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The new due diligence: climate change on the agenda for home buyers

While due diligence has always been of upmost importance for those looking to purchase a new home, once upon a time that simply referred to things like building and pest inspections, utility access and land boundary checks.

These days though, as awareness of climate change and its potential impact increases, home buyers need to think more broadly when it comes to doing their property homework.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said while ensuring your home is built to withstand the harsh Australian climate has always been important, in today’s world, weather and environmental conditions are being more carefully considered.

“With the government estimating increases in temperature, drought periods and bushfires, along with rising sea levels over the next few decades, home owners need to research whether or not these risk-factors are relevant to the area in which they’re looking to buy,” Ms Mercorella said.

She suggests researching the history of the area in terms of natural disasters and weather events, and how those impacted homes.

“Has there been any major flooding, fire or severe storms in the surrounding areas? What damage resulted from those events? It’s also a good idea to see if there are any restrictions or exclusions on insurance, or higher-than-usual premiums,” Ms Mercorella advised.

“You can also contact the local council to see if they have any information relating to flooding, climate change or other weather conditions that might impact the property, now or in the future.”

With some councils planning to proactively warn residents about potential climate change risks to their properties, Ms Mercorella said those considering selling their home also need to do their research.

“Vendors need to be aware that buyers will have questions with regards to the possible impact of climate change,” she said.

“They may even cite global warming or other weather risks as reason to reduce the sale price of your property.”

Ms Mercorella said when it comes to due diligence relating to climate change and weather, it was important to be alert not alarmed.

“Make sure you receive your information from credible sources. Don’t make decisions based on rumours or hearsay,” she advised.

“But as always, due diligence is crucial when making what will most likely be the biggest purchase of your life.”

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