Rules can change for Interstate Property Purchases

7th December 2023
Category Real Estate

Buying property interstate can involve different rules and regulations, such as the rules governing pest reports in Queensland. The RMB Property Law Division explains:

Whenever you purchase property, it is always advisable to obtain a building and pest report to be fully informed about the property’s condition.

In NSW the onus is on the purchaser to arrange a building and pest report either before exchange of contracts or during the cooling off period. The only recourse a purchaser has is to pull out of the contract or negotiate a price reduction before the cooling off period expires. Once the contract is “unconditional” the purchaser must accept the property in the same state and condition it is in on the day of exchange.

However, if you are considering buying real estate in Queensland, it is important to be aware of differences between the contracts particularly as it relates to building and pest reports.

Queensland contracts will generally include what is referred to as the “subject to building and pest inspection” condition, which gives greater protection to a purchaser as it allows a period (of generally 7-14 days) after the contract date for an inspection to be carried out by a licensed inspector.  

The building and pest clause gives purchasers the right up until 5pm on the date nominated in the contract to terminate or notify the vendor in writing (via their solicitor) whether or not they are satisfied with the building and pest inspection report. If not satisfied, and they decide to terminate, they must provide a copy of the report to the vendor.

Negotiations between the parties can occur for work to be done by the vendor prior to settlement or for a price reduction. However, the vendors are not obliged to agree and may refuse to negotiate.

The purchaser must act reasonably in determining to terminate the contract. Matters such as the severity of the problems identified, the age of the property, and whether the issues were obvious or disclosed to the purchaser prior to entering into the contract will be relevant.

If the purchaser does not waive the condition or terminate by the building and pest report deadline, the contract remains on foot and either party may terminate. This is referred to as the purchaser’s “continuing right” to give written notice.

Before purchasing property anywhere in Australia, it is critical that you obtain legal advice about the process as there are often important differences. If you have any questions or are concerned about your situation, your first step should be to contact our office to arrange a free consultation. You can contact us by by phone or our 'Ask a Question' tool on our website.