Buying property is very fortuitous. That seems a bit odd for a lawyer to say, especially without any over the top, incomprehensible legal terminology or caveats thrown in the mix. But it’s true. The right property will come along (eventually) and it’s something you shouldn’t lose any sleep over, despite the roller coaster of emotions that usually follow once you’ve submitted an offer. Stress, anxiety, regret and fear of either losing the property or paying too much are all common emotions – and that was all pre-Covid (or “pre-c” as a younger and much cooler millennial described it to me). Now, in the current market, the emotional roller-coaster is super-sized. Properties are in such high demand that it seems like you need to travel through a pit of fire breathing dragons, defeat Voldemort, help Neo understand the Matrix, and uncover the meaning of life – all before you hear the magical words from the selling agent that “your offer has been accepted”.
So, you’ve waited patiently and finally targeted the property of your dreams. You’re sure this is the one. You feel on top of the world. The music from “Rocky” is playing in the background and your adrenalin and confidence has peaked to such Tom Cruise levels that you start to refer to yourself as “Maverick”, and picture yourself flying death defying stunts in an F-18 Super Hornet. You convince yourself that a leather jacket has never looked better than slung over your shoulders.
You come crashing back to earth when you realise you have absolutely no idea what happens next. It’s at this time that a trusted lawyer comes into play.
The benefits of having an experienced and qualified lawyer by your side from the start (ideally before you sign a contract) are invaluable.
Your lawyer will:
- review the Contract before you sign it (to make sure there’s no tricky or unusual clauses and all is in order)
- confirm the contract has been executed correctly and is binding on the parties
- run you through, and be involved in, the whole conveyancing process
- liaise with your bank/broker, the Seller’s lawyer and the agent
- conduct property searches and advise you of your rights if there’s any adverse search results
- deal with any other legal issues that arise – including satisfying the finance or building and pest conditions
- effect settlement on your behalf either electronically or via the old fashioned paper method.
If you have a legitimate concern about the property before you enter into the contract, then one option would be to seek to include a “Due Diligence” condition in the Contract before you sign. This would allow you and your lawyer to undertake further investigations or searches into the property, and be satisfied as to those investigations and search results within a certain period of time (usually 14 days from the Contract Date). The Due Diligence clause would allow you to terminate the Contract and receive any deposit monies back in full if you’re not satisfied. The risk in this approach however is that the Seller, especially in this market, may not agree to such a clause and you may lose the property to a more attractive offer from another buyer. So bear that in mind if proceeding with this approach.
From a Seller’s point of view, the key message is to get your house in order before you sell. Make sure you have all necessary approvals/ certificates in place, including a valid pool safety certificate, and final inspection certificates for any other renovation or building work (if applicable), so you can provide this to the Buyer if requested. Make sure you consider styling the property (speak to your selling agent) and ensure that any repair work is done before inspections occur. Once the contract is signed, you will need to obtain an ATO clearance certificate (if the property is valued over $750,000) and give your bank plenty of notice of the sale (they usually need at least 10 business days from receiving a signed discharge authority from you in order to be ready to settle and discharge the mortgage from the title). Get in touch with your lawyer early on so any issues or concerns can be dealt with at the outset.
It’s not clear how long the booming property market will continue for. What is clear, however, is that emotions will always play a big part in the buying and selling process. Being prepared is half the battle. Having a trusted and qualified lawyer by your side from the start is key to ensuring not only that the conveyancing process is a smooth one, but also that any legal issues or disputes can be dealt with and your rights protected.
If you need a lawyer to assist, give Nicholsons a call to discuss. You’ll always get up front, experienced and practical advice. We’ll be there every step of the way. In fact, one might say we will always be the Goose to your Maverick.
For more information visit our Conveyancing page, or contact Matthew Russell on (07) 3226 3953 or email@example.com.
Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn.
Photo (L to R): Tait Lawsen, Matthew Russell and Danielle Merchant.
When Buying Property. Think Nicholsons.