Forums / Property Investing / General Property / OTP and Final Inspection

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  • Profile photo of jhighlo2001jhighlo2001
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    @jhighlo2001
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 12

    As I am UK resident and may be completing on a OTP flat in the next couple of weeks – could anyone recommend an independant person / company who could perform a DETAILED inpection of the flat in Melbourne(for faults, size, applicances matching contract etc…. ). As the flat is a Central Equity one a very close inspection will be needed!!

    I also wanted to know, for example, if there were faults – is the vendor obliged to fix these before completion?

    Profile photo of yackyack
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    @yack
    Join Date: 2003
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    I dont know anything about off the plan – but for inspections I have used Archicentre.

    http://www.archicentre.com.au

    Give them a try. They may steer you in the correct direction.

    Good luck.

    Profile photo of Michael RMichael R
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    @michael-r
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    “the flat is a Central Equity one”

    – CE apartments typically define “over-supply”.

    In saying this, the investment may meet your objectives, but make sure you conduct detailed due diligence on the locality, similar current and proposed development in close proximity, market/rental trends and sales activity, valuations, CE apartment turnover – if the turnover is high to moderate, there is a reason.

    What is the forecast capital growth during your holding/investment period? If you cannot answer this then find out. CE prodominently sells on projected income. If clear capital growth is not evident, then this type of property may not be your best option [supply v. demand].

    If possible contact people who have recently purchased a CE apartment, i.e. 1-2 years. And/or those selling their apartment. Do not ask CE for contact information, source it yourself.

    And most importantly, have a lawyer experienced in OTP sales go through the purchase agreement with a fine tooth comb. A detailed inspection of the apartment is secondary to the terms and conditions of this contract.

    — Michael

    Profile photo of Michael RMichael R
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    @michael-r
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    “if there were faults – is the vendor obliged to fix these before completion?”

    – This provision should be included in the terms of agreement.

    The developer is generally responsible for “faults” resulting from inadequate workmanship, materials, etc, for a defined period, i.e. 12 months after date of settlement.

    — Michael

    Profile photo of jhighlo2001jhighlo2001
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    @jhighlo2001
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 12

    .. thanks for the advice Michael. I know the CE flat that I have exchanged on is a complete con (see all my other posts … misdescribed to the hilt).

    I’m interested in something you mentioned – i.e a lawyer that specialises in OTP – do you know of any? As I have said in other posts, I did not have a laywer look at the contract pre exchange (as I was pressurised at a CE seminar to sign then and there) – but the lawyer that I’m using for completion (recommeded by CE) does not seem interested that the flat is much smaller than described — or even looking at the contract!

    Do you have any advise on how to contact any purchers of CE appartments?

    Thanks

    Profile photo of Michael RMichael R
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    @michael-r
    Join Date: 2003
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    First rule when buying OTP is to never go with the sellers recommendations, i.e. lawyers, references, etc.

    In terms of legal advice, I am located in the United States, and although my company has legal representation in Australia, they are more geared for representing corporations.

    What I suggest is contacting one of the more established firms in Melbourne which specialize in real estate transactions, or have a dedicated property law division, and ask questions.

    The established firms rates may be slightly higher than a smaller less reputable firm, but they typically have the resources to expedite the job more promptly – and having a reputable law firm behind you is worth the extra few dollars.

    Needless to say they may take further action if the seller has acted outside their legal obligations, which can only work in your favor.

    Request a quote for services before committing to any legal firm. Generally there is an initial interview at no cost which enables the firm to evaluate if they should take on the client.

    A firm that comes to mind in Melbourne is Rigby Cooke [www.rigbycooke.com.au]. I have never had any association with this firm nor do I know their background to any extent. But they do specialize in property, and could be a good starting point – but conduct due diligence.

    As for tracking down buyers of CE apartments, the easiest option may be contacting owners who have put their apartment back on the market.

    Your post is a lesson for anyone considering OTP property – especially those marketed and sold at sales presentations.

    If you were put under pressure at a sales pitch, then there may be legal grounds for cancelling the contract.

    Best of luck.

    — Michael

    Profile photo of kay henrykay henry
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    @kay-henry
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    Post Count: 2,737

    Jhighlo,

    Never sign a contract without it being checked by your solicitor first. Changes should be made to the contract BEFORE you sign. I realise the difficulties of being overseas and undertaking transactions… but if you now continue with one of the company’s solicitors, you will be writing a thousand more posts on here expressing dissatisfaction- so time to get your own independent lawyer.

    I doubt a lawyer will go and measure things up for you- not really in their job description… but yack has a good idea in using the people from archicentre. If you really want to exit this contract, it’s probably the only way- if it measures out wrongly, and a report is written, you can get the company on misleading conduct under the TPA- if not, I think you’re stuck with it.

    Pressure to sign a contract before getting legal advice… well, heaps of people just sign a contract without it having been checked first- and ten rely on the cooling-off period to get the contract addressed. Getting an independent solicitor is really a buyer’s responsibility. Unless you can demonstrate how the company actively prevented you from getting legal advice at some point during the transaction, I am not sure you can get out.

    Perhaps it is just time to buy and hold this one and wait until demand catches up to supply.

    kay henry

    Profile photo of elika7264elika7264
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    @elika7264
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    Hi jhighlo2001,

    at this stage I think the only way you can get out of the contract is to prove that you were misled [angry2]– a trade practices matter.

    Regarding the unit — I know in another thread you noted that you felt the size of the unit was around 20% smaller than orginally advised to you by CE. Two things — (1)check the contract for a schematic showing your unit (specified by square metres). (2) Get an estimator or quantity surveyor to complete a report for you showing the exact dimensions of the unit. If there is a great discrepancy between (1) and (2) then you might have a case to exit the contract.

    I think you need to have the services of a LARGE legal firm behind you, with some clout. I think someone on this forum mentioned Minter Ellison. Although more expensive than a smaller firm, the extra leverage you get from a well known, reputable firm, might just be what you need.

    The other thing — there must be some authorities you can contact to see if they can also apply some leverage. eg. Australian Securities Investment commission — I’m not sure if they can help you — perhaps other members of the forum could advise further in this regard.[blink]

    You obviously want to take this matter further. So why not contact a program such as Today Tonight (Melbourne, channel 7). They might be interested in your story; at the very minimum they might be able to locate other disgruntled CE purchasers and maybe you could take on some sort of class action.

    Hope all goes well.
    Helen

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