Don't assume you can access the property you are purchasing before settlement. Here's a story about what could go wrong...
After inheriting money from her aunt, Claire decided to buy an investment property. She bought the worst house in the best street of her suburb and after the contracts on the property were signed she assumed since she still had the key from the inspection, she would be able to start renovating. Her plan was to renovate the house so she could rent it immediately after settlement. When she were halfway through the renovations, Claire received a call from the real estate agent saying that the vendor had been unable to resolve a caveat dispute with his ex-wife and was exercising his right under a special condition to rescind the contract.
Worried, Claire went to a local solicitor who advised that because there was no clause in the contract allowing her early access or protecting any expenditure she made on the property, all of the money she had spent on the property was wasted.
NB: Some vendors will allow purchasers early access if they sign a licence agreement (and pay a weekly amount equivalent to paying rent). However, early access provisions need to be specifically written in the sales contract or expressly agreed subsequently, so a right to early access cannot be assumed. Talk to your lawyer before you sign.
We do two free contract reviews for each client. Ask the agent for the contract and vendor's statement and email to firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE you sign!