Buying and selling property can be stressful, especially since the process is new and unfamiliar for most people. To help you better understand the process and to take some of the stress out of it, here is a basic overview of the steps involved in buying or selling residential property:
Step 1. Checking the Agreement
Talk to us first. We recommend you have us check over the draft agreement for sale and purchase to confirm it is in order for signing before you enter into an agreement. Good agents will happily fax or e-mail the draft agreement to us before it is signed.
Step 2. Signing the Agreement
Once the agreement is suitable for both parties the agreement can be signed.
Step 3. Fulfilling any conditions
Any conditions in the agreement need to be satisfied. We will work with you on this. As a purchaser, you will also need to work with other relevant institutions to satisfy the conditions, such as your bank consultant to satisfy a finance condition or perhaps the Council for conditions relating to the property. There may be conditions that the vendor has to satisfy as well.
Step 4. An unconditional Agreement
As purchaser, once you are happy that all the conditions are satisfied, we will confirm with the vendor’s lawyer that the agreement is “unconditional”. A deposit is often payable upon the agreement being declared unconditional. The agent will usually provide you with instructions for payment, or if it is a private sale it can be held in the vendor lawyer’s trust account pending settlement.
Step 5. Considering, accepting & signing
If purchasing, we receive “documentation” from the bank (if any) and prepare all the necessary documents for settlement. If selling, we will prepare a settlement statement stipulating what the purchaser has to pay (including rates) and other necessary documents for settlement. Once all the documents are prepared we will arrange for signing with you.
Step 6. Rates & Insurance issues
If selling, we will notify the local Council and will arrange payment of land and water rates. You will need to sort out your other utilities (such as phone, power and gas) and insurance. If you are purchasing, you will need to organise house-owners insurance cover of sufficient value to meet bank lending requirements. We will require a copy of the Insurance Certificate of Currency (which is evidence of that insurance cover) prior to settlement.
Step 7. Monies
If selling, we will arrange a discharge of any mortgage registered against the property. We will let you know the amount of funds we require from you to settle and how that is to be paid to us if you are purchasing.
Step 8. Pre-purchase Inspection
For purchasers, we strongly encourage a “Pre-purchase Inspection”, which needs to happen no later than the day before settlement to give us time to sort out any issues.
Step 9. Settlement
On “settlement” (if purchasing), we will arrange for payment of the purchase price and will then notify you and the agent (if any) that settlement has occurred. The purchaser now owns the property and is entitled to possession (unless other arrangements were made at the time of signing the agreement). We will register the change of ownership on the title and will send you a copy for your records. If selling, we will receive the purchase price from the Purchaser’s solicitor, repay any mortgages secured against your property and pay the balance to your nominated bank account or have available for your on-purchase.
Please note this guide is intended as a basic overview to help you through the process only, and is not an exhaustive account of the conveyancing process. Not every sale and purchase will follow exactly this process. Part of our legal skills is to identify issues at an early stage and take appropriate steps to resolve them.