After a long search, you have finally found a home that you love, and so now it’s time to take the essential next steps to secure that property. We know that buying a home can be a confusing and even stressful process, especially when doing it for the first time. However, it does not have to be that way. The most important part of buying a home is to have a clear picture in your head of exactly what you need to do, and to proceed calmly and thoughtfully until that final day of settlement - aka when you get the keys!
Where to begin? Start here by reading PestBuildLegals 7 essential steps to buying your first home.
STEP 1: MAKING AN OFFER ON THE PROPERTY
Important fact: Most properties for sale will have a real estate agent that represents them, i.e. they work for the seller. From the moment you look around the house, and throughout the whole process, keep this in mind: the agent doesn’t work for you, regardless of how helpful and professional they are. It is their job to help the seller to market and ultimately sell the property for the best (usually highest) price, in the shortest period of time.
What the real estate agent will do is present your offer to the seller. Another important thing to remember is that that the agent is legally required to present any offer you make to the seller, whether this is above or below the guide or asking price. Once you make it known that you want to present this offer, the real estate agent will take this offer to the seller, and, if accepted, prepare a contract called ‘the contract of sale’ and send it to you.
Do not sign the contract at this point!
STEP 1: MAKING AN OFFER ON THE PROPERTY
Having received the contract of sale, it is vital that you engage either a conveyancer or solicitor to act on your behalf. What’s the difference between a solicitor or a conveyancer you might ask? Good question.
A licensed conveyancer is a professional that specialises in the legal aspects of buying and selling real estate property, and they may or may not also be a solicitor. In the journey of buying a house, a conveyancer represents you. They ensure that you meet all your legal obligations and that your rights are protected. They will oversee, prepare and review essential legal documentation from the moment you are presented with the initial contact, all the way to the happy day of settlement.
Your conveyancer will also communicate on your behalf with the seller’s representatives and will conduct title and certificate searches on the property.
A solicitor can also act as a conveyancer, however, a solicitor will have completed a Bachelor’s degree and will have taken property law as an elective. Ultimately, a solicitor has a broader knowledge of general law, and therefore are best considered when conducting more complex property transactions.
Another difference to consider is that solicitors tend to be more expensive than conveyancers and will likely charge by the hour, whereas a licensed conveyancer will tend to charge a fixed fee. For many, this fixed and less expensive fee offers peace of mind when keeping an eye on costs.
We recommend that you get a least three different quotes when assessing the costs of legal representation. To fast track this process, click here to get a competitive quote is through our site: PestBuildLegals.
Whatever you decide, never sign anything until your legal representative has given you the green light.
Once you have decided on a conveyancer, they will ensure that all standard and additional clauses and terms are included in the contract, for example, that the purchase is subject to satisfactory PestBuildLegals (more on this later).
This is when the process really begins - the contract is presented to the seller, and if this is accepted, the agent will finalise the contract and return to you for signing. Once again, at this point, you will have your legal representative overlook the document one last time before signing to ensure that every term, condition and detail is correct. Once you have signed this, its time to get your finance and deposit ready!
STEP 3: GETTING YOUR FINANCE READY
Residential Contracts of Sale in Queensland (and most states in Australia) are subject to finance. As detailed in the contact, you will have a certain amount of time in order to arrange your finance, if you haven’t already. It is therefore important that you get a confirmed decision date from your mortgage provider or broker, this is known as the finance date. If you have already been approved for finance, then you are ‘pre-approved’ and do not need this confirmation.
STEP 4: PAY THE THE DEPOSIT
Once you have signed the contract and this has been accepted by the buyer, you will have a defined amount of time during which you need to transfer the deposit. It’s easy to get confused by deposits at this point, here you will be paying a refundable deposit of anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. This is not the same as the deposit that you have saved to go towards the final payment on the house, which is organised via the lender. The due date for when the deposit must be paid will be on the contract you signed under the guidance of you conveyancer. It is important to know that if you do not pay the deposit by the due date, the seller could take legal action against you.
STEP 5: BUILDING AND PEST INSPECTIONS
Tell anyone who has bought a house before that you are in the process of buying a property and they’ll likely ask if you’ve had your “PestBuildLegals” done. Well now you’ve arranged the legal side of things, read on to learn about the next critical steps.
A property may look amazing, but you and even the agent and seller may have no idea what might be lurking under the service.
After the signing of the contract of sale, you will need to arrange a building and pest inspection, preferably by two independent experts. Just like you wouldn’t buy a car without first having it looked over by a mechanic, a building inspection is carried out by a licensed inspector and is designed to give you independent and impartial advice as to the state and condition of the property. They will provide a comprehensive report highlighting any factors such as major structural issues or, in the case of older homes, the suspected presence of asbestos and other hazards. Further to this, your report will also highlight any minor issues and expected ongoing maintenance costs.
As a building inspection report provides a ‘snapshot’ in time, so it is important that you arrange your own current building report. Not only will it give you assurance on the state of the property, but can guide you as to the suitability and guidance for development, extensions or renovations you might have planned. If your report details a major issue, it can provide grounds for the termination of the contract, and your deposit will be refunded.
Ultimately, the building inspection allows you to make an informed decision as to whether to go ahead with purchasing the property.
A pest inspection is carried out when you are purchasing a property to ensure that there are no underlying issues related to pests and provides you with independent unbiased advice. The pest inspection will look for evidence of the presence of termites, white ants, borers and other pests that can significantly affect the value and safety of your property, and could potentially cause you unforeseen costs in the future.
PAYING FOR INSPECTIONS
You are responsible for the costs of pest and build inspections. However, they can be a small price to pay to avoid unforeseen repairs that can easily turn your dream home into a nightmare. Do some research or get a quote here to get the best service and value.
KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE
When receiving your reports, is important to keep perspective, as it is not uncommon that there will be some minor defects to the home (especially if it is not new), that the seller may not have known. These reports can be used to get quotes for repair, to ensure future costs are manageable, and even to negotiate with the seller. We recommend that you engage specialists who are willing to explain their findings to you. It also a great idea to attend the inspections while they are carried out so the specialist can directly indicate any problems that may be present. Remember, the better informed you are, the better decisions you will make.
STEP 6: PREPARING FOR SETTLEMENT
Once you have received and are happy with your pest and building reports, your conveyancer will liaise with your lender to ensure that the funds are available in time for settlement day. At this point, you will also have a right to a final inspection of the property to ensure that it remains in the same condition as it was during your prior inspections.
STEP 7: SETTLEMENT DAY
You are almost there! Just 4 small steps to go before your move-in date
- This is the day that the buyer (you) transfer the full price of the property less the initial deposit to the buyer. You do not need to attend this in person, as your legal representative will arrange to meet the sellers representative and do this exchange for you.
- At the same time, they will ensure that title of the property will be transferred into your name “free from encumbrances” this means that the property is yours without any claim from any third party such as a previous mortgage.
- Remember that from the day of settlement, the property is your responsibility. Make sure that you have arranged to have appropriate home and contents insurance to commence on or before this date.
- You arrange with the real estate agent to pick up the keys!
All information contained on this website is for your reference only. You should always make your own enquiries and seek independent legal advice in respect of any information about real estate law and the purchasing of real estate and related subjects. This website may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than PestBuildLegals. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. PestBuildLegals does not control such websites and is not responsible for their contents.