Buying your property

Buying property, whether it be your new home, premises for a business, or an investment, can be an exciting experience. It is also likely to be one of the biggest transactions any of us are involved in within our lifetime. Having the right legal advice at your fingertips can make all the difference in relieving some of the stress and pressure involved.

Contract review

So, you’ve found the perfect property? Before you jump in and sign and exchange contracts, it’s important to know exactly what it is you are signing up for.

In a competitive market, getting pressure from a vendor or agent might make it tempting to exchange without pre-contractual investigations or a contract review, but doing so may leave you with expenses you hadn’t bargained for. Our experienced conveyancers know what to look for when reviewing a contract. From special conditions to be wary of, to explaining the effects of an easement and providing guidance on what a planning certificate actually means, we have your back.

We will carry out due diligence and recommend certain searches and enquiries to ensure you know exactly what you are buying. We will also ask about formal finance approval so you can move forward confidently when you are ready to commit.

Negotiations and exchange

Pre-purchase pest and building reports should provide details on the condition of the property you propose buying. They can flag structural issues or pest problems that may not be apparent to the untrained eye, and critical to your decision to move forward with the purchase. They may also shed light on other issues that may not deter you from proceeding, however may be grounds for negotiating a price reduction.

While pre-contractual reports may not raise any issues, you still may not be 100% happy with the contract terms. In such cases, our experienced conveyancers may be able to negotiate on your behalf – whether you need shortened or extended settlement dates, pre-settlement works, or some form of special condition, we can assist with pre-exchange negotiations.

Exchange of contracts and cooling-off rights

Exchange of contracts is a critical part of the conveyancing process in New South Wales. Duplicate contracts are signed respectively by the vendor and purchaser and their legal representatives check, date, and swap contracts so each hold a copy signed by the other party. At this stage, the deposit is payable which is usually 10% of the purchase price. The deposit is usually paid to the vendor’s agent in trust. Sometimes it is possible to negotiate a lesser deposit or payment of the deposit using a deposit bond. We can discuss this with you.

Purchasers of most residential property in New South Wales have statutory cooling-off rights which enable them to withdraw from the sale within five business days after exchange of contracts. In such cases, written notice must be provided to the vendor or vendor’s legal representative. If you exercise your cooling-off rights, you will forfeit .25% of the purchase price to the vendor. The cooling-off period may be shortened, extended, or waived by negotiation. In a competitive property market, vendors will often require that the purchasers waive their cooling-off rights.

Once contracts are exchanged, and any cooling-off period expires (as relevant), the parties are legally bound to the contract and the property is no longer on the market.

Post exchange searches

Once you have exchanged contracts, it is usual practice to undertake further searches to ensure that the vendor has disclosed all the relevant information regarding the property. Our experienced conveyancers will recommend which searches to obtain, what the information means and whether these searches raise any issues.

Electronic conveyancing

If you are new to getting on the property ladder, you may not be aware that in New South Wales it is now mandated that property transactions take place electronically. Electronic conveyancing is a game-changer, streamlining the process and connecting all the stakeholders, as well as the Land Titles office for fast registration of the title documents.

Incoming mortgagees

If you are buying your first property, and even if you are not, chances are that you may be financing the purchase with a loan and mortgage. We can assist you by dealing with your lender and providing relevant details to ensure that they are also ready for settlement, so your purchase goes smoothly.

First home buyers

If you are purchasing your first home, you may be eligible for a stamp duty concession or some other form of government grant, depending on the property and your circumstances. Speak to one of our conveyancers to understand what you may be eligible for and for guidance on the application process.

Property ownership interests and rights

The way in which legal interests are held between property co-owners is an important consideration when you are buying. Property held as joint tenants is held as a whole – the interests cannot be apportioned into separate shares and the joint tenancy is subject to survivorship provisions. When one co-owner dies, his or her share automatically passes to the remaining owner/s. The share cannot be left to anybody else, even if the Will of a deceased owner states otherwise.

When holding property as tenants in common the owners can specify the individual shares held by each, which need not be equal. That owner’s share may be transferred, sold, or left to a beneficiary in a Will. While joint tenancies are common between spouses or domestic partners, this may not always be the best answer for your individual circumstances. Understanding these principles can be helpful when it comes to estate planning and other matters.

Conveyancing and property law is our business. We specialise in all types of property transactions including residential, rural, and commercial sales, purchases, and transfers throughout New South Wales. We are insightful and focused, offering quality flexible services to all clients, from first home buyers to seasoned investors.

If you need assistance, contact us at [email protected] or call (02) 4268 6795 for expert conveyancing advice.