Buying or selling a home?
When buying, selling or leasing, you need a law firm who has the experience to guide
you down the right path. Our guide below answers many frequently asked
questions relating to the legal process of buying or selling a home.
What is Conveyancing and what is the role of the lawyer in the conveyancing process?
Simply, conveyancing is the legal process by which ownership of real estate is transferred from one entity to another.
A lawyer's role is to advise you of your rights and obligations with regard to property transactions and transfers including:
- Buying and selling commercial and industrial property;
- Commercial and retail leases;
- Contracts for the sale or purchase of a business;
- Subdivisions and new titles.
Conveyancing is a complex area of law. In engaging an experienced lawyer we will also be able to assist you with such issues as estate agents, planning and zoning advice, pool fencing and Owners Corporations.
Should I have a Contract of Sale and Section 32 checked before I buy?
Yes. Obtaining legal advice prior to signing anything will assist you to understand what it is you are agreeing to, will assist you to negotiate the terms of the contract and prevent problems after the sale has taken place. The simple rule is: if it is not in writing or has not been signed by the other person, then it cannot be enforced.
We provide pre-purchase advice; a service which has become invaluable to our extensive client base. We will review the sale documentation (including contract of sale and section 32 (vendors) statement) and provide you with a written review prior to purchase.
What is "cooling off" and who can cool off?
Cooling off is a term used to describe the right of a purchaser of real estate to cancel the contract and walk away from the purchase within a specified period of time without having to provide a reason as to why they are doing so.
In Victoria, a purchaser has three clear business days, from the day on which they sign an offer to purchase, to "cool off". However, there are certain exceptions to the right to cool off, as follows:
- The sale is at or within three clear business days before or after a publicly advertised auction;
- The property is used primarily for commercial or industrial purposes;
- The property is greater than 20 hectares and used primarily for farming;
- The vendor and purchaser have previously entered into a contract for the same property in substantially similar terms;
- The purchaser is an estate agent or a corporate body (e.g. a company).
What are the costs of buying and/or selling a property?
It is important that you are aware of the possible costs associated with property transactions so that you can budget for these and prevent any unexpected 'surprises'.
Some expenses that you might expect when buying/selling a property are as follows:
- Fees and charges payable for obtaining any loan (mortgage);
- Loan repayments;
- Sales commission and advertising costs;
- Stamp duty;
- Titles Office Registration fees;
- Search costs;
- Rates and Taxes for the period that you will own the property;
- Conveyancing fees and minor costs; and
- The costs involved in moving.
What is an "off-the-plan" purchase and how does it differ from a standard purchase?
Buying "off-the-plan" means buying land or an apartment that does not yet physically exist other than as a drawing or a proposed plan.
An owner can sell such proposed properties prior to commencing and/or completing construction and prior to subdivision. This is done by entering into contracts with potential buyers on the basis that the owner will attend to the required construction and/or completion works and/or registration of a plan. The owner has a limited time to complete the works and if they fail to do so within the time specified in the contracts, the transaction can be cancelled and any monies paid as a deposit refunded to the purchaser.