Selling a property
Selling a property? We can help you get the best price possible for your property by ensuring all of the legal aspects of the property sale are in order.
We have many years of experience selling property. We can assist you with all aspects of the selling process, including the sale of your house or residential property, unit, rural property, or block of land. We will ensure that you understand every step along the way towards your property sale.
The process for selling a property includes:
1. Marketing your property
First you need to decide on the best way to promote your property. Talk to a few real estate agents to get their advice on what your property is worth and how best to market it, before appointing one.
Before you can offer your property for sale, you must have a marketing contract available to any prospective buyer. That’s where we come in. There are a number of documents which must be attached to the contract, including a title search, plan and any registered dealings, a zoning certificate and a drainage diagram. We will get these from the relevant authorities on your behalf and prepare the marketing contract.
We will give you a questionnaire (Disclosure Statement) which you must complete honestly. Your answers will help us ensure that the contract contains all the information and documents required by law. The contract will include a list of items included (or excluded) together with details of any particular special conditions attached to your sale.
If your property is a recently built house, or has had renovations or extensions, there are additional documents we will need to include in the contract. The marketing contract we prepare will not necessarily be the contract which is used when a buyer is found.
2. Agreeing to sell
We will answer any legal questions that prospective buyers have (usually via their solicitor) about the property. When a buyer comes along with an offer that you are willing to accept, we will need to be notified so we can prepare a sale contract. This is when all terms of the contract are finalised. You will also need to decide what completion date (also called Settlement) to put on the contract. Anything from 4 to 6 weeks is fairly standard but this can be tailored to suit your needs or as agreed between you and the buyer. We will issue 2 copies of the sale contract. One is to be signed by you (the Vendor) and the other is to be signed by the buyer.
3. Exchange of contracts
After you have accepted the buyer’s offer, they may want to carry out pest or building inspections and make arrangements for finance. When they have decided to definitely proceed, their legal representative will send us the contract that the buyer has signed. On that day, we will contact you to make sure you still want to go ahead. If so, we will ensure the deposit has been paid, date both contracts and send the buyer’s legal representative the contract which you have signed. This is called exchange and is the point in time at which both parties are legally bound to the sale.
Up until exchange, either party can withdraw from the sale with no penalty – even if contracts have been signed and / or a deposit has been paid. Usually, the deposit is held in the agent’s trust account between exchange and settlement.
When contracts exchange, the timing for completion begins to run. Between exchange and completion we will answer questions which may be asked by the buyer’s legal representative about the property’s title. We will draft answers based on the information you have given us in the questionnaire and ask you to confirm that the answers are still correct. We will also need you to sign a Transfer. It is important that you return these documents to us promptly in order to avoid any delay with settlement.
If there is a mortgage on the property’s title, we will contact your mortgagee to arrange a discharge and liaise with them until settlement. You will also need to contact them as they may need you to sign a discharge authority. If there is no mortgage on the property’s title, we will need you to give us the title deed so we can hold it in our safe until settlement – unless we already do.
In the last few days before settlement, the buyer is entitled to a final inspection of the property. They will need to make arrangements with the marketing agent to make a time to go through the property. If there is no agent involved in your sale, the buyer will contact you directly to make these arrangements. If all is in order, settlement will go ahead on the appointed day.
The buyer is entitled to take possession of the property on the completion date and you will need to make arrangements to be out of the property on that date. It is okay if you move out
on the completion date. You should leave the property in a condition that you would be happy with if you were the buyer. Settlement takes place wherever the title deed is.
On the completion date, we will attend settlement on your behalf. The amount payable at settlement by the buyer will include a pro rata adjustment for council and water rates. The adjustment will ensure that you pay rates up to the completion date and the buyer pays rates from that date forward. If your rates are paid in advance, you will be reimbursed on settlement.
Following settlement, we will authorise the agent to release the deposit (minus their commission) to you. You should make sure that you let the agent know how to get those funds to you. Once settlement has taken place we will notify you. We can deposit any surplus funds into your nominated bank account or send you a cheque if you prefer.
And that’s it - your property sale is complete!