Everything you need to know before signing a contract
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Buying a property is one of the most expensive purchases you will make and could become even more expensive if you don’t make all the necessary inquiries before you sign the contract.
Contact your solicitor to check the contract BEFORE signing it.
Your solicitor will check the contract and give you legal advice on:
Cooling off period
Proposed settlement date
Title and plan
Special conditions of the seller
Your special conditions and any changes required
Lease (if required)
The contract is the whole agreement between the Seller and yourself. If the seller or the seller’s agent promises something that is not written in the contract or if you need the seller to do something before settlement, you must have it written in the Contract.
If it is not written in the Contract, the Seller may not have to do it.
Don’t forget to check the following:
a. If there are any plans for re-development near the property
b. If there are any zoning or building restrictions on the property
c. If the property is properly zoned for your intended use
d. If there are any buildings or other structures that were built without a permit
e. If any special rates have been/will be levied
f. If any notices/orders have been served on the property/property owner
g. If the Property can be developed/subdivided/extended etc in the future
Inspect the property:
The contract says that you buy the property “as is”. This means that the seller must deliver the property to you in the same condition at settlement, subject to fair wear and tear. The seller does not have to fix any pre-existing problems in the property. Thus, you should carry out thorough inspections of the property before you sign the contract, including
Interior and exterior inspections by yourself – carry out a thorough inspection of the whole house, including:
i. Open and close all the windows and doors
ii. Turn on all the taps, lights, fans, electrical appliances, heater/cooler, jacuzzi, garage doors, security systems, and anything else on the property
iii. Inspect the exterior, floor coverings, wall coverings, light fittings, plumbing, walls, ceilings, etc for any pests, holes, damages, leaks, cracks, etc.
I also suggest that you carry a phone or camera and take photographs/record the whole inspection. This will be your evidence of the condition of the property when you signed the contract. You may need this evidence if there is damage to the property at settlement.
The above list is not complete, and does not of course guarantee that you buy a perfect property with no problems. I hope it helps you in minimizing future expenses (whether due to repairs or disputes) and allows you to sign the contract as a more informed buyer.
Buying or selling a property is one of the most important and most expensive decisions you will make and can be an overwhelming experience. Work with professionals to advise and guide you through a smooth conveyancing process.