Know Your Budget
When you are buying you will need to keep in mind exactly how much you can afford, before you start house hunting it’s a good idea to be pre-approved for your home loan. That way you’ll know exactly what you can spend and therefore what sort of property to look for. Pre-approval also gives home sellers a strong signal that you’re serious and ready to buy.
Locate an Experienced Solicitor or Conveyancer
Find a solicitor or conveyancer who is experienced in conveyancing, the Law Society of NSW has a list of solicitors by local area.
As conveyancing fees are deregulated, it’s wise to shop around and compare quotes. Check whether the fees charged include disbursements such as searches, photocopying and other searches.
Finding Your Home
Prepare a short list of the areas that are comparable with your budget and your lifestyle, include, location, style, size, age, etc. but remember to be flexible.
Once your requirements are determined, start your search.
Speak with the property consultants at Pam Easson Real Estate and ask to be placed onto our database; that way you will be alerted to any new listings before they are advertised.
To avoid the disappointment of seeing a sold sign on the property of your dreams, make sure you register your interest with a consultant.
Making an Offer
You’ve been searching for that perfect property and now found one you view as ideal. After discussion of all the relevant factors you have decided to make an offer on that property.
You may be tempted to make a low offer in the hope of grabbing a bargain, however be warned as others may also be making offers. If their offer is higher you may well miss out. If you really want the property, make sure your offer is realistic.
What happens then?
If your offer is not accepted, the agent will inform you accordingly, the agent may advise you of what the owner is willing to accept - this may be a change in settlement terms or an increase in your offer.
If your offer is accepted, you will be asked to enter into a contract to purchase the property. (See exchanging contracts bellow)
Exchanging sale contracts is the legal part of buying a home.
The contract sets out the terms and conditions of the sale. It also identifies items such as floor coverings, light fittings, curtains and blinds and other inclusions that are either included or excluded in the contract.
There are two copies of the sale contract – one for you and one for the seller. You each sign one copy before they are swapped or “exchanged”.
Only when both seller and buyer have signed the contract and exchanged copies do you both become bound by the contract. Following exchange, you have a financial interest in the property so it’s wise to get it insured.
At the time of the exchange you will be required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price, the deposit will be held either by the agent or vendor's solicitor in a trust account. The contract will stipulate the deposit details.
There are two methods to exchange contracts:
1) Agent to exchange (cooling off provisions apply)
You and the vendor authorise the agent to conduct the exchange of contracts, you sign the contract with the agent.
The cooling-off period (usually 5 days) allows you time to conduct searches, obtain pest and building reports and confirm your finances. If you do not continue with the purchase, you will forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price from the deposit you have paid.
The cooling-off period starts as soon as you exchange and ends at 5pm on the fifth business day.
2) Solicitor to exchange
The buyer and the seller sign the contract with their solicitors and the solicitors exchange the contract.
The buyer waives the cooling-off period by giving the seller a “66w certificate”, the certificate needs to be signed by your solicitor.
Settlement usually takes place six weeks after contracts are exchanged. This is when you become the legal owner of the property. The balance of the purchase price and other adjustments are paid on this date.
Your solicitor should advise you to inspect the property prior to settlement (pre-settlement inspection), contact the agent and make an appointment to view the property; if there are any issues or concerns with the property during this inspection you should advise your solicitor.
Once settlement has occurred your solicitor will issue the "order on the agent" to the vendor's solicitor which is then forwarded onto the agent allowing the agent to release the keys to the purchaser and deposit held in trust to the vendor.