“Buyer beware”- as a buyer you need to do your homework.
What is a due diligence?
Its a fancy term for an investigation. Imagine you were buying a car- you would first look at it, then drive it, then ask the salesman/seller a few questions before you take possession of it. The same with a property, there are certain aspects you need to know before you buy it.
Deeds office report / detailed property search: showing the history of ownership, whether there are restrictions on the property (such as servitudes
or third party rights).
Check whether there are enforcement or attachment orders (such as whether the property could be attached by a bank for example for default of a mortgage).
Status of the seller- whether it has capacity to sell and a right to do so. Proof of ownership should suffice.
Various certifications such as: occupation certificate (that the property is in a good condition to occupy), electrical compliance certificate (electricals are safe and in order), gas compliance certificate (gas installations are safe and in order), completion certificate (property is complete and ready for handing over). There may be other requirements depending on the area.
Check the laws and regulations in the area.
Make sure you have approved plans and that there are no unlawful constructions.
Statutory expenses and taxes- make sure that there are no outstanding municipal accounts, taxes, electricity etc.
Check for defects and have the seller sign that they have disclosed any defects to you.