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Conveyancing for property transactions

Updated: Apr 12


Buying A House In Queensland Checklist:


Questions to Ask


Buying or Selling property in Queensland is a daunting task for most people even if you have not been through the process before.


There are a number of things you must consider before entering into a contract to buy property in Queensland as follows:


Has the contract been reviewed by a solicitor?


The law in Queensland is different from other states and having a professional give you advice before entering into a contract is essential. Some of the terms in the contract can be confusing and potentially detrimental to you if not adhered to within the contractual time limits. Failure to be informed about some of the pitfalls and time constrictions could leave you out of pocket and potentially liable to a claim for damages from the Seller.


Who are the parties?


It is essential that the correct buyer entity details are included in the offer to purchase (contract of sale) such as middle names, additional buyers or the names of trusts etc. Failure to include all of the correct buyer's details could cause the contract to be invalid or require amendment or replacement adding to your costs potentially. Conversely the correct Seller's details must be recorded on the contract to avoid issues with settlement and finance.


Disclosures in the contract?


Has the seller disclosed all of the information required in the contract such as encumbrances or other matters affecting the property. You may have some rights against the Seller for failure to give notice of these items. in relation to body corporate purchases there is a statutory requirement to make certain mandated disclosures at the time of contract.


What are my rights under the cooling off period?


You have a right of termination under the cooling off period under the contract. The cooling off period is 5 working days from the contract date. If you choose to terminate the contract during the cooling off period the Seller may impose a 0.25% penalty of the purchase price penalty to be deducted from the deposit under the terms of the contract. Please contact your solicitor before exercising this right.


When do I pay the deposit?


The contract determines when the deposit must be paid. Please ensure you allow enough time to pay the deposit to avoid being in breach of the contract. Failure to pay the deposit when due could lead to you losing the contract and being sued for the deposit. Please also ensure that the amount of the deposit is negotiable and be prepared to pay the full amount when due.


What 'standard conditions' should I include?


Clauses usually included in the contract are finance and inspections (building and pest). Please ensure you have enough time for your financier to assess your application and perform their valuations on the property within the time provided for in the contract. Contact your broker or lender prior to entering to the contract to ascertain a suitable period required for them to complete your application, With respect to the inspections date you should also consult an inspector to check for availability in order for them to do the inspection, draft the report and for you to read the report.


What rights do I have under the 'standard conditions'?


Most contracts require you to make an application for finance within a reasonable time from the contract date in order to take advantage of the finance clause. You must act reasonably (honestly) and you have a right to terminate the contract is you unable to obtain finance satisfactory to you. If you elect to lawfully terminate the contract under this clause you are entitle to receive the deposit back (without deduction) and the contract is at an end. With respect to your inspections you also have a right of termination of you fin the results of the inspections unsatisfactory. This is your only legal right, however you and the seller may agree to a reduction/adjustment of the purchase price or some agreed repairs in order to satisfy this clause. Be aware that you must have qualified inspector holding the correct licenses to perform the inspections.


Do I need special conditions?


You may consider including some special conditions in the contract such as a due diligence clause for instance. Please contact your solicitor to discuss before entering into the contract.


What insurance do I need?


Risk in most contract passes to the buyer at 5:00 pm the day after the contract is formed, You must protect your interests in relation to the property from this date. Accordingly you will need to obtain some buildings insurance to protect you should the property be damaged between this date and settlement. Most insurers have cooling off periods that would allow you to terminate the insurance and obtain a full refund if your contract does not settle. Please also note that some insurer may refuse to insure the property if for instance a cyclone has been named withing the area where the property is situated. Please consult with your solicitor to discuss prior to entering into the contract.


Conclusion


In short given that the purchase or sale of your home is most likely the biggest investment you will ever make, it makes sense to get the best advice prior to entering in the contract and have a professional guide you trough the process until settlement to protect your interests.

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