These days purchasers are often asked to pay a deposit (usually 0.25% of the price) and to sign the contract at the agents’ office before they can see their solicitor. This is normally not a problem as long as the purchaser follows these rules:
1. Before you sign the contract, read it to see the following:
a. How long is the cooling-off time period? It must be at least five working days (though ten working days is better). The agent should be able to show you the part in the contract that sets this out in plain English.
b. Look at the front page of the contract for the following:
i. Ensure that your names are absolutely identical with the way your names are set out in your finance application.
ii. Check the list of Inclusions on the front page to see that everything which is to stay in the property such as the air conditioner, the curtains, etc are referred to, or that the relevant boxes are ticked/marked.
iii. Check the description of the price and timing for payment of the deposit.
iv. Check that the correct choice between ‘vacant possession’ or ‘subject to existing tenancy’ has been selected, by ticking a box.
v. Also ensure that any special promises made to you to induce you to buy the property are repeated in writing in the contract (for example, if a specific completion date has been agreed to, or if there is partially finished work that will be finished).
2. You also need to make sure you do not agree to a price you cannot afford, so ask yourself whether you have enough to pay all the ‘extras’ like stamp duty and bank loan application fees.
3. In NSW a real estate contract is not legally binding unless it is in writing, signed by both seller and purchaser and the buyer has paid a deposit. Until all those things are done anyone can just walk away and the deposit is refundable.
We are happy to sit down with you and go through these things before you start looking for a property and answer any questions you have. There is no extra charge for this.
Bruce also has extensive experience in property matters, having acted during his career for many individuals purchasing or selling a house, applying to Council for various approvals, assisting clients who are the subject of a compulsory acquisition, or acting for lessors or lessees in relation to entering into leases or enforcing their rights. In addition to working for individual clients in private practice as a solicitor for all that time, he was a legal advisor to three local councils for many years, and has lectured in real estate law at university. He understands more than just your basic conveyance, and is well equipped to assist you with all aspects of your property transactions.
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