Buying or selling a home is one of the most stressful and expensive things you will ever do. It’s vital that you seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law and who knows the area.
We can help with all stages of property transactions whether you are buying or selling a home, unit, vacant block, strata title, commercial real estate or rural property, and including:-
- Drafting, reviewing, executing and performing contracts including auction conditions
- Liability for Duty
- Commercial property transactions including leasing
- Dispute resolution and litigation
- Liaison with financial institutions in regard to deposit bonds, loans, mortgages and discharges of mortgages
Before You Start
The first round of decisions you will likely need to make is in regard to finance. Make sure you read the finance documents thoroughly, from the pre-contractual statement which outlines the fees and charges to which you’ll be subject to the loan contract itself. Remember you are entitled to seek legal advice and are under no obligation to sign anything on the spot. Don’t be pressured into signing something you don’t understand or agree with.
Once you have found a property you like, you may want to arrange a pre-purchase building inspection and perhaps a pest inspection or you may insert a condition the contract enabling you to get a building or pest report and if it discloses serious defects, you can terminate or renegotiate the contract. Usually you can terminate the contract if the cost of rectifying a defect will exceed 1% of the purchase price. If you’re not sure who to get to do an inspection, talk to us. We can refer you to inspectors.
Making an Offer
If you’re happy to proceed, you can make an offer. If you need finance, to sell a property or get a building report, you should insert conditions requiring these to be fulfilled within a specified time. For finance, you should specify a finance period of at least 21 days as your bank will need to prepare your loan documents and value the property. You will be asked to pay a deposit of up to 10% of the purchase price. This is refundable if the contract is terminated at no fault of your own or, for example, if you can’t get finance. The offer is not binding on the vendor unless he or she signs the contract.
Signing the Contract
If your offer is accepted, you will get a fully executed contract. You need to give this to us to get the ball rolling. 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 specified deposit unless you have negotiated a time within which you need to pay or if there is no deposit. This is held bythe real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you don’t have sufficient funds to pay a deposit, we can advise in regard to getting a deposit guarantee or bond in lieu of cash.
After the contract has become binding, or unconditional, we have a number of tasks to perform including:
- Searching the title to check for mortgages, caveats, easements and covenants affecting the property
- Preparation of the Transfer and Notice of Sale
- Administering requisitions on title, which are questions we ask the seller to find out if a good marketable title can be given on settlement
- Liaising with the lender in regard to the mortgage and settlement
- Checking with various government authorities, including council and water authority, to see if they have any interest in the property or plans concerning the land and streets around the property and, most importantly, records of any illegal developments or defaults by the seller
- Checking to see if there are any outstanding debts to local council or State Revenue Office and to find out how much the rates are and if land tax is payable
- Calculating adjustments for council, land tax and rental if tenanted
- Making final checks on the title
On settlement day we will meet the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer as well as any lenders involved and the funds will be handed over in exchange for the title documents, mortgage discharge if any and the keys or an authority to release the keys to you..
Contact us to discuss the specific property you are considering buying.
If you’re selling, you will usually need to engage a property agent who will want you to appoint him/her as your exclusive agent, usually for 90 days. You need to ensure you negotiate a favourable commission and marketing costs. These can be expensive and agents often reduce their rates and/or absorb the marketing costs.
It is your agent’s job to get you the best price for your property. Be careful when accepting offers and signing contracts to ensure you are protected. For example, if you sell to someone who needs to sell his/her house, you need what we call a 48 hour clause which puts the buyer on notice if you get another, better, offer.
Once we get the signed contract, we will handle the sale, deal with the buyer’s lawyer/conveyancer, liaise with your lender if you have a mortgage to be discharged and assist you to answer requisitions, apportion rates, taxes, insurance, body corporate fees and rental income, sign the transfer and arrange settlement.