If you’re buying or selling property anywhere in the world you’re going to have to deal with contracts, paperwork and small print. There’s no way around it.
It’s only human to feel fearful about signing a contract and worry about misreading or misunderstanding contract details. Which is why it feels great to have a trusted lawyer working for you when you buy or sell property, because they will make sure everything is done by the book.
Knowing an experienced conveyancing lawyer is on hand to make sure the contract is error free and the sale will be handled with your best interests in mind is the easiest way to eliminate stress and worries about buying or selling what’s probably your most valuable asset.
Your lawyer will be able to help make sure you complete the contract correctly but you should also double and triple check the contract before signing it to make sure every detail is correct. Even small errors like forgetting to include a middle name can cause potential problems in the future and lead to higher legal fees or even contracts being cancelled.
Here’s a quick overview of the Queensland contract for house and residential land so you know what to expect when it’s time to sign your contract.
About the REIQ Contract for Houses and Residential Land
If you’re buying or selling property in Queensland, the real estate will use a standard contract for a house or residential land.
Although some real estate agents use the ADL contract most agents use the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) contract which is the one we’ll be looking at here.
The first four pages of the contract are the most important pages as this is where you’ll be filling in your details.
Check out the REIQ contract to familiarise yourself with it now.
The first page of the REIQ contract for Houses and Residential Land covers the agent and seller details.
If you’re the seller make sure your name and address are correct because errors or inconsistencies could lead to later problems. Be sure that your full name is included exactly as it appears on your other personal documentation including middle names.
If you’re the buyer it’s up to the agent to make sure the seller details are correct and they will be based on the property title details.
Include your laywer or solicitor’s contact details here if you’re the seller and feel free to make me, Brad Mifsud, your main contact if you’d like Charter Conveyancing to take care of everything.
The second page of the contract covers the buyer’s information and the property description.
If you’re the buyer do make sure you include your full name and correct address because your bills will be sent there after settlement date and penalties could be applied if a bill goes to wrong address.
The buyer should also name their solicitor here. If you’re using Charter Conveyancing just name Brad Mifsud as your contact and use our contact details.
The property details should be completed as per the property title, for example: Lot 3 on RP161221, County, Parish, Title reference.
Your lawyer will check these details and perform a title search to confirm that the property description is correct.
The third page of the REIQ contract for Houses and Residential Land covers three key areas:
- Finance – Including the sale price, deposit amount, bank details and financing details.
- Building and/or Pest Inspection date.
- Encumbrances – If the property is sold to any encumbrances such as mortgage, easement, subject to tenancy. If the property is currently tenanted details of the tenants and the property manager will also need to be included here.
Page four covers pool safety, electrical safety and any neighbourhood disputes.
It’s useful to find a building inspector who’s also qualified to check pool safety and can do both the building and pool inspections at the same time.
Ideally the building inspector will also be able to check the electrical safety switches and smoke alarms but if not you may need to call in a separate expert to check those.
Neighbourhood disputes, usually relating to dividing fences or trees are not common in Queensland but this is a new act and should be addressed carefully if there is a dispute of any type.
Page five covers special conditions which we’ve covered in The Two Major Contract Clause Considerations for Making an Offer on a Property. If you're buying property in the greater Brisbane are then our Brisbane Property Guide is packed with useful tips.
If you have any concerns or questions it’s best to discuss them with your solicitor or other relevant people such as the finance or building inspection team to see if they can meet the conditions. For example, before signing the contract you need to be certain that you can get the finance by settlement date and that the pest inspection will take place in time.
The settlement date is listed on this page and it’s up to you and your lawyer to make sure it’s a date that you can meet your conditions by.
Finally page five must be signed by both the buyers and sellers and the signature must be witnessed. It’s most often witnessed by the real estate agent but if you’re overseas you’ll need to find your own witness.
This is your last chance to make sure you understand the cooling off period as the contract states:
“It is recommended the Buyer obtain an independent property valuation and independent legal advice about the contract and his or her cooling-off rights, before signing.”
Please note, if you’re buying at auction there’s no cooling off period and if you’re not buying at auction the buyer stands to lose a percentage of sale price if they withdraw their offer based on the cooling off period clause which is why it’s not commonly used.
Recent changes to the REIQ Contract
A new version of the contract came out in 2015 with a few important changes:
- Electronic settlements can now occur with everything from title transfer to finance taking place online.
- Settlement should now occur before 4pm (not 5pm) on settlement day.
- Land tax is payable by the seller.
Got questions about your property contract? Book a Free Consultation Now
To help you stress less when you buy or sell a property in Brisbane, Queensland or anywhere in Australia we’d like to give you a free consultation.
Contact us now for informed conveyancing advice. One of our lawyers will be happy to talk to you about the essential conditions or clauses that should be included in the contract based on your unique circumstances and the property you’d like to make an offer on.
To book your free consultation outside business hours please use the consultation booking form below or call us now on 1300 224 278.