Buying property may be for your first home or an addition to your property portfolio. Before signing a contract, it is vital that you seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law.
Before You Start
The first round of decisions you will need to make regards finance. Make sure you read everything thoroughly, from the pre-contractual statement which outlines the fees and charges, to the actual mortgage contract. Remember you are entitled to legal advice and are under no obligation to sign anything on the spot.
Once you have found a property you like, you will need to read the Vendor’s Statement and consider arranging pre-purchase inspections for the building . Insprections provide written reports about the condition of the property and inform you of any potentially costly problems. You may be able to use this information to negotiate a reduction in the purchase price. We can help you with referrals.
Making an Offer
If you are happy to proceed, you can make an offer. You might be asked to pay a small sum as an initial deposit, but provided you have not signed a contract, this initial deposit should be fully refundable if you decide not to proceed. However, the agent may continue to take other offers.
Signing the Contract
We suggest you do not sign the contract until you have had a chance to discuss it with a solicitor. If your offer is accepted then make an appointment and bring the contract along to our office to discuss your situation. There may be several things that can be negotiated in your favour, and you need to be absolutely clear on your rights and responsibilities before signing. When you do sign the contract you will need to pay the 10% deposit, unless your lawyer/conveyancer has negotiated a special condition otherwise. This deposit is held with the real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you do not have 10% available we can advise about a deposit guarantee in lieu of the cash.
After the contract has become binding, we have a number of tasks to perform including:
- Arranging payment of stamp duty
- Liaising with the lender regarding the mortgage
- Checking with various government authorities to see if they have a vested interest in the property
- Checking to see if there are any outstanding debts to local council
- Calculating adjustments for council, water and strata rates
- Making final checks on the title
On settlement day we will attend a meeting that will include the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer as well as any lenders involved. Your purchase funds will be handed over in exchange for the title and the keys. Contact us to discuss the specific property you are considering buying.
Once you have made the decision to sell your property, one of the first tasks is to prepare the Vendor’s Statement and to prepare the Contract for Sale of Land. You need to know your disclosure responsibilities, as failing to disclose certain things can lead you into trouble. The contract will include the legal terms and conditions of sale, and will specify the items which are included or excluded from the sale, and any other special requirements you might have like a longer or shorter settlement than usual, or perhaps that the contract be conditional upon another contract for you to buy your next property. There are many ways that a contract can be varied, so it is important to discuss your situation in detail with us. Once a purchaser has been found and the contract has been signed and is legally binding, the purchaser pays a deposit which is usually held in the estate agent’s trust account. Settlement is the day that the money is exchanged for the property and keys handed over. Settlement is scheduled in accordance with the contract, and is usually 6 weeks after signing contracts. During the wait for settlement we will liaise with your bank in relation to releasing any mortgage held on the property. In this time you should arrange disconnection of electricity and other services. Before settlement the purchase price will be adjusted to reflect the council rates, water rates and strata fees that need to be shared between the parties. There may be other adjustments, based on the Contract for Sale. Once settlement takes place, the real estate agent will be authorised to release the deposit to you, less their fees. Contact us to discuss the sale of your specific property.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the area of property law that deals with the transfer of land between sellers and buyers. Although buying and selling land seems quite straightforward, property law can be complex. Conveyancing legal advice helps you to consider issues such as contract terms and conditions, mortgages, covenants, easements, caveats, the type of property title, the type of tenancy, local council regulations and zoning.
What are the steps in the conveyancing process?
Generally the process begins with the drawing up of a Contract for Sale. The Contract will include the street address, title details, the length of time between signing and completion of the contract and what is included or excluded from the sale. Before the contract is signed, the purchaser needs to get legal advice, review the contract, arrange inspections and make arrangements for finance. After the contract is signed by both parties, it is ‘exchanged’ which means that the agreement is binding. You may however, have a cooling off period available, or be able to withdraw from the contract under certain conditions, so it is important that you know the exact terms and conditions of the contract. There is a set length of time between the contract becoming binding and the contract being settled or completed. During this period the purchaser of the property has a lot to do including conducting various checks on the property, paying stamp duty, organising insurance and getting any loan arrangements in order. The seller of the property should be making arrangements with their bank to have any mortgage discharged as well as making plans to move. Before settlement, adjustments to the purchase price are agreed upon between the parties to cover council and water rates as well as other costs which may be allowed for in the contract. On the day of settlement everything has to be in place. The purchaser or the incoming mortgagee provides the purchase price, and the seller or outgoing mortgagee provides the property title and the documents needed to release the mortgage. Everything is handed over including the keys and the property is considered ‘settled’. After settlement the new owner is registered as the owner on the title, and various government bodies are informed of the change in ownership. Buying property is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make and it is important to get expert advice.