Making an offer

Missing out on a property that you have your heart set on can be a very upsetting experience. Often this happens because the process of making an offer and securing the property is misunderstood. It is important to be aware of the following:

  • The agent will submit all offers to the seller.
  • The property remains on the market while the seller considers all offers.
  • An offer may be made subject to a finance clause, i.e. bank approval, sale of an existing property or another consideration such as a pest and builder’s inspection.
  • You can make your offer conditional on certain items or terms (such as a cubby house being included or excluded and must be written into the contract).
  • An accepted offer is not legally binding on both parties until both the buyer and seller have signed the contract, a deposit is paid and the contracts have been exchanged.

Exchange of contracts: This is a formal legal process that creates a binding contract for the sale of real property. The vendor and purchaser both sign a copy of the sale contract. The buyer pays their deposit and then exchange these documents, which then becomes legally binding on the parties and proceed to settlement, subject to any cooling off period that may apply. Any party that declines to proceed to settlement may forfeit deposit monies or be subject to a damages claim.

Settlement: This is the final stage of the sale when the purchaser completes the payment of the contract price to the vendor and takes legal possession of the property getting the keys and moving in.

Resources to help find a property

There are a number of ways to search for potential properties.

These include:

  • Real estate agents;
  • Real estate industry magazines and newspapers;
  • Home renovation and lifestyle programs; and
  • Real estate websites on the Internet.

Also consider talking to builders who are constructing houses in the areas you prefer, as they have an idea on values and trends. Consider attending real estate industry seminars and auctions or dropping into an ‘Open Inspection’.

Some people use a buyer’s agent, which is a professionally qualified property consultant who acts solely for the buyer by sourcing suitable properties and representing the buyer throughout the buying process.

Handy hints before moving into your new home

  • Connect the electricity, water, gas, internet supplier and telephone.
  • Check the locks, remote controls, alarms and smoke detectors in your new home as soon as possible.
  • Ensure you have house and contents insurance.
  • Provide a secure environment for pets.
  • Register to vote in your new electorate.

Preparing to Buy

  1. Speak with your financier, mortgage broker or your finance consultant to arrange the best loan to suit your needs.
  2. Prepare a short list of preferred suburbs that suit your lifestyle, bearing in mind affordability and accommodation requirements.
  3. Research sales in those preferred suburbs. Inspect every property in your preferred suburb so you have a good feel for the prices. Attend all open homes in the area.
  4. Develop a relationship with the professional real estate agent of your choice who specialise in your preferred area. This local consultant will be able to advise you of any additional information you may need and also inform you how you can register on their website to automatically receive notification of any new listings that hit the market.
  5. When you find a property that suits your requirements, ask your agent to send a copy of the sale contract to your solicitor or conveyancer.
  6. If you are considering making an offer, we recommend that you contact your agent promptly who can guide you if you are in any way unsure of the process.
  7. Your solicitor or conveyancer can arrange a building inspection to make sure you are aware of any possible major defects.
  8. Following your solicitors or conveyancer’s advice on the sale contract and taking into consideration the building reports, you are now able to make an informed decision to proceed with the purchase of the property.
  9. Now you will be required to sign the sale contract, pay a 10% deposit and exchange the contract unconditionally. Your deposit will be held in a trust account until settlement and the property is now taken off the market.
  10. Just prior to your settlement day it is advisable that you do a final inspection of your new property. This is to ensure that the property is in the same condition as when you last inspected it, and that all inclusions are as per the contract you signed.