FAQs

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Congratulations! It's an exiting time in your life and your conveyancing solicitor should make sure the process goes smoothly. It's great that you want to get informed before buying your first property and we recommend you get started by reading the advice on our Brisbane Conveyancing for First Time Buyers post.

 

Property transfers where a property is transferred from one party to another are on the rise. Find out everything you need to know before making a property transfer in our property transfers blog post.

We've issued a warning about Why DIY Conveyancing is Best Avoided so you are aware of the risks.

 

We cover everything you need to know about that in 13 FAQs About Building, Pest and Pool Inspections.

 

Settlement day can be a busy and stressful time liaising with banks, agents and brokers. We're here to make it stress free for you - find out more in how to make settlement day stress free.

Get the details in our costs of buying property blog post.

When making an offer on a property the conditions or clauses need to be based on both your personal circumstances, such as finance, and property-specific circumstances like location.

Find out more in our video and blog post The Two Major Contract Clause Considerations for Making an Offer on a Property.

Once you’ve made an offer on a property it can be revoked if the seller hasn’t signed the contract yet.

Find out more in our video and blog post 3 Ways to Revoke an Offer on a Property.

There are four key stages when making an offer on a property: deciding on your conditions, putting your offer in writing, considering counter offers and, if everything goes well, having your offer accepted.

Find out more in our video and blog post 4 Key Stages to Making an Offer on a Property.

There are a number of steps involved in buying or selling Queensland property. We recommend you read 5 Ways a Solicitor Helps You Buy or Sell Property in Queensland or watch the video there to find out more.

From the date the sellers sign the contract the contract starts. This means all the dates for clauses begin and you must ensure you meet your obligations before 5pm on the due date.

Make sure you diarise the important dates under the contract and know what is required of you prior to each of the standard clauses and special conditions. You must contact us on the due date (if not before) and give us clear instructions on what you want to do.

Prior to that you must ensure your bank and the inspector can provide you with the necessary information so you can instruct us to act on your behalf. If we do not hear from you (and cannot contact you) on a due date the seller may terminate the contract or you may lose important rights under the contract depending on how certain clauses are drafted.

In summary, diarise the dates and work towards them, then contact us on the due dates. Find out more in our blog post Signed a Contract on a House? 4 Key Next Steps for Buyers.

The cooling off period expires five business days from the date either you or I receive a copy of the signed contract from the seller or agent. If you are intending to terminate the contract you must keep in mind this date and instruct us to notify the sellers prior to 5pm on the due date.

We will send out our initial documents to you generally within 24-48 hours from receiving your contract. If you do not hear from us we may not have received your contract so please do not hesitate to give us a call. Once you receive your documents we will be waiting to hear on the results of your finance application and building and pest inspection report, unless you bought at auction or the contract is not subject to these clauses see point. If you have questions prior to your due dates please contact us by email. We will respond within 24 hours, generally sooner depending on the number of settlements and clauses due on any one day. If we see a problem with a search, or another issue with your contract we will contact you immediately so there is no need to worry, we have your contract under control. If something does go wrong while we cannot fix issues out of our control we can provide you with good advice on what your rights and obligations are so you can make a decision on how to proceed.

Transfer duty is a state based tax based on the purchase price or market value of the property. First home buyers and home buyers can obtain a concession on the duty they have to pay. The Office of State Revenue is the Queensland government department in charge of collecting transfer duty. Essentially duty is due 30 days from the date the contract goes unconditional. This means if there is longer than 30 days between the last clause being due and settlement there may be interest payable at the time of settlement. Please be advised we have an obligation to have cleared funds before we settle a property. This means we must collect a bank cheque for the full amount at settlement or have funds in our account to cover the duty and any interest that has accrued. Call us to obtain a calculation of the transfer duty amount or to obtain a concession form to see if you are eligible for the first home or home concessions.

The transfer registration fee is a Queensland-based government charge payable to the titles office when the transfer document (document changing the property from the seller to the buyer) is filed for registration. It is also based on the purchase price of the property but there are no concessions available. Call us to obtain a calculation of the amount.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for transfer registration fee collection and the changing of the name into the new owner. They also are the body that notifies the council of the change of ownership and of the new owner's address. Therefore it is important you provide clear instructions on where you as the buyer is going to reside after settlement to ensure you will receive the rates bills for payment, otherwise you could be hit with interest and other charges if they are sent to an incorrect address.

To make an offer you need to sign a contract and write onto that contract the price you want to pay and the terms and conditions (finance clause, deposit amount, date of settlement etc). A verbal offer is not legally binding with an agent or seller and may only be useful in negotiating a price and conditions prior to putting it down on paper. When purchasing through an agent they will present you with a contract document to complete. Make sure you place your full name (including middle names), and the clauses required on the document at this time as it could be difficult and costly to change once signed by you and agreed to by the seller.

If you haven't already read it see our Buying Property Subject to Finance? Your Rights and Obligations blog post.

If you need to obtain a loan to buy the house then you must place a finance clause on the contract. REIQ and ADL contracts both have special areas to write in a finance clause and each have similar requirements to ensure the contract becomes "subject to finance". Make sure you discuss with your bank how long it will take for them to give you a letter of unconditional approval as you will need to keep that in mind when writing it into the contract. For example, if the bank needs 14 days then make sure that is the timeframe you place on the contract. If you sign a contract without a finance clause and you need to obtain finance and your application is unsuccessful the seller can terminate the contract, keep your deposit and sue you for costs and losses if they resell it to another buyer at a lower price. Therefore it is essential to make sure you are protected.

This is a great idea on any property purchase with a house or unit (as opposed to vacant land). Like the finance clause you will need to ensure the contract has a clause that allows you to terminate should the inspection report be unsatisfactory. If the report finds structural defects or active termites or extensive termite damage, or if there are numerous issues which, when combined, add to a significant amount of work and costs borne by the buyer after settlement, then you may be able to elect to terminate the contract and get your deposit back. Depending on the issues however, the contract states you must be reasonable so it may sometimes be better to call us or the agent and discuss negotiating the price if you can get a quote for the work done. While the seller is not obliged to negotiate they may decide to offer you a reduction. If the seller does not agree to negotiate then you may be forced to accept minor issues.

This will depend on your situation. The best practice is to contact us to discuss your situation so we can ensure the contract has all the necessary clauses to protect your interest. Possible clauses you may need can include making the contract to buy conditional on your current home selling, being satisfied with the search results or council approvals all being in place, or the seller attending to fixing their pool fence prior to settlement. If you do not discuss your situation prior to signing the contract then we cannot ensure you are protected about important issues.

Technically speaking you can make an offer without any deposit. However, in a number of cases the seller will not accept the offer as another buyer may provide a large deposit giving the seller comfort they are more serious. Generally an agent will request a certain amount around 5% of the purchase price, sometimes higher or lower. However, the size of the deposit should be based around what you have available to pay in your account. There is no point agreeing to a $20,000 deposit if you have $10,000 in your account as your bank will only make loan funds available on the settlement date. The contract will stipulate who you pay the deposit to and you must ensure the funds are in their account (generally the agent's trust account) prior to the due date for its payment.

The cooling off period starts when you or Charter Conveyancing receive a copy of the contract signed by both the seller and the buyer and lasts for a period of five working days from that date.

The contract date is the day the seller signs the contract which effectively accepts your offer.

If you decide to terminate the contract under the cooling off period the seller can elect at their absolute discretion to charge you 0.25% of the contract price. You must instruct us within the 5 business days from receiving the contract for us to write to the seller's solicitor to in time to ensure the contract is terminated in time. If we do not hear from you we will assume you are not interested in terminating under the cooling off period.

There is no expiry date for an offer. However, if you do not want to continue and the contract has not been signed then generally a letter to the agent rescinding your offer to purchase is all that is required.

If the lease period continues after the settlement date then effectively there is nothing you can do to end the tenancy besides negotiate with the tenant (or request the seller negotiate with the tenant) to obtain vacant possession on the date of settlement. If the contract is conditional on vacant possession being granted (see point 4) and the tenant is still living in the property on the day of settlement then the seller will be in breach of the contract and you will have a number of options at your disposal depending on how the clause has been drafted. It is important to check with us prior to making your offer to ensure your rights will be protected.

There is an extensive list of searches you can do, a number of which are included in our standard fee but some financial institutions require extra searches which will be charged on top of our standard fee. The best practice is to do a number of searches prior to signing the contract as this may sway whether you wish to proceed with making an offer. However, to save on costs most clients elect to complete searches once the contract becomes unconditional as this means they will only be liable for search costs once they are happy with the inspection report and have obtained an unconditional approval for their finance.
In terms of which searches should be done, this will depend on various factors including the age of the property, number of units in the body corporate, location of the property (on a main road, next to a river or on top of a mine shaft), features of the property (renovations and alteration like patios, sheds, pools, converting the garage to a living room, building in underneath a highset home) and your budget.
While it is always the best option to obtain every search possible prior to signing the contract this is not cost effective for clients. Therefore, contact us as soon as possible to discuss the above factors as well as what plans you have for the property (are you living in it or knocking it down to develop a block of townhouses?) so we can provide the right advice. Our advice is always better when you provide clear and detailed instructions.

Yes, this means that, should you be successful at auction, the contract will not be subject to any conditions. This means you will be obligated to turn up on the scheduled date of settlement and complete the contract by handing over the full amount of monies due under the contract. Prior to bidding at auction you must make sure you cover any concerns and be satisfied with the property (ie be satisfied with the searches and building inspection report) and your personal circumstances (ie the bank is going to lend you the required funds). The consequences are severe if you do not meet your obligations including losing your deposit, being sued for losses suffered by the seller and any difference in purchase price should they sell the property for less then what they sold it to you for.