Buying Property


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The Property will normally remain at the risk of the Vendor until settlement, however there have been circumstances we are personally aware of where substantial damage was caused to a property by fire prior to settlement, and the Vendors insurance did not cover the damage.

It is advisable to obtain House Insurance upon signing a Contract of Sale as at this time you have an equitable and insurable interest in the Property.
 
It is also likely that if you are obtaining finance from a lending institution, the lender will require you to produce a fully paid up Insurance Policy or Certificate of Currency for at least a six month period showing a minimum replacement value and the the lenders name on the policy as mortgagee. It is usual for a lender to refuse to attend settlement until they have sighted such document.

 

Fees & Taxes

State Revenue Office

When negotiating a price for the purchase of a property, do not forget to take into account the Stamp Duty that will become payable by you at settlement. Stamp Duty is normally the biggest added expense to be taken into account by the purchaser. Stamp Duty in Victoria is based on the value of the property, usually the purchase price and MUST be paid at settlement.  You may be eligible for Stamp Duty exemption or benefits. Should you require an estimate on the stamp duty that will be payable in respect of your purchase or require further information in relation stamp duty exemptions and benefits, please contact this office.

Land Titles Office
At settlement, you will also be required to pay fees to the Victorian Land Titles Office for the registration of your documents. Included in these fees will be registration fees on the Transfer of Land which amount will depend on the purchase price of the property, and registration fees on the mortgage.  Should you require an estimate on the registration fees hat will be payable by you at settlement, you can contact this office for further details.

Capital Gains Tax
Any prospective purchaser should be aware of the potential tax liability associated with the purchase. For example unless the property is used as your principal residence, you may be taxed on any profits made by you on the re sale of such property. If you intend to sell within 12 months of purchase, or if you believe you might be affected by any Capital Gains Taxes, you should contact the Australian Tax Office or your Accountant.

Bank Fees
As part of your application to a lending institution, it is normal for a lender to charge an application fee and depending on the amount being borrowed you may also be liable for Lenders Mortgage Insurance fees. You should enquire with your lender as to any fees that may apply during your application process.  Should you require assistance with your application for finance we would be happy to recommend a finance professional to assist you.

 

Conveyancing Fees
We Care Conveyancing can provide you with an up front price that will include standard disbursements and GST.  Some businesses offer a fixed price fee for their service but will also charge you for any disbursements that are incurred in the handling of your conveyance. With We Care Conveyancing there are no hidden fees, you know exactly what you will be charged for our services.

 

Before Settlement

Final Inspection
The Purchaser has the right to inspect the property purchased within seven days prior to the date of settlement. Contact should be made to the selling agent who will schedule a time and date for your final inspection. The purpose of this inspection is to confirm the property is in the same condition as at the time you signed the Contract of Sale (fair wear and tear excepted). Should the results of the final inspection not be to your satisfaction, you should contact We Care Conveyancing immediately. Settlement is usually not able to be delayed, but at least we, as your conveyancer, will have time to put the vendors agent/representative on notice that claims against their client will be made.

If you do not complete your final inspection prior to settlement and upon taking possession of the property find chattels missing or that the property is not in the condition it was when purchased, it may be difficult for any claim to be made against the vendor.

Keys
Unless specified in the Contract of Sale, the keys to the property you are purchasing are usually with the Estate Agent and can be collected by you upon confirmation that settlement has occurred.

Removalists
For obvious reasons, arrangements for a removalist should be made as soon as possible. We Care Conveyancing will endeavor to provide a settlement time to you as soon as possible, however due to other parties involved it may not always be possible. Should you require a recommendation on a local removalist we would be happy to assist you.

 

Telephone, Electricity & Gas
We Care Conveyancing will attend to the notification to the local municipal authority and the relevant water authority of the change of ownership, however due to privacy reasons, the connection of the Telephone, Electricity and Gas must be attended to by you as the Purchaser. We recommend that you make contact with the relevant authorities at least 2 weeks prior to settlement to make these arrangements.

 

Ownership

There are Two Types of Co-ownership.

Joint Ownership
This is usually the choice of married couples and each owner has an equal share of the property. Joint Ownership (known as Joint Proprietors) means that if one of the owners of the property dies, the property is automatically transferred to the surviving proprietor/s irrespective of what is stated in the deceased party’s Will.

Ownership in Common
This is usually the choice of unrelated parties. It means that each owners share of the property whether equal or not is owned entirely by that owner and upon death the ownership in the property will be bequeathed as per the deceased’s Will. In this system of ownership, tenants can hold unequal shares and same can be noted on the Certificate of Title to issue in their names. In the event that you are purchasing a property for investment purposes, it may be beneficial for parties to be registered in this matter for taxation reasons. For advice in relation to the purchase of an investment property you should contact your Accountant.

 

Buyer Beware

Unfortunately, the principle of "Buyer Beware" applies to all Contracts signed by a purchaser and by signing the Contract the Purchaser is deemed to have fully read and understood the Contract together with making all necessary and complete enquiries to the relevant authorities prior to signing.

It is not mandatory for a Vendor to provide all certificates relevant to a purchaser. Sometimes the Purchaser must rely on information contained within the Section 32 Vendors Statement.

We Care Conveyancing will make application for the following certificates as part of the conveyancing procedure:-

  1. Land Information Certificate provided by the appropriate municipal authority which includes detailing of outstanding rates
  2. Water Rate Certificate
  3. Title search
  4. Certificate as to Land Tax that details any land tax that is outstanding on the property. The section 32 should indicate if there is any tax payable however a current certificate will ensure that any land tax is paid as part of the settlement process.
  5. Vic Roads Certificates: Details any current approved Road Works proposals.
  6. Planning Certificate: Details the current zoning and planning overlays which affect the property as well as any proposed changes

 

You will find that many conveyancers do not apply for all of the certificates listed above in order to reduce the amount that they have to pay out. At We Care Conveyancing we undertake the above searches to ensure that the property you have purchased has not been inaccurately described to you in the Vendor's Section 32 Statement.

The Vendor Statement will not disclose the following
Whether the property is subject to any structural defects or problems such as leaky roof, termites, bushfire prone, broken appliances such as heating, alarm etc. Any development proposals for the surrounding area. Whether or not the land is subject to any contamination or pollutants. Details of any final inspections or permits which have NOT been obtained.

If in doubt, the purchaser should ask the agent to make the Contract of Sale subject to special conditions. If you require any assistance in this regard please contact this office prior to signing the Contract of Sale.

Swimming Pool/Spa Fences
If the Property being purchased has a swimming pool or outside spa which is not fenced, the obligation to fence the pool or spa in accordance with Council regulations will inevitably fall on you as the Purchaser after settlement.   We suggest you talk to the local Council about fencing requirements prior to signing the Contract of Sale.

Property Location

Attached to the Section 32 Vendors Statement should be a copy of the Plan of Subdivision of the property. Prior to signing any Contract of Sale, you as the Purchaser should attend the property for the purposes of measuring the boundaries of the land, and ensuring the location of the land coincides with what is shown on the Plan.   If you have any doubts, you should engage the services of a licensed surveyor who will be able to check such matters properly and thoroughly as in certain instances a Purchaser will not have any recall against a Vendor once a Contract has been signed.

 

Cooling Off

The Purchaser of a property may have rights to avoid the Contract of Sale, or "Cool Off".
If the Purchaser intends to Cool Off, they must give written notice of their intention to end the Contract within three (3) clear business days from the time that the Purchaser signs the Contract.

If the Purchaser ends the Contract in this way, they are entitled to a refund of any deposit monies paid.

A sum of money may be forfeited. You should take note of any such conditions within the Contract of Sale.

The Three Day Cooling off Period Does Not Apply if:-
The Property was purchased at auction or within three (3) clear business days before or after a publicly advertised auction.

  • The Property purchased is used for commercial or industrial purposes.
  • The Property is more than 20 hectares in size and is mainly used for farming purposes.
  • The Purchaser has previously signed a Contact of Sale in essentially the same format for the same property.
  • The Purchaser is an Estate Agent or Corporate Body.

Finance

If a Contract of Sale contains a condition that the purchase is subject to you obtaining finance then it is your responsibility to ensure that you make every attempt to obtain finance approval by the specified date. If the finance has not been obtained by the specified date you may request an extension to allow further time for approval to be given. Should you require such an extension you should contact We Care Conveyancing to make a request on your behalf.  Should notification not be submitted within the time period allowed for in the finance condition that you either wish to withdraw from the purchase due to having your application for finance decline or that you require an extension of the time period allowed, the Contract of Sale will fall unconditional and you will be locked into the Contract.

If the specified date for finance falls due and you have not been able to obtain finance approval you can withdraw from the Contract provided written notice to the vendor or the vendor’s agent is given by the due date and you are not in default of any other condition of the Contract of Sale. The Vendor may also request proof that you have made immediate application for the loan, have done everything reasonably required to obtain such loan approval, and have a letter of decline from the bank or lending institution.

Once you have received an offer of mortgage, it is then your responsibility to comply with all terms and conditions of that mortgage. You should also ensure you are aware of any financial implications by way of penalties or interest upon early redemption of the mortgage.

Should you also be providing some of your own funds at settlement, then it is your responsibility to ensure that the adequate sum in the form of clear funds (ie a bank cheque) are made available at the appropriate time. Please be aware that generally, personal cheques, trust cheques, money orders, credit co-operative cheques, and building society cheques are not acceptable tender at settlement.

 

Rate Adjustments

Prior to Settlement, We Care Conveyancing will undertake an adjustment of rates and outgoings to the property from the date of settlement.

The adjustment of rates will ensure that the Vendors pay all rates and taxes due on the property up until settlement date, and Purchaser pays from the settlement date.  (PURCHASERS PLEASE NOTE that in the cases of some land settlements, the adjustment will be required to be undertaken as at the day of sale and a special condition to this effect will be included in the Contract of Sale).

Most Councils will require all rates for the current rating year to be paid at settlement even though they may not be due until a later date. This will be reflected in the adjustments.

The adjustments will also allow the vendor to pay any arrears and/or outstanding interest on the rates and charges together with fees pertaining to the discharge of any mortgage or caveat.

 

Caveats

A Caveat is a document lodged at the Land Titles Office to protect a Purchasers interest in the property pursuant to the Contract of Sale.   In some cases there can be a delay of up to 90 days or more from the time the Purchaser signs the Contract and settlement. In this time, the Certificate of Title to the property is still in the name of the Vendor and third parties associated with the Vendor can place encumbrances over that title. For example, lending institutions who have unsecured loans.

The purpose of the Caveat can prevent any other encumbrances being placed on the Certificate of Title.  It will also protect you in the event that the Vendor proceeded to enter into a Contract with another party for the sale of the property.  Should this occur the party who registers their Caveat first will be the party entitled to proceed with the purchase irrespective of the order in which the Contracts were signed.

We will outline the cost of a Caveat being lodged against the property in our initial correspondence to you.

 

Settlement

Settlement Date is the date the Purchaser takes possession of the Property and a specific date is usually referred to in the Contract of Sale. A convenient time of day is agreed to by all parties involved in the matter (Purchasers representative, Vendors representative, incoming Mortgagee and Discharging Mortgagee) who will attend a nominated location (usually the bank of the discharging Mortgagee) at a specific time to effect settlement.  It is not usual for a Purchaser or Vendor to attend their own settlement.

At settlement, funds by way of Bank Cheques are handed to the Vendors representative for inspection. The direction of these cheques and the amounts will have already been advised to the Purchasers representative in writing.  Documents required to Transfer the property out of the Vendor/s name and into the Purchaser/s name are handed to the Purchaser’s representative and incoming Mortgagee for inspection.  Once good title has been established and all parties are satisfied, settlement is deemed to have been effected. Both the Vendor and Purchaser will then be contacted by telephone to be advised settlement has occurred.

 

The information provided on the We Care Conveyancing web site is not intended to be legal advice. Many factors unknown to us may affect the applicability of any statement or comment that we make on this web site. Should you require advice that applies to your particular circumstances we recommend that you contact us to discuss your needs further.