Buying 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 such as Lu Serio who is very experienced in property law and who knows the area.
Before You Start
The first round of decisions you will likely need to make is in regard to finance. Make sure you read everything thoroughly. The Loan Offer document should outline the terms and conditions of the loan, including the amount to be borrowed, the term of the loan, the interest rate (which may be either fixed or variable or a combination of both), fees and charges. If you don’t understand something, ask questions and a clear explanation. 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, it would be wise to arrange a pre-purchase building inspection report and a pest inspection report. These are written reports about the condition of the property and helps you find out any potentially costly problems.
In the case of strata property a strata scheme inspection report should first be obtained. This is a written report obtained following an inspection of the strata records in order to determine the general financial state of the Owners Corporation, current levies, any proposals for a Special Levy, any on-going serious building or other issues and the general harmony within the building.
Not only will the information obtained be of benefit to you in making a decision, you may be able to use that information to negotiate a reduction in the purchase price.
If you’re not sure who to trust to do any of these inspections I can order an inspection on your behalf as I am well aware of which inspectors are worth hiring.
Signing the Contract
By law, a copy of the proposed contract is to be made available to you by the vendor’s agent during the marketing of the property. If you wish, you can provide me with a copy of the contract to read over before you proceed any further.
If you’re happy to proceed, you can make an offer. If your offer is accepted then bring the contract to me (if you have not already done so) so that we can discuss the matter 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 usually need to pay the 10% deposit, unless we have negotiated a lower deposit such as 5%. Normally, the deposit is held with the real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you don’t have a cash deposit available, I can advise in regard to getting a deposit guarantee in lieu of the cash.
The contract becomes binding only after it is signed by you, is exchanged with a copy of the contract signed by the seller and the deposit has been paid. After the contract has become binding, a number of tasks need to be performed, including:
- Arranging payment of stamp duty or First Home concession,
- Liaising with the lender in regard to 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 I will attend a meeting that will include the seller’s lawyer as well as any lenders involved and the funds will be handed over in exchange for the title and the keys.
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your property, one of the first tasks is to have the Contract for Sale of Land drawn up.
The contract will include not only the legal terms and conditions of sale, but will also specify what items 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 a lot of ways that a contract can be varied, so it’s important to discuss your situation in detail with your lawyer/conveyancer.
You also need to know your disclosure responsibilities, as failing to disclose certain things can lead you into a lot of trouble.
Once a purchaser has been found and the contract has been signed and is legally binding, then a deposit is usually paid by the purchaser and is usually held in the trust account of the selling agent.
Settlement (the day that the money is exchanged for the property and keys handed over) is scheduled in accordance with the contract, and is usually 6 weeks after signing contracts. During the wait for settlement your lawyer/conveyancer 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 be authorised to release the deposit to you, less their fees.
Contact us to discuss the sale of your specific property with an experienced property lawyer in Five Dock.