We know that moving house is rated as one of the top most stressful things you will experience. Even without the added stress of moving, purchasing or selling an investment property can be a source of anxiety and frustration for all parties involved.
This is why it’s important to engage a reputable lawyer to assist you in your next property transaction, and to know what to expect from the conveyancing process in Queensland, which is substantially different other Australian states and territories.
Before you sign the Contract:
The usual process is that the Seller’s Real Estate Agent will prepare a contract, or give a blank contract to a Buyer for completion and subsequent submission to the Seller. We always recommend clients obtain personalised legal advice prior to making or accepting a contractual offer on a property. However, it is also important to make sure that you read the Contract yourself before signing anything.
Although there could be time pressures involved with getting a contract in place, if there is an error or an omission in the Contract (and/or Disclosure Statement if the property is in a Community Titles Scheme), proceeding without rectifying the issue could result in a contract formation issue. Your best case scenario in those circumstances might be incurring additional costs and/or delays in obtaining finance or completing settlement while the issues are corrected. Your worst case scenario could be finding yourself in a dispute about whether or not the contract, or a particular term of it, is valid and enforceable against the other party.
The key items for you to consider and check for accuracy in contract documentation are:
- If the property is in a Community Titles Scheme, that a complete and accurate Disclosure Statement has been issued to the Buyer before they sign the Contract;
- Whether all sections of the contract have been completed, even if they are ‘Not Applicable;’
- The spelling of the parties’ names and the details of the property;
- Whether there is anything you specifically want included or excluded in the transaction such as furniture or fittings;
- That the purchase price and deposit are accurate and according to your expectations;
- That all the details regarding building and pest inspection condition and finance approval condition are completed in full, to ensure they are applicable;
- That the time frames in the Contract, particularly the Settlement Date, are realistic and suitable for your own personal circumstances; and
- Check the Special Conditions page and any attachments to the Contract to ensure there are no extra surprises.
At this stage, Sellers should also be mindful of the new Withholding Laws that apply to property sales over $750,000.00 in value and should speak to their Accountant if applicable.
Time is of the essence:
Although this might sound like legal jargon, time being of the essence is an essential term of Queensland land contracts which means that if you fail to comply with your contractual obligations under a property contract by the stipulated due dates, you may find yourself in breach of the contract and in a position where the other party could terminate the transaction and/or claim compensation from you. It’s therefore important that you consider the time frames noted for payment of the deposit, building and pest inspection or finance conditions and settlement, before you sign a contract to make sure that the time line suits your personal circumstances.
After you’ve signed your contract:
A lot can happen during the period between when you sign the contract and the settlement date. Firstly, make sure you calculate and make a note of all your due dates, including expiry of any statutory cooling off period.
Open a line of communication between your finance broker or personal banker (if you have one) and your Lawyer to keep everyone on the same page about the progress of the finance application and the time line for settlement.
You should also keep in mind that you might need to sign some documents in the presence of a qualified witness during this stage, so if you are going to be uncontactable or unavailable for any stage of the conveyance let your legal representative and finance broker or banker know so that we can try to make alternative arrangements.
Being a proactive buyer or seller will assist in making the conveyancing process go smoothly, ultimately leading to a commercially successful transaction.
All the contract conditions have now been satisfied and the parties are eager to complete settlement.
Your lawyer will finalise the settlement details and co-ordinate the funds required whilst ensuring that relevant documentation is in the right place at the right time. You should arrange to inspect your property on the morning of or the day before settlement to check that everything is as expected.
In most cases, you won’t be required to attend your settlement personally. However, it is best to remain contactable in case anyone needs to get in touch with you on the day and in the week leading up to settlement.
Settlements will normally take place in the afternoon between the hours of 2 and 4 pm because many financial institutions have policies and procedures which prevent settlement earlier in the day. Once your settlement has been completed, you will receive a call from your Lawyer advising that everything is in order and confirming that you can now go and collect the keys from the Real Estate Agent who assisted with the purchase.
It is the level of intimate knowledge and commercial understanding of the property transaction process which allows MBA Lawyers to provide a high standard of personalised service for our clients in residential, commercial and off-the-plan purchases or sales.
If MBA Lawyers can assist you with your next property transaction, please contact us on
(07) 5539 9688 or submit an email enquiry.