Spring into action to avoid legal limbo homebuyers urged

Magpies are not the only ones swooping on innocent victims during Spring – burglars are also on the look-out for opportunities.

Homebuyers sealing the deal during the busy Spring real estate season have been urged to insure their new property as soon as they have a financial interest in it, rather than waiting until settlement.

RACV Home Services General Manager Aaron Flavell explained that even though the seller’s insurance may cover the property up to the date of settlement, lenders recommend that buyers take out building insurance effective from the date the seller signs the contract.

“This is to safeguard the lender’s interest in the property, as well as your own,” he said.

Mr Flavell also recommended installing a monitored alarm as soon as possible after settlement.

“In the September quarter, Melbourne’s median house price hit $740,000. When spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home, it’s worth investing a little more in a monitored alarm to ensure you and your contents are safe,” he said.

“Victoria Police and RACV recommend a number of basic preventive steps to reduce the risk of damage or theft, including upgrading window locks and deadlocks to Australian standards.

“Make sure you put curtains up in your windows before placing the TV in full view of passersby, and don’t leave boxes from expensive new appliances on the nature strip as they can alert thieves to valuable additions in your home.”

Mr Flavell also recommended new home owners undertake essential maintenance tasks as soon as they get access to their home, to prevent common home emergencies.

“Cleaning and repairing gutters and drains, checking for winter damp and mould and closing gaps in walls and eaves to prevent vermin entering or birds from nesting, should all be on the checklist,” he said.

In the September quarter, RACV Emergency Home Assist attended more than 11,000 calls for emergency home assistance from RACV members across metropolitan and regional Victoria.

“First homebuyers in particular may not know what to do in a home emergency such as a blocked toilet, burst pipe and damaged heater and hot water services,” Mr Flavell said.

 “For one low annual fee, RACV Emergency Home Assist is ready to respond to common electrical, gas, plumbing and lockout emergencies 24/7,” he said.


RACV’s top tips for new homebuyers


  • Organise home insurance to avoid being caught in legal limbo in case of damage or theft.
  • Get quotes for monitored alarm systems – make sure you understand what is included.
  • Book a date for installation of a monitored alarm system as soon as possible after your settlement.
  • Make sure you do a pre-settlement property inspection in the week before settlement to make sure the property is in the same condition as when it was sold.



  • Have a monitored alarm installed as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your curtains go up in your windows before placing the TV in full view of passersby.
  • Check the safety of windows, doors and locks – consider upgrading to keyed window locks and deadlocks to Australian standards.
  • Consider adding sensor lights and security screens, as deterrents to thieves.
  • Clean and flush blocked drains if possible, or seek advice from a plumber
  • Repair loose or leaky gutters and down pipes.
  • Clear gutters to ensure water flows freely.
  • Check roofs for loose tiles, loose nails and flashing. Consider hiring a professional with trade insurance to carry out risky work at heights.
  • Secure loose objects susceptible to being blown over by high winds.
  • Clean windows and check for any signs of rot or damage.
  • Check for mould and damp issues in and close to the house.
  • Close off any roof gaps / entrance points for vermin and birds.
  • Make sure your electrical circuits and equipment are not overloaded by having them professionally inspected.
  • Change the batteries in smoke detectors and ensure they are all functioning correctly.
  • Trim vegetation to make sure burglars can’t hide between overgrown bushes.
  • If you purchase expensive electrical appliances, cut the boxes into pieces before recycling because boxes left on the nature strip can let burglars know what is new in your home.

Sources: RACV, Consumer Affairs Victoria

RACV Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying. For a copy call 13 RACV (13 7228).

RACV Security Pty Ltd ABN 49 079 148 342 trading as RACV Home Security. Security Licence (Vic.) 733-411-10S and Security Registration (Vic.) 733-411-31S.

RACV Emergency Home Assist is a fast response service for a range of common plumbing, electrical and lockout emergencies. Subscribers can have access to qualified and reliable tradespeople 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for one low annual fee that includes up to 8 emergency call outs a year. Full Terms and Conditions at: http://www.racv.com.au/eha


Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs, 9790 2717
November 11, 2016