Purchasing property or land can be a legal minefield, so here are my top tips to help you get through unscathed!
- The Agent is working for – and paid by – the Seller
An important point to keep in mind when purchasing a property and corresponding with a Real Estate Agent is that they are working for the Seller. Beyond the scope of their contract with the Seller and the law, the Agent owes no service to you and is often actively perusing the Seller’s interest. Ensure you discuss all contractual negotiations with your Solicitor prior to signing to ensure all outcomes under the contract are fair and your interests are adequately protected.
- Due Diligence – Remove the blindfold
I always recommend that my clients start making enquiries with local authorities in relation to the property prior to signing a contract. The purchase of land is, of course, one of the largest financial decisions of a person’s life. It makes sense to put the ground work in to ensure the property isn’t a lemon! I typically recommend soil tests, main road searches and flooding searches for vacant blocks (as well as a few others dependant on the block), and building records searches, body corporate record inspections and PPSR searches for blocks that are built on.
- Obtain a Solid Valuation
Having an accurate valuation is essential in obtaining finance, assessing the correct amount of stamp duty for which you will be liable as a purchaser and is, for obvious reasons, of importance when deciding whether to purchase at the first instance. I recommend that my clients get a valuation on the property at the earliest opportunity.
- Ensure your deposit is held in a Trust Account
Having the initial and balance deposits held in a valid Trust Account (for example, at the Real Estate Agents or Vendors Solicitor) is essential to avoid risk of losing the deposit due to unprofessional conduct. There is strict legislation in place to regulate trust accounts as opposed to the deposit being held personally by the Seller.
- Lodge a Settlement Notice
A settlement notice protects your interest in the property until settlement and stops the vendor from selling the property or registering any encumbrances over the property without notice to you prior to the settlement date.
If you have any questions regarding property purchase or would like assistance with a conveyance, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07 5444 1022.