Buying a house – what are the steps?
I’ve found a house – now what?
We will explain the contract to you, ask the vendor’s solicitor to make any necessary amendments and have you sign the contract.
Before contracts are exchanged, there are a number of things which may need to be attended to.
Pest inspection report
We recommend that a qualified pest inspector thoroughly check the property for you. This will give you information about any damage to the property, such as termite infestation. We are happy to arrange this inspection for you if you wish.
Building inspection report
We recommend that a qualified building inspector thoroughly check the property for you. This will let you know the structural condition of the property. We are happy to arrange this inspection for you if you wish.
Survey identification report
A surveyor can inspect the property you are buying and provide a report which tells you whether or not the house is completely within the boundaries. It will also tell you if the house is clear of any easements at the property, whether or not the fences are in the right place or if any of the neighbouring homes overhang the boundaries. We are happy to arrange this inspection for you if you wish.
Council building certificate
We can arrange for council to inspect the home you are buying. This will let you know whether or not the house has been approved by council or if it has any concerns with the house.
If you are borrowing money to help buy the property, we will need to give your finance provider copies of certain documents. If you let us know how we can contact the person you have been dealing with, this will help us to avoid unnecessary delays in getting your finance approved.
Normally, you will need to pay 10% of the purchase price to the vendor’s real estate agent before we commit you to buy the house. Sometimes an agreement is reached for a smaller deposit to be paid. If you are not able to pay a deposit, please contact our office to discuss the option of paying a deposit by way of a deposit bond.
Exchange of contracts signed by you and the vendor
Once all of the above matters have been dealt with, we will confirm with you that you are happy to proceed. If you are, we will exchange the contract signed by you with the contract signed by the vendor (which their solicitor will have). Then the property is off the market.
You will have five working days as a “cooling off” period. If you change your mind for whatever reason and decide you no longer want to buy the property, you can withdraw from the purchase (as long as you have not agreed to waive your cooling off rights).
If you decide not to buy the house at this point, you will forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price to the vendor, but the rest of the deposit will be returned to you and you will be free to walk away from the contract.
What happens between exchange and settlement?
During this period (usually four to six weeks) we will conduct enquiries into the title of the property you are buying. Several of these enquiries are to council and the water authority to ascertain whether or not rates are paid up to date.
We will prepare a transfer and have it stamped by the Office of State Revenue before settlement.
We will also be working with your finance provider (if applicable) to make sure that everything is in order for settlement to take place on the specified day.
What happens in the last week before settlement?
We will calculate the amount which you owe the seller (including a daily adjustment for any rates levied on the property together with any other agreed allowances) and arrange to collect the money from you and your finance provider (if applicable).
You will be able to have a final look at the property to make sure everything is in order before we finalise your purchase. We will remind you to do this as settlement gets closer. You should then get in touch with the real estate agent to schedule a time to return to the property for a final inspection.
If everything is in order, we will make arrangements for your house purchase to be settled. If there are any problems with your final inspection which the real estate agent cannot resolve, let us know and we will contact the vendor’s solicitor to resolve the matter.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time for you to arrange insurance for your new house.
Settlement – the house is now yours
Today is the day you will own your new house. Once we have searched the title of your new property one last time, we will attend settlement and make sure that the correct title and transfer documents are handed over. Then we will give the vendor’s solicitor the balance of money owing on the house.
We will ring you to let you know that settlement has taken place. You will then be able to collect the keys from the agent and start moving in.