When you’re entering into a contract to sell residential property, be aware that you do NOT have a cooling-off period – only the purchaser has the “5 business days” cooling off period (unless the purchaser waives his/her cooling off period).
If you’re proposing to sell, contact your property lawyer no later than 7 days before you wish your real estate agent to begin marketing your property. By doing so, your property lawyer will have sufficient time to obtain the important “Vendor Disclosure” documents from the various Government authorities, and to properly draft the Marketing Contract.
When selling, be aware that the following people may attend your property [either before or after the exchange of contracts] on behalf of the purchaser: the purchaser’s valuer, building and pest inspectors, the purchaser’s surveyor, and a council building inspector.
When looking for a property to buy, ensure you have pre-approval of finance to give yourself the best chance of securing the property you want to buy (when you find it), and also to know your price budget.
When buying, do you have a 10% deposit (which is the amount normally payable on exchange of contracts)? If not, find out if the vendor will accept a 5% deposit or, alternatively, a Deposit Bond for either a 5% or 10% deposit.
When you’ve found the property you want to buy, contact your property lawyer (and your lender or loan broker) as soon as possible – so they can get things underway quickly.
When buying, be wary of relying upon a pest report and/or a building report offered to you by the vendor or the vendor’s agent – you may be better off paying for your own independent pest and/or building reports, as your pest inspector and/or building inspector will be examining the property with your best interests in mind.
When buying, consider the benefits to you of your property lawyer obtaining a Surveyor’s Report of the property (to ensure there are no encroachments and to ensure the position of all improvements on the property comply with council requirements as far as distances to boundaries are concerned).
If you’re proposing to buy at auction, always get legal advice on the contract at least one week prior to the auction.
If you buy residential property at auction, or on the same day as the property is passed in at auction, you do not have any cooling off period.
When buying off-the-plan, make sure there is adequate detail in the Schedule of Inclusions (for example, brand and model number of appliances, brand/model number/capacity of hot water heater, etc), and ensure the “sunset date” (and any “sunset date” extension provision) is acceptable to your required timeframe for settlement/finalisation of your purchase.
When buying off-the-plan, make sure there is a quantifiable limit to the amount the size of the Lot can be changed by the Vendor between the date of Contract and the date of registration of the Plan – your property lawyer will advise you about this.
When buying, remember that you can only rely on the terms of the contract, and not on anything the vendor or the vendor’s agent has promised you, or stated or represented to you, in the lead up to the signing and exchanging of contracts.
When buying, always do a final inspection of the property on the morning of settlement, to ensure that the vendor is out of the property (unless you’re buying “subject to an existing tenancy”) and to ensure the property has not been damaged (or any “inclusions” removed from the property) between the date of exchange of contracts and the date of settlement.
Whether you are buying or selling, always choose an experienced property lawyer (with a proven track record) to look after your legal interests – as buying and selling is a minefield that requires a good property lawyer’s advice and expertise to carefully guide you through.