No matter if you are buying, selling, leasing or building, the Conveyancing team at Baldock Stacy & Niven can guide and help you every step of the way. Property deals can be complex and the sale or purchase of a family home can be very daunting as it is often the largest transaction you will ever make.
The Conveyancing team at Baldock Stacy & Niven Orange has decades of experience and local knowledge and know how to navigate through all types of property transactions.
The team have put together a number of information sheets to help explain the numerous steps and terms used when buying or selling a residential property.
Today’s post sees Part 1 of Buying Your Home explained.
Buying a Property
The contract is prepared by the seller’s solicitor. Normally, contracts are made binding by the seller signing the original and the buyer – you – signing an exact copy of it, and those contracts being dated, exchanged and the deposit paid. Each party then holds a contract signed by the other party.
The “Small” Print
The form of contract is a multi-purpose one. It can be used with only small changes for the sale of vacant land as well as for the sale of a very expensive house or factory. Many of the clauses are there to protect both the buyer and the seller if something unexpected occurs. Very often they operate to prevent trouble. The basic printed clauses are
accepted as keeping a reasonable balance between the interests of both seller and buyer. It is most important that you have a solicitor review the sale contract early to ensure your interests are protected.
Vendor disclosure regulations require the seller of any land to disclose certain matters in the contract and to make certain warranties or promises such as proposals by government or other that may affect the property.
The regulations require the seller to attach the following documents to the contract:
- zoning certificate under s149(2) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979;
- drainage diagram showing where the main sewer lines are in relation to the land
- a copy of the Title Deed where the land is under the Real Property Act;
- an official plan of the land
- a copy of all documents creating easements over the land (right of way etc.) and covenants
- if it is a sale of a Strata Title unit, a copy of the Strata plan showing all the lots, a copy of the Title Deed for the strata lot being sold, and a copy of the Title Deed for the common property.
- If the building was built within the last 7 years, or is being sold by an owner builder, or if building work has been carried out on the property in the last 7 years costing over $12,000, a certificate of Insurance under the Home Building Act
If the seller does not provide these then the buyer has 14 days in which to withdraw from the contract.
All fixtures are included in the sale without having to be mentioned specifically. In law a fixture is something attached to the land or building that cannot be either simply lifted up and taken away, or unscrewed and taken away without doing any damage. Most electric stoves are wired in so they are fixtures, but most refrigerators are plugged in, so they are not. If there is any doubt about any fixture items, the safest course is to refer to the contract
It is usually a good idea to have your finance pre-approved before you locate or make an offer on a property. Some buyers decide on the house before seeking approval for a loan to buy it. If they make an offer and it is accepted they will then have only the 5 day cooling off period to finalise their finances. Sometimes the cooling off period can be extended, but that is not always the case.
The loan provider may require some documents and certificates be provided to them prior to approving finance — Baldock Stacy & Niven Conveyancing can help with any documentation required.
BS&N can also review your mortgage documents and explain in plain english how the terms and conditions affect you.
Building Reports, Pest Inspections & Surveys
Reports and inspections should be carried out before you enter into any contract. It is important that you know as much as possible about any defects or problems that may exist with the property.
You should personally check the property you are interested in buying. Check exterior and interior walls for cracks and damage, doors, windows, floors, taps, plumbing, electrical, hot water system, roof and gutters to get a general idea of the condition of the property.
It is wise to get a Building Inspection Report completed by a qualified person like a builder or surveyor. As well as gaining advice about any problems and how they affect and will affect the property you receive a written report about the property’s condition. If problems are found you may be able to negotiate a lower price as you will have to fix the problems if you proceed with the purchase. A Pest Inspection Report is another report that will give you information about the property condition as regards pests like termites and other infestations.
It is also wise to obtain an Identification Survey Report when buying a house. It normally costs under $1,000 for a simple residence and shows where the house is in relation to the boundaries of the land, and whether there are any structures that encroach onto the land. It is different from a survey of land for a subdivision which shows only the boundaries and area. Most lenders require an Identification Survey Report. Often the property seller already has one and supplies it to you. (Most sellers will attach a copy of the Building Certificate to the contract together with a copy of the Identification Survey Report on which the certificate is based).
BS&N can arrange all or any of your pre-purchase inspection reports for you.
BS&N Conveyancing make a number of other appropriate enquiries on your behalf to ensure that any proposals that may affect the property are identified. We also check with councils and authorities to ensure there are no outstanding fees or rates payable.
Our local knowledge is extremely useful in deciding which authorities to contact & what enquiries to make.
Typically we enquire about:
- Roads and Traffic Authority: for any plan to resume land
- Land Tax: If any Land Tax is owing, we ensure it is paid before settlement or at least arrangements made to pay it after settlement.
- Drainage Diagram: shows where the sewer and the house connections are laid and important for any future house extensions or additions like a swimming pool.
Where appropriate we will also make other enquiries about matters affecting the property from:
Department of School Education Local Electricity Authority
National Parks and Wildlife Department of Fair Trading
Energy Authority of NSW Pipeline Authority
Department of Housing Forestry Commission
Rural Lands Protection Board Department of Mineral Resources
Heritage Council of NSW Soil Conservation Service
Department of Transport (Aviation) Lands Department
State Rail Authority Department of Water Resources
Maritime Services Board State Pollution Control Commission
Environment Protection Authority Mine Subsidence Board
We can also submit other questions on your behalf to the seller’s solicitor such as disputes with neighbours about fences, trees or any other disputes. The answers often reveal something that is of value to you to know and would not have been discovered by inspection of the property or contract alone.
Our local knowledge and careful, detailed preparation ensures you are fully informed about your property.
Baldock Stacy & Niven Conveyancing
Conveyancing and property transactions still carry some risk and there are many conveyancing services available for you to choose from. With Baldock Stacy & Niven Conveyancing you will have expert, cost-effective conveyancing support backed up by a complete legal team that can deal with virtually any eventually.
We work with you every step of the way, from document preparation and lodgement to representing you in negotiations right through to settlement.
We do not take shortcuts or cut corners. We carefully prepare, review and handle all related documentation and scrutinize all details to ensure that your interests are completely protected.
We pride ourselves on our high level of client service. From the very beginning of negotiations to the final settlement we keep you informed every step of the way in easy-to-understand language. We react quickly to your queries and requests and will provide you with advice you can rely on — every aspect of the sale will be looked after efficiently and cost effectively.
BS&N Conveyancing – Reliable, personalized and cost-effective.
The material in this information page is a general guide only and is not a replacement for legal or other advice. No person should act or not act solely on the basis of this information sheet. It is not legal advice and your possession of this information sheet does not create a client/lawyer relationship. If you would like to discuss your particular circumstances please contact Baldock Stacy & Niven.