Last week FC Lawyers posted Part One of the Two Part series on Property Acquisition in Queensland. The following is Part Two of the blog post, however if you would like to read Property Acquisition in Queensland Part One, please click here.
Below is an overview of the remaining steps to be taken when buying a property in Queensland.
Get your lawyer to conduct searches
Your lawyer will conduct searches on the property to determine whether there are any matters affecting the property which may be of concern. If there are any adverse findings, you may have rights against the seller or be able to terminate the contract. Your lawyer will advise you of your rights.
Your lawyer should outline which searches they will conduct on your behalf. Notify your lawyer if there are any additional searches you would like performed on your behalf or if you have any specific concerns about the property. Not all adverse search results will give rise to rights against the seller or an ability to terminate the contract.
Generally the buyer has to pay transfer duty on the Contract. Transfer duty can be quite substantial and will vary depending on the purchase price, whether it is an investment or if you are going to live in the property and a number of other factors. Transfer duty must be paid within 30 days of the contract becoming unconditional and is usually collected by your lawyer, together with any additional funds required to complete settlement. Your lawyer will advise you of the amount required for transfer duty and once received will arrange stamping of the contract and transfer and payment of the transfer duty with the Office of State Revenue.
Arrange a pre-settlement inspection with the agent
In most instances, the buyer has the right to conduct an inspection of the property prior to settlement. A pre-settlement inspection is usually conducted by the buyer 1-2 days prior to settlement in the presence of the agent. The purpose of the pre-settlement inspection is to ensure that the property is in the same condition as when the buyer contracted to purchase it and that any included chattels remain at the property. You should contact your lawyer immediately if there is an issue with your pre-settlement inspection as it is imperative that these matters be resolved prior to settlement.
The lawyers for the seller and buyer will prepare settlement calculations taking into account the amount of the deposit already paid, rates, water, and body corporate levy apportionment (if applicable) and any other necessary adjustments. Your lawyer will liaise with your financier in relation to the funds required for settlement and any release of mortgage required from the seller’s financier. If you have obtained a loan to purchase the property, there may be a shortfall of funds and you will have to ensure that these funds are ready to complete the purchase. Please ensure that you follow any direction given to you by your lawyer in relation to additional funds required for settlement to avoid any delays or breaches of contract.
Other things to do
Your lawyer should provide you with an initial letter which outlines important contract information and things for you to do. Please read this information carefully and provide your lawyer with any requested information/documents as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays.
The lawyers for the seller and buyer each will attend settlement to exchange the purchase price (less any deposit paid by the buyer) for the documents to change the title. You as the buyer are now free to get the keys and take possession of the property.
Generally, the agent will hold the keys for the property until settlement has occurred. The parties’ lawyers will notify the agent once settlement has occurred and the agent may then release the keys to the buyer. However, the buyer can arrange in advance for the seller to provide the keys to its lawyer at settlement if this is preferable for the buyer.
Transfer of title
Once settlement has been effected, the documentation to transfer the title will then be lodged with the Land Titles Registry and within a few days, the title will be updated to reflect you as the new owner. If the buyer has a financier at settlement, its financier will be responsible for lodging the transfer of title. The buyer should seek confirmation from his/her lawyer or financier (depending on who lodged the documents) that the transfer of title has occurred. The local council will update its records upon registration of the transfer of title at the Land Titles Registry.
The buyer’s lawyer will also notify the body corporate (if applicable) of the change of ownership.
Safety switch, smoke alarms and pool safety certificate
As the new owner of the property, you are required to ensure that the property has a compliant safety switch, smoke alarm(s) and pool safety certificate (if applicable) within 90 days of settlement.
Enjoy your new property!
It is important that you remember to act in a timely manner throughout the buying process. Remember that the seller is not obliged to agree to any extension of any due date under the contract and may have rights to terminate the contract, forfeit your deposit and sue you if you do not comply with your obligations under the contract by the dates required.
FC Lawyers are experienced property lawyers and have helped thousands of people who were looking at buying a property.
Our property team have assisted many clients through the property acquisition stages. Please contact us with any questions that you may have before, during or after buying a property.