Buying or Selling a House? Before You Sign.
Buying or Selling can be a stressful process. We know you are keen and enthusiastic about signing the Contract however it is always a good idea to know some of the procedures before you do.
The Contract for the sale/purchase of a house most widely used by Real Estate Agents is the current edition of the REIQ and Queensland Law Society prepared Residential House and Land Contract. This must be done before you think about conveyancing.
There is another version of a Contract for the sale/purchase of residential house and land however this is not as widely used by Real Estate Agents.
The Contract is made up of the Reference Schedule and the Standard Terms and Conditions.
In most cases the Real Estate Agent will have a draft Contract prepared when the property is placed on the market. The Contract will show the name and contact details for the selling Real Estate Agent. The property address is noted in the Contract together with the real description of the property, this comprises of the Lot and Plan number and also the title reference. The Seller will have been requested to provide the Real Estate Agent with their details and other information for the Contract such as their Lawyer’s details which are inserted into the Contract. The Buyer’s details and price are usually left blank to be completed when a Buyer makes an offer.
There are other items to be completed such as confirmation that safety switches and smoke alarms are installed and advices as to whether there are any QCAT disputes over trees and/or fences. The Contract may also be subject to finance approval and whether the Buyer intends to conduct a building and pest inspection. All this information is completed within the Contract and when the Contract is correct with all relevant information, including the Seller and Buyer’s details, their Lawyer’s details and most importantly the Purchase Price with the Initial Deposit and Balance of Deposit and its due date (if applicable) it will be presented to the Buyer for signing. When signing the Contract it is the Buyer/s who signs first, which the Real Estate Agent refers to as “making an offer”.
Before you sign. This is the time you should take the Contract to your Lawyer to check and discuss with you. Your Lawyer will ensure the Contract reflects your best interests and satisfy any concerns you may have in relation to the Contract and the property. Any amendments required to the Contract will be made by the Lawyer and the Real Estate Agent advised. It will be too late to add conditions after you sign the contract.
You have seen the property, spoken with the Real Estate Agent and taken the Contract to your Lawyer to check and discuss with you. You are confident the Contract reflects your best interests and you are now eager to sign the Contract.
In accordance with the terms of the Contract you will be asked to initial the bottom of every page and then sign as Buyer/s. You will be required to have your signature witnessed by a person over the age of 18. Your Lawyer can and does in most cases witness your signature to ensure that the Contract is signed correctly.
The Contract is then presented to the Seller to sign. The Seller will consider your offer, may ask his Lawyer to check the Contract before he signs and once satisfied with the Contract sign the Contract.
Occasionally there may be negotiations between the parties with regard to the final agreed Purchase Price. The Real Estate Agent will attend to any negotiations between the parties in relation to the Purchase Price.
It may take a few offers before the Purchase Price is agreed to and finalised and any amendment/s to the Contract by hand must be initialled by all parties.
When the Contract is signed by all parties, the Initial Deposit has been paid and the Real Estate Agent has signed off as Deposit Holder the Contract will become a legally binding Contract and the Real Estate Agent will forward a copy of the executed Contract to the Seller and Buyer’s solicitor.
Please feel free to contact McColm Matsinger Lawyers to assist with reviewing your Contract before you sign.