Buying a House
While buying a home is exciting, it’s also one of the most expensive and stressful things you will ever do. That’s why it’s vital to seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law.
Before You Start
The first step in buying a house is sorting out your finances. Make sure you read everything thoroughly, from the pre-contractual statement which outlines fees and charges right through to the mortgage contract itself. It’s important to note that you are allowed to contact a lawyer for advice and are under no obligation to sign a contract on the spot.
Once you have found a property you like, it’s important to order a building inspection report and potentially a pest inspection. These are written reports about the condition of the property and can flag any potential costly problems. You may be able to use this information to reduce the purchase price if you decide to make an offer. If you’re unsure who to trust to do this inspection, contact your lawyer as they can provide guidance on reputable businesses.
Making an Offer
Once you’ve done the necessary checks and you’re happy to proceed, you can make an offer. An agent may ask you to pay an initial deposit, but this is fully refundable if you don’t end up signing the contract. It also doesn’t guarantee the property to you either, as the agent is still allowed to take other offers.
Signing the Contract
If your offer is accepted by the agent and seller, the next step is to take the contract to your lawyer to review. A key part of conveyancing services includes negotiating terms and conditions in your favour and ensuring you’re across your rights and responsibilities before signing the contract.
Upon signing the contract, you will need to pay the 10% deposit, unless your lawyer has negotiated a special condition otherwise. This is held with the real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you don’t have 10% available, your lawyer may be able to negotiate getting a deposit guarantee in lieu of cash.
After the contract has become binding, there are a few steps to the settlement process which your lawyer will take care of. These include:
- Arranging payment of stamp duty
- 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 and check for any outstanding debts with the local council.
- Calculating adjustments for council, water and strata rates
- Making final checks on the title
On settlement day your lawyer will attend a meeting that will include the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer as well as any lenders involved and the funds will be handed over in exchange for the title and the keys.
Selling a House
If you’ve decided to sell your property, the first step is to have a Contract for Sale of Land drawn up. This contract will not only include the legal terms and conditions of sale, it will also specify what items are included and excluded from the sale along with settlement terms.
If you have an interested buyer and the contract has been signed, a deposit will be paid by the purchaser and 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. While you wait for settlement, your lawyer will liaise with your bank to release any mortgage held on the property. At this time you should arrange for a disconnection of electricity and other services.
Buying or selling a property? NSG Law’s experienced and friendly legal team would love to help you. Whether you’re looking at purchasing your dream home or selling to start a new chapter, contact us today to find out how we can support your property journey.