitor that’s what was happening. We were flying back out on the morning of the 18th.

In the deed of sale purchasers solicitor had inserted purchase price less 3,000 euro contents (to save stamp duty). We refused to sign that and had them change it to the purchase price. Mainly because our solicitor had refused to let us sign contracts with the date of the 7th if we weren’t going to make the 7th. Ethics go several ways.

Following morning, driving to airport, EA rings to say he has appointment with purchasers to do the pre-closing inspection at 10.15 and he’s already gotten the keys from our solicitor. Turns out the purchasers solicitor had rung the EA to say give us a letter stating that there are 3,000 euros worth of contents left. (I had amended the contract with solicitors approval to say contents with a replacement value of 3,000 euros as we would not attribute a value of 3,000 euros to the contents left behind.) The EA wouldn’t give them such a letter, so they then came back with a request for a pre-closing inspection.

Anyway, our solicitor had given our keys to the EA without our permission, and neither of them had bothered to lift the phone to tell us about this sudden pre-closing inspection which had never been mentioned even during all the wrangling over the closing date. When we challenged the solicitor about this (the issue with the liability for them having handed our keys over to the EA without our permission aside) the solicitor insisted that this was such a normal part of the procedure that nobody thought to mention it to us. Not even when we told them that this was the only other set of keys available and they knew we had gotten the EA’s keys back off him. So normal and common that it just somehow never got mentioned.

I know what I think of all this. Would love to hear others opinions. The sale went through, money is in our bank account. Purchasers from hell are installed in our (scratch that, their) house and all should be well. If anyone wants to make sure that the solicitor we used is not your solicitor, pm me and I’ll say yes or no…

All should be well that ends well, we can only hope that what comes around goes around

Keys should only be handed over to the purchaser on completion of sale, and up to the point that property is yours to rule as your own. The EA/solicitor were out of order, but to be fair they were perhaps trying to accomodate the buyers on the stamp duty saving issue to get the deal over the line, which is what happened. You could have directed the EA not to honour the appointment and to give access if you were so miffed, so I’d say just get over it.

I know what I think about a lot of this, dealing as I do with so called “professionals”…
Don’t ever trust an “Irish” professional (take the word loosely meaning any one come down with the “Irish” ways) for any job that you need them for. Really you need to be doing all of the actual graft in the background yourself and then double checking what your professionals are doing.

It seems here that your agents were not treating you fully properly but that in the end it all worked out OK anyhow.

I certainly wouldn’t be using them again.

EA and Solicitor were probably acting in your best interest.

It would appear that you had the purchasers from Hell. These are the type of buyers that no matter how good a deal they get they still believe they have been screwed.

Had these people not got their way, in all probability they would have attempted to pull out of the deal and you might have spent 6 months in courts trying to enforce.

The professionals knew this and didn’t allow them another opportunity to attempt to screw you.

As much as it might stick in your gut you are better off having closed the deal and moved on.

The professional jobs is ultimately to a sale for the vendor at the best possible price.

I believe in this case the buyers were the underlying problem and the professional did a good job to get the deal over the line.

I have no doubt that if the vendors did not get their pre-closing inspection they would not have closed.

Other way round landlord - the purchasers wanted the pre-closing inspection. We wouldn’t actually have had a problem with it if it had been done in an open fashion.

The real problem for us was that the solicitor gave the set of keys that we left with them for safekeeping and for the purpose of handing over to the purchasers after they closed the sale to a third party, the EA.

Neither the solicitor nor the EA had the common sense to lift the phone and tell us about this until they knew we were on our way out of the country. Our solicitor was insisting that this was such a common process that nobody mentioned it to us.

The purchasers were the ones pushing and bullying for an early closing date. If the purchasers hadn’t closed then we would have held the solicitor liable as we could not vouch for the condition of the property nor the contents given that our only set of keys had been given to a third party without our permission.

I asked the question about whether or not the pre-closing inspection was such a common practise because I’ve never heard of anyone doing one before, and in all the previous house sales and purchases I’ve made over the past 25 years (3 sales, 3 purchases) it has never been mentioned.

I agree with wii4miinow - much as I’d prefer not to - certainly in this instance, all the experiences that I’ve had meant that I was able to protect us a tiny bit more than if I hadn’t. For example, in the finance condition, the solicitor was insisting that an open ended clause was par for the course, everyone does it these days, I advise you to accept… etc etc. Bollox. At minimum no vendor should accept that without a cut off point and all vendors should ensure that they are given enough time after the finance has been lodged to the purchasers solicitor to arrange their exit from the property if they need it. We should have instructed our solicitor to put a clause into the contract to that effect - or actually our solicitors ought to have have suggested that.

@Deek - we did instruct the EA not to allow the appointment. We instructed our solicitor to retrieve the keys from the EA immediately. I instructed our solicitor to serve them with a 28 day notice to complete the following day if they hadn’t completed. They replied with a letter claiming that we were in fundamental breach of contract by not allowing them a pre-closing inspection.

We would have had no problem with a pre-closing inspection if it had been set up. We agreed, when we got back home here and could discuss the matter with the solicitor that the head solicitor could attend a pre-closing inspection on our behalf so long as the solicitor remembered that they were supposed to be representing us, not the purchasers.

It’s hard to get over, very hard. Between being saturated with grief due to a tragic death the previous week, a rotten cold due to the weather and the huge stress trying to get a project launched at the end of the week, as well as saying goodbye to a house I loved and trying to get it cleared out and shipped off in a really short time frame - I do have to admit to being a tad emotional. Yes, I will get over it, but I hope that this experience can be of use to others in the future.

Yes, I agree, the solicitor should not have handed the keys to the EA.