Buying Property : Selling Property : Wollondilly : Conveyancing : Wollondilly and the NSW Conveyancing Centre

Wollondilly and the NSW Conveyancing Centre

Buying a Property


Prior to committing to the purchase of a property, we recommend that pre-purchase inspections are carried out, in particular pest and building inspections.

The cost of these reports varies greatly depending on the suburb in which the property being purchased is located in. We are happy to obtain quotes and order the reports on your behalf, ensuring that the inspectors are suitably qualified and insured.

The Building report will generally cover the following matters:

  • Identify significant building Defects
  • Identify any safety hazards
  • Comment on the general condition of the property

The Pest Report will generally cover the following matters:

  • Identify whether or not there are any termites or timber destroying pests currently present in the dwelling or surrounds
  • Identify whether or not there is any damage to the dwelling or surrounds, caused by a prior presence of these pests
  • Identify any high risk areas that may require attention to avoid any future pest activity

Identification Survey

An Identification Survey identifies the following:

  • The exact location of any structures on the property (such as the dwelling, carports, garden sheds, swimming pools), are shown to ensure that all are within the boundaries
  • The location of any easements on the property is shown. Fencing irregularities will be identified
  • Any encroachments will be identified

The costs of a Survey Report vary depending on the suburb in which the property being purchased is located in and also the size of the property. We are happy to obtain quotes and order the reports on your behalf, ensuring that the Surveyors are suitably qualified and insured.

Other Inspections and Reports

There are a number of other inspections that may be necessary. We will assess which reports may be necessary for your individual property and will advise you on these matters further. We will ensure that any reports required will be carried out by suitable experts of their field.

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There are many places you can apply for a loan, the banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders or a finance broker. It is wise to shop around and do your homework before you apply so that you have an idea of what is being explained to you. There are so many different types of loans it is difficult to be in a position to understand all the complexities of the different types of loans.

If you have decided on which type of loan you require you can apply direct to the finance provider you have chosen. If you are unsure then it may be a good idea to consult a finance broker. Finance brokers have access to many banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders and can find the loan that best suites your needs. Normally there is no extra cost for using a broker because the finance provider pays the brokers fee for referring the loan to them.

We will ask that you provide us with a copy of your written unconditional loan approval before you commit to an unconditional exchange of Contracts and we will work together with you and your bank/lender throughout your transaction.

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When there is more than one person buying a property the title can be held in one of two ways.

Joint Tenants

Joint Tenants means that each person owns the property jointly and equally. On the death of any one owner, the property automatically passes to the remaining joint tenants or tenant. There can be more than two people holding the property in this manner.

Tenants in Common

When purchasing a property as Tenants in Common, each person owns a share in the property and on the death of any one owner, the deceased’s share passes to whoever inherits their estate. The property can be held in equal shares or in whatever shares the owners wish to hold title. There can be two or more persons holding the property in this manner.

If more than one couple purchase a property each couple can hold shares in equal or unequal shares and at the same time purchase their own share as joint tenants.

Regardless of whether you decide to purchase property as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common we recommend that every property owner maintains a current Will.

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When purchasing property such as a unit, townhouse, villa or apartment you will likely be purchasing a property under “strata title”.

There are some restrictions imposed on people living in Strata Schemes. These restrictions are normally imposed for the benefit of all the occupants, and cover matters such as the keeping of animals, noise, parking, drying washing, moving furniture etc.

In most cases, when living in a strata complex you will be liable to pay quarterly levies. These levies cover the cost of maintaining the common property (the part of the buildings and surrounds owned and maintained by the ‘Owners Corporation’) and maintaining Insurance.

Prior to committing to the purchase of a property in a strata scheme, we recommend that you obtain a “strata inspection report” in relation to the complex. Such report will identify the manner in which the strata scheme is managed, it will identify what levies are payable in relation to the Lot being purchased and will include, where applicable, a copy of the minutes of the previous meetings of the Owners Corporation. The strata report will often identify pest and building concerns. It is recommended that consideration be given to obtaining separate pest and building reports once reading the contents of the strata report. We can order a strata inspection report on your behalf.

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What does it mean to "Exchange Contracts"?

The Exchange of Contracts is the point when the Contracts are dated. The Contract for Sale signed by the purchaser/s is retained by the vendors Conveyancer and the Contract for Sale signed by the vendor/s is retained by the purchasers Conveyancer. The deposit payable to the vendor is paid to the deposit holder (normally the Real Estate Agent) and the Contracts become binding on all parties (unless the Contract is subject to a cooling off period).

Prior to exchanging Contracts you should ensure that you are satisfied with the results of any pre-purchase inspections obtained on your behalf and we will ask that you provide us with a copy of your written unconditional loan approval.

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As a purchaser you are entitled to, and should take advantage of, a pre-settlement or final inspection of the property before you make the final payment and take occupation of the property.

Once settlement takes place it is too late to be finding that some of the inclusions are missing or that something has been damaged. It is extremely difficult to be able to have repairs done or inclusions returned after the seller has left and settlement completed.

The ideal time to do the pre-settlement inspection is immediately before the settlement, however this is usually not very practical. It is usually done the day before the settlement. This way if there is a problem there is some time to sort out the problem before settlement. If there is some concern that something may go missing or damage be done between the inspection and settlement then you have no alternative than to re-inspect just before settlement takes place.

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What is Settlement?

Settlement is the moment your purchase is finalised.

The day of settlement is determined firstly by the date of exchange of contracts and is normally 42 days after that date. It is possible for settlement to take place on an earlier or a later date if both parties agree.

Contracts normally have a condition that if settlement is delayed through no fault of the vendor then the purchaser will pay interest to the vendor in compensation for the delay in settlement. There is normally no penalty on the vendor for delaying settlement.

If when signing the contract, you consider the settlement date is not convenient to you it should be discussed with us at that time. It is too late to realise the settlement date is not convenient after the contract is exchanged, unless by chance the vendor agrees.

The parties normally attending a settlement will be the conveyancer for the buyer, the buyer's lender, the conveyancer for the seller and the sellers discharging lender.

On the date of settlement, the amount paid to the vendor will include your portion of water rates (paid up to the end of the current quarter) and your portion of council rates (paid up to the end of the financial year, or the end of the current quarter). Any outstanding rates and charges payable to the council or water authority will be paid from the vendors funds on settlement.

If you require finance to complete your purchase, the settlement date will be the day in which your loan will be drawn down. We will arrange for the necessary cheques required for settlement to be provided to us by your lender. If you are required to contribute additional funds to complete your purchase, we will calculate the exact amount required from you and once we are advised by the vendors conveyancer as to how the cheques are required to be drawn, we will advise you.. The cheques MUST BE BANK CHEQUES, as Credit Union, Building Society or personal cheques will not be accepted on settlement.

You are not required to attend the settlement venue as we will attend on your behalf.

It is at settlement that the deeds to the property are handed over for payment of the sale price. The title deeds and any related documents will be held by your lender until such time as the loan is repaid.

We will contact you immediately once settlement has been effected and we will also notify the agent (if any) to ensure that you are able to collect the keys to your new property as soon as possible. Settlement can generally take place any time between 11.00a.m and 3.30p.m on the day of settlement. We will confirm the scheduled time with you prior to the day as you can not move into the property until settlement is completed.

Following settlement, your bank (if any) will register the necessary Transfer and Mortgage documents with the Land and Property Information office (the LPI). Once advised us the change of ownership, the LPI will notify the Council and water authorities of the change and all future notices should be sent to you. If you do not have a bank involved in the purchase, we will attend to the registration of the Transfer documents with the LPI on your behalf.

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Council Rates

The Contract provides that council rates be adjusted between the vendor(the seller) and purchaser as at the settlement date. Council rates are levied for the financial year. Rates will be adjusted so that the vendor pays the rates up until the day of settlement and the purchaser will be liable from then until the end of the rating period. They are adjusted as if the rates are paid in full regardless of whether they are in fact paid or not. Any outstanding rates are paid from the sale proceeds (being the vendor’s money).

Council rates may be paid by instalments but are an annual levy and so it is normal practice to adjust the rates for the next full year not according to what instalment may be due next.

The rates are a charge on the land and any outstanding rates become the liability of the purchaser, so it is essential that they are paid up to date at settlement. One of the inquiry certificates the purchaser’s conveyancer will obtain is from council and sets out the amount of the annual rates, what payments have been made and what is outstanding.

Water Rates

In some country areas the water rates are paid to council and may be incorporated within the council rates. In other areas were a separate water authority (such as Sydney Water) supplies the water and/or sewer, an adjustment of these rates must be made at settlement.

Water rates are usually quarterly rates and the adjustment made will only be for the current quarter. The same principals apply to water rates as they do for council rates.

A water usage charge may have to be paid by the vendor. To asses whether a charge is payable or not can be done in one of two ways:

  1. A meter reading can be organised, this will cost whoever organises it whatever the authority charges for a meter reading
  2. An estimate can be done, by using the last quarter’s water usage charge.

It is usual to use the estimate system to calculate the usage charge because quite often the cost of having the meter read is more than the charge itself. The seller will make an allowance to the purchaser for the usage charge so that when the actual bill for water usage is received the whole bill becomes the purchaser’s responsibility.

Strata Levies – Unit, Townhouse, Villa.

If you are purchasing a lot in a strata scheme the quarterly strata levy will need to be adjusted. This levy is adjusted in the same manner as council rates except that they are adjusted on the quarterly not annual rate. The quarter for strata levies may begin at any time, they are not necessarily the quarters of the calendar year. Because the levies commenced on a date determined at the first annual general meeting held by the Owners Corporation the quarterly levies can commence at any date but for convenience it is usually (but not necessarily) from the beginning of a month.

There may also be special levies to take into consideration. A special levy is struck when, and if, there are not enough funds held by the owners corporation to cover either the normal running expenses or a special job has to be carried out and there are not enough funds held to cover the cost of that job.

Normally a special levy struck before the date of the contract has to be paid in full by the seller. Some times the special levy may be paid by instalments, if this is the case all instalments must be paid by the seller. If however a special levy is struck after the date of the contract then that levy is adjusted between seller and buyer.

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A Deposit Bond is a guarantee that while the deposit is not paid at the exchange of contracts it will be paid on completion . If the buyer is in default the underwriter guarantees payment to the vendor of the amount equal to the amount of the guarantee (being an amount of no more than 10% of the purchase price). A deposit bond is usually used when the buyer is selling and all proceeds are coming from their sale or the buyer is borrowing 100% of the purchase price or for some other reason the buyer does not have a cash deposit.

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ABN: 59 520 587 360 - Licensee: Nicole Garner - License No: 1102080

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this web site are for informative purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.