Buying a Unit
Buying a unit? Find out everything you need to know about your responsibilities as a strata property owner.
We have many years of experience handling strata property conveyancing.
Strata property means a building that has been divided into ‘lots’. These ‘lots’ might be units within the building, or townhouses within a group of buildings. When you buy a unit, you own your ‘lot’ but share common property with the other owners in the building, including things like driveways, external walls and stairwells. This means that you will need to understand the rules around the common property in the building you are buying into.
Our Conveyancing team will take the time to explain your responsibilities under the strata scheme when you are looking to buy a unit. We will walk you through the steps involved in purchasing your strata property, and make sure you are clear about any future expenses such as strata levies.
2. Inspections and reports
Before contracts are exchanged there are a number of things which may need to be attended to. We recommend that the following inspections take place, which we are happy to arrange for you:
Pest Inspection Report - We recommend that a qualified Pest Inspector thoroughly check the property. This will give you information about any damage such as termite infestation.
Building Inspection Report - We recommend that a qualified Building Inspector thoroughly check the property to let you know its structural condition.
Inspection of the Strata Roll - This will let you know many important things about the property, including how much the strata levies are, how much money is in the sinking and administrative funds, if there are any special levies coming up, and any other relevant information about the property.
If you are borrowing money to help buy the property, we will need to give your finance provider copies of certain documents. We can contact the person you have been dealing with, in order to avoid unnecessary delays in getting your finance approved.
The Normally you will need to pay 10% of the purchase price to the Vendor’s real estate agent before we commit you to buy the strata property. Sometimes an agreement is reached for a smaller deposit to be paid. If you are not able to pay a deposit, please contact our office to discuss the option of paying a deposit by way of a Deposit Bond.
5.Exchange of contracts
Once all of the above matters have been dealt with, we will confirm with you that you are happy to proceed. If you are, we will exchange the Contract signed by you with the Contract signed by the Vendor. Then the property is off the market!
6. Cooling Off Period
You will have 5 working days to ‘cool off’. This means that if you change your mind about buying the unit, you can still back out (as long as you have not agreed to waive your cooling off rights). If you cool off, you will forfeit to the Vendor 0.25% of the purchase price but you will get back the balance of your deposit and be free to walk away from the Contract.
7. Between exchange and settlement
During this period (usually 4 – 6 weeks) we will conduct enquiries into the title of the property you are buying. Several of these enquiries are to Council, the Water Authority and the Strata Manager to ascertain whether or not rates and levies are paid up to date. We will prepare a Transfer and arrange for it to be stamped by the Office of State Revenue before settlement. We will prepare a Notice which will be sent to the Strata Manager following settlement to let them know that you are the new owner of the property. We will also be working with your finance provider (if applicable) to ensure that everything is in order for settlement to take place on the appointed day.
8. The last week before settlement
We will calculate the amount that you owe the Vendor (including a daily adjustment for any rates and levies together with any other agreed allowances) and make arrangements to collect the money from you and your finance provider (if applicable). You will be able to have a final look at the property to make sure everything is in order before we complete your purchase. We will remind you about this as settlement gets closer. You should then contact the agent to make a time to go back to the property for a final inspection. If everything is in order, we will make arrangements for your purchase to be settled. If there are problems with your final inspection that the agent cannot resolve, let us know and we will contact the Vendor’s solicitor to work things out.
Today is the day you will own your new strata property!
Once we have searched the title one last time, we will attend settlement and ensure that the correct title and transfer documents are handed over. Then we will give the Vendor’s solicitor the balance of money owing on the property. As soon as we return to our office, we will call you to let you know that settlement has taken place. You will then be able to collect the keys from the agent and start moving in!