Warning! Innocent buyers may incur huge financial losses due to Buyer Beware.
Are you aware that buyers of real estate have no consumer protection rights unlike all other consumers?
The old fashioned common law principle “Caveat Emptor” or Buyer Beware still applies to home buyers. Under our current law the onus rests entirely with the buyer to uncover hidden defects that are not disclosed prior to the contract going unconditional. For this reason it is of utmost importance that a buyer obtain a Building & Pest report on the property as soon as possible if serious about buying it.
We recommend that the buyer promptly arrange the building and pest inspection so that the findings of the report can be read and understood well before making the decision to proceed with the sale.
Most sellers and real estate agents are honest and act in good faith however there are some out there who are not. Unfortunately we have seen many buyers (who have come to us after possession) only to discover that they are stuck with a lemon that has become a financial nightmare.
They find out too late that they have no right to claim against the seller for non-disclosure about the condition of the property.
Many examples can be found where the buyer has suffered major financial loss as a result of Caveat Emptor. One example would be a case where a purchaser buys at auction an older property without first obtaining a pre-purchase building and pest report. The unsuspecting buyer moves in and soon realizes that $15000+ needs to be spent on a new roof.
The seller did not need to disclose the water leaks to the buyer. The buyer had no right to claim compensation from the seller because legally the fault lay with the buyer for not having done sufficient due diligence. This is unjust. It is not right that the most expensive and most important purchase in someone’s lifetime is not covered by consumer protection laws.
Laws to Protect Buyers
Interestingly the law has changed recently in the UK and in the ACT so that the seller must disclose structural defects. In the UK criminal charges may apply for certain breaches of seller obligations.
BuildingPro would like to see the remaining Australian states follow the lead of the ACT and enact legislation to protect innocent home buyers such that the seller must obtain a pre-sale building and pest report and attach it to the initial contract for sale. See our pre-sale inspection service by clicking here.
This will ensure proper consumer protection, encourage honesty and fair bargaining power between the parties.
Support our Petition
It is time for the unjust Buyer Beware doctrine to be abolished and new laws enacted to protect innocent home buyers. The seller should sell a house that is “fit for purpose” and provide a pre-sale building and pest report to the buyer before the buyer enters into the contract for sale. Just like a road worthy certificate must be provided when selling a car, the same logic should apply to houses.
We welcome you to please support our petition to the relevant state ministers and Prime Minister to follow the ACT in the interest of fairness.