DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO PURCHASING A HOME

Property Conveyancing

At Four Points Conveyancing, we’re big supporters of our clients chasing the great Australian dream of owning a home or building on their property investment portfolios.

We’re here to help our clients navigate what should be an exciting process. We want to help you avoid the dream turning into a nightmare by helping you avoid common mistakes, like overlooking critical details or rushing through vital paperwork.

To ensure your home ends up being everything you’ve dreamed of, it’s important to seek independent, expert advice at various stages in the buying process. We recommend always talking to an Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC) member before you consider buying or selling or signing a contract.

A good conveyancer will ensure you understand your rights and obligations before diving into buying and make you aware of all likely fees and contracts so you can budget and prepare. The team Four Points Conveyancing have decades of experience guiding homeowners through the real estate maze. We love to share our knowledge with our clients and cater our service to individual needs to help them achieve their real estate goals. Our clients come first — to us you’re not just a file, you’re a person.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to put together this definitive guide to purchasing your home. We want you to be equipped with all the information you need to have a stress-free buying experience. This guide is designed to be kept on hand throughout every stage of the process and give you confidence at each step.

We’re always here to help — to chat about how we can best help you, you can give us a call on +61(08) 8271 1123 or visit our website.

Please note, this guide is just that — a guide. It’s not meant to replace independent, professional advice and we cannot be held liable for any losses you experience as a result of following the advice listed. Please seek professional advice before implementing any of the strategies suggested here.


Table Of Contents:

1) Start your research early
2) Hire your team
3) Do i need a real estate agent?
4) Determine how much house you can afford
5) Get prequalified and preapproved for credit for your mortgage
6) Search for your Home and make an offer
7) Make an offer
8) Get an inspection
9) Have the home appraised
10) Coordinate the sale paperwork
11) Close the Sale


START YOUR RESEARCH EARLY

conveyancer adelaide The great Australian dream of owning your own home is still alive. If you do the work and do the research, you’ll get there sooner than you think!

Buying a home is a major life decision, so treat it with the care and hard work it deserves.

The key to success in buying property is the same achieving success in most things: prepare early. Preparing early will give you valuable peace of mind and confidence as you go into the buying process. You’ll become sure of your goals, your purchasing limits, and your strategies, as well as having the quiet confidence of knowing you’ve done all the preparation you can.

As soon as you can, start researching!
  • Check out websites like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au
  • Read newspapers and magazines that have real estate listings
  • Attend open inspections to get an idea of the house features you’re looking for
  • Make a list of what you’re looking for in a home

While looking at home listings, take note of:
  • How long the houses you love stay on the market
  • Any changes in asking prices
  • Sold prices

By doing this type of research early, you’ll be gaining an understanding of housing trends in your favoured areas and market value — which will help later on when you’re making an offer on the house you love.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conveyancing


HIRE YOUR TEAM

Conveyancing Adelaide Your house is the biggest investment of your lifetime! To get it right, you may want to hire professionals who will have your back every step of the way.

This is where property conveyancing comes in. In case you’re confused about how a conveyancer can help you, we’ve explained some important aspects of conveyancing below!

WHAT IS CONVEYANCING?

Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land (property) from one person or entity to another.

WHAT IS A CONVEYANCER?

The transfer of property from one owner to another is a major legal transaction. A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional whose job it is to provide advice and information about the sale of a property, prepare the documentation and conduct the settlement process.

Conveyancers don’t necessarily have to be lawyers, but solicitors do often undertake this work.

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/advice/how-conveyancing-works/

DO I NEED A CONVEYANCER?

Legally, no! But unless you find a good conveyancer to step onto your team, you could find yourself in some legal — and financial — trouble further down the road.

Unless you are confident you know the legal ins and outs of a legal property agreement, we recommend a conveyancer! A good conveyancer is worth their weight in gold.

Hiring a conveyancer can help to take the pressure off. From the moment you decide to buy we take care of all the details for you. A good conveyancer will keep you regularly updated with the progress of your transaction and will be available to answer any of your queries along the way.

WHAT DOES A CONVEYANCER DO?

A good conveyancer will help you with legal documentation and the settlement process, and can assist you with any vital questions you have along the way.

A conveyancer will:
  • Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents – e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
  • Research the property and its certificate of title – check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
  • Put the deposit money in a trust account
  • Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
  • Settle the property – act on your behalf, advise you when the property is settled, contact your bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
  • Represent your interest with a vendor or their agent
  • Help to decide the most advantageous date of settlement
  • Help you avoid some unusual terms or conditions in contacts

WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR A CONVEYANCER?

As early as possible in the house buying process. Although conveyancers are adept at the paperwork towards the business end of the house buying process, they can also help you with any questions you have early on!

It’s okay to search around and find a conveyancer your trust and feel comfortable with. You’ll want to do this early on, before you’re even close to signing any contracts. We’ve included some questions below you’ll want to ask a conveyancer before hiring them.

When you’ve found your home and are ready to buy, the real estate agent involved will ask you to provide contact details of your conveyancer in order to organise the sales and purchase agreement — it’s best to not be caught out at this point without a conveyancer.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL CONVEYANCER:

  • Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
  • What types of property do you specialise in?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • What will it cost – what are your fees and charges?
  • What fees will I have to pay at settlement?
  • Are there any hidden costs I should know about?
  • How will you communicate with me and how often?
  • On settlement day, what time frames will apply? This last question is important if you are arranging movers and other parties.

TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUR CONVEYANCER:

  • Talk to your conveyancer before you sign any paperwork:
    Better to be safe than sorry! Unless you have a solid understanding of legal agreements, it’s best to seek advice from your conveyancer prior to signing any documents so you aren’t signing on to anything that could potentially harm you financially.

  • Sign paperwork sent to you by your conveyancer as soon as it arrives
    When you receive documents from your conveyancer, it’s best to sign and return them in a timely manner. That way if there are any problems with your contracts, they can be sorted out early and you will avoid any delay in the purchase of your home. If you have any questions about the documents your conveyancer is asking you to sign, please ask before signing!

  • Tell your conveyancer everything about your situation and communicate clearly with them
    The more a conveyancer knows in relation to your real estate deal and objectives, along with relevant information about your personal circumstances and finances, the better they’ll be able to assist you and tailor their service to your needs. They’ll also be able to better identify any problems in your real estate contracts that could prove harmful to you and resolve them.
Source: https://www.aicsa.com.au/aboutconveyancing/choosing-a-conveyancer-when-what-how


DO I NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Conveyancers Adelaide Whether you choose to hire a real estate agent will depend on your individual circumstances. There’s no requirement for you to hire a real estate agent, but you might find it useful dpeneding on your objectives. While deciding whether you need the assistance of a real estate agent, it might be helpful to consider:
  • How much knowledge you possess about the local real estate market
  • Whether you’re confident negotiating open inspections and auctions
  • How much time you have to invest in the house buying process
  • Whether you’re searching for a high-end or low-end property
  • How much help you think you’ll need throughout the house buying process
The right real estate agent can make finding the right home for you a breeze and help to take the pressure off your shoulders. It can be a good idea to consider partnering with an agent early in the process to help you make well-informed decisions as you go.

Real estate agents generally have years of experience that can give you an advantage over other buyers. They can provide you with helpful information on the following:
  • The advantages and disadvantages of particular homes and neighbourhoods
  • Insider neighbourhood and house knowledge that isn’t well-known to the public
  • Tips and tricks of the home buying process
  • Sound negotiating skills

SHOP AROUND

It’s a good idea to shop around and find the right agent for you. If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to find a conveyancer, too!

While searching for your agent, keep in mind the following don’ts!
  • If you’re uneasy with advice you’re receiving from an agent, don’t hesitate to ask more questions and don’t feel pressured into signing a contract with them
  • Don’t be afraid to get second and third opinions
  • Don’t sign anything until you’ve found an agent you’re completely happy with
  • Dont be tempted to go with an agent simply because they’re the cheapest or charging the lowest commission — it will likely cost you more in the long run because of poorer decisions made due to their inexperience!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for an agent who has a proven sales record and history of delivering on promises for clients
If you can’t find a real estate agent that feels like the right fit for you, don’t stress. A good conveyancer (like one of our team at Fourpoints) will be able to help you with many of the situations and questions a real estate agent can.


DETERMINE HOW MUCH HOUSE YOU CAN AFFORD

Before you get too far into the house-hunting process it’s vital to set up price limits and budgeting strategies so you don’t take a wrong turn later in the process you’ll regret. The dream can become a nightmare for many first home buyers who take on too much debt!

Start by thinking about what you can afford. Consider your future plans — whether it’s having children, going back to study or other circumstances, and weigh up how these situations will impact your income and your ability to make mortgage repayments. Be realistic about it.

Lenders generally recommend potential homeowners should only look for homes that cost no more than three to five times their annual household income — and this is only if you’re planning to make a 20% down payment and have only moderate amounts of other debt.

AIM FOR 20

Starting with a 20% deposit is a great first goal to establish. For most people it might seem a huge job, but it’s achievable and will reduce your mortgage by many years. You can set up an automatic savings system with automatic deposits into an account so you’ll be on track to reach your savings goals without even thinking about it.

If you’ve achieved a 20% deposit, consider whether you can keep your good momentum going. Can you maintain the savings targets that got you there to help you own your own home quicker? Think about financial strategies you can implement to get you closer to owning your home outright, rather than just putting down a deposit and struggling to cope with a mortgage for decades. It’s important to set realistic goals rather than set up impossible savings targets you won’t be able to sustain in the long run.

DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

Determining how much house you can afford should be based on your own individual financial situation. To help you make this decision, you can seek advice from a variety of professionals and experts ranging from financial advisers to bank staff. There’s also a huge variety of online affordability calculators you can use to guide your planning. Ensure any advice you take on comes from a reliable source, and keep in mind any vested interests of the people you speak to! Don’t be talked into borrowing more than will be comfortable for you to repay.

TAKE NOTES

At this point it’s a good idea to write down any savings targets and buying price limits you’ve decided on, along with the reasons behind your decisions. Doing this will mean you can refer back to them as you progress through the house buying process — they’ll serve as helpful reminders in times where you might find yourself tempted to take on extra debt in order to get your hands on that house that is just a little bit nicer and pricier than the one you had originally planned on buying!


GET PREQUALIFIED AND PREAPPROVED FOR CREDIT FOR YOUR MORTGAGE

The next part of working out how much you can afford to spend on your house is to seek prequalification for a mortgage.

This step will help you to double-check whether you got your sums right while deciding your budget limits, as suggested in the previous step.

Chatting with a mortgage broker will help you to identify how much you can comfortably borrow. Keep in mind it’s a good idea not to automatically borrow the top-end amount the broker may suggest, to ensure you’re not overstretching your budget.

A mortgage broker will be able to tell you if you’ll need to apply for mortgage insurance, and make suggestions on the price ranges for properties that may suit you. As with every step of the house buying process, you may want to seek second and third opinions.

While comparing mortgage brokers, compare the options available to you, and consider whether you’d prefer a fixed-rate interest amount or a rate that adjusts with the market. It’s important to note a fixed-rate interest amount could mean you are locked in to a higher amount despite interest rates dropping for others. The choice you make depends entirely on your individual circumstances and financial objectives.

Typical information you’ll need to provide to a mortgage broker in order for them to assess your situation includes:
  • Information about your income
  • If self-employed, information about the reliability of your income
  • Any savings amounts you have
  • Any debt you have
  • Any investments you have
As part of seeking loan pre-approval you’ll need to provide documents to prove the above information is true and correct (e.g. payslips, bank account statements, tax returns).

Your mortgage broker will be able to help you complete and lodge your loan application, after which point you’ll receive loan pre-approval. This will enable you to make a genuine offer when you’ve found the right property for you!

THINK AHEAD

Once you’ve sought pre-approval, it’s a good time to think ahead about logistics that will come into play once you’ve found the right home for you.

Some things that you may find helpful to think about include:
  • Will you need to give notice for your current rental property?
  • Do you have any vacations planned in coming months?
  • Do you need to schedule leave in order to move house?
  • Do you have funds available should you need to make a deposit on your house contract?
  • Are the signatures for your mortgage paperwork witnessed correctly?
All of these factors can affect your potential settlement date for your home, so it’s best to address them and set out a clear plan.


SEARCH FOR YOUR HOME AND MAKE AN OFFER

At this point it’s time to start touring homes in your price range. This stage of the buying process can be both exciting and exhausting. You’ll see a lot of houses, be running through checklists, comparing prices and trying to imagine which house will best suit your family and your future lifestyle — all while maintaining your everyday life!

Hopefully you’ve been going to a few open inspections in the months beforehand, so you’ve got a feel for the inspection process and what you are and aren’t looking for in a property.

TAKE NOTES

It can be a good idea to take notes for each home you visit. By the time this stage of the process is over you will have seen a lot of houses, and it will be hard to remember everything about each one of them. You might want to jot down your initial reaction to each home to jog your memory. You might also want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

Conveyancer While at an inspecition, make sure you check out the little details, so little things won’t become big problems for you once you’ve bought the house.

Some things to think about:
  • Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
Make sure to evaluate the neighborhood too. You could think about the following:
  • Are the other homes on the street well maintained?
  • How much traffic does the street get?
  • Is there enough parking for your family and visitors?
  • Is it conveniently located? Are there schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation nearby?
It’s important not to rush! Take as much time as you need to find the right home — you’ll be living there a long time! Once you’ve found an area or property that you like, contact your conveyancer or real estate agent to ask them what they know about the property and the area and what further research they can do for you.


MAKE AN OFFER

Once you’ve found the dream house for you, it’s time to work with your conveyancer or real estate agent to negotiate an offer. Your offer will be based on:
  • the value of comparable homes in the same neighbourhood
  • location
  • the condition of the house
  • proximity to amenities e.g. schools, parks, transport
  • market trends
  • the amount of pre-approval finance you have from your mortgage broker


GET AN INSPECTION

A building inspection is a crucial step in buying a property. Purchase offers are usually contingent on an inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or other problems that may need fixing.

Your conveyancer or real estate agent can help you arrange this inspection to b conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. Having this contingency written into your contract protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty should the inspection reveal significant material damage.

Talk to your conveyancer about any conditions you may want included in your contract such as building inspections, termite inspections and any other conditions that may be relevant to your particular property and your personal circumstances. Your conveyancer can assist with drafting these conditions to ensure that your expectations are met and requisites are fulfilled.

Both you and the seller will receive a report on the inspection findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale.

Before you close the sale, you will have an opportunity to take a last walk-through of the house, which will provide you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed.


HAVE THE HOME APPRAISED

At this point it can also be helpful to have the home appraised so you know you’re offering a fair amount for the property. Your mortgage broker or conveyancer can organise for an appraiser to provide and independent estimate of the house value.

COORDINATE THE SALE PAPERWORK

This step is where your conveyancer will really help take the pressure off. As you can imagine, there’s a heap of paperwork involved in buying a house, and it’s important to get it all right.

There’ll be legal contracts that will become binding once you and the seller sign, along with a host of other transfer and bank documents. As explained earlier in this guide, a conveyancer can help you negotiate difficult legal documents and answer any questions you may have! At this point in the process, we’ll be working behind the scenes on the below actions (and many more not listed here — for a full list of what we do as conveyancers check out our comprehensive helpful extra guide for purchasers!)
Residential Conveyancing
  • Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents – e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
  • Research the property and its certificate of title – check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
  • Put the deposit money in a trust account
  • Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
  • Settle the property – act on your behalf, advise you when the property is settled, contact your bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
  • Help to decide the most advantageous date of settlement
  • Help you avoid some unusual terms or conditions in contacts
  • Go through your contract to ensure that all specific details pertaining to the property (such as planning restrictions) are fully disclosed
Source: http://www.waterwaysconveyancing.com.au/blog/top-4-tips-successful-purchase-sale-real-estate-properties/


CLOSE THE SALE

You’re almost there! Your team will be working hard behind the scenes transferring the property into your name and ensuring settlement takes place on the date you’ve specified.

Settlement is the date on which all legal documentation is transferred from the vendor’s name into yours. It’s the date on which the price of the property is to be paid to the vendor. If you’ve hired a conveyancer we’ll attend the settlement and represent you throughout this process!

Once you’ve signed all paperwork necessary to complete the house purchase, including your loan documents, it will typically take a couple of days for your loan to be funded after the paperwork has been returned to the lender.

You’ll usually have to wait 2 business days from either the date the contract of sale was signed by both you and the vendor, or 2 days from the date you received the vendor’s statement — whichever came later.

If you decide to withdraw from your house purchase during the cooling off period, any holding deposit you paid will be forfeited to the vendor, but any larger deposits made will be returned to you. There’s no other hidden consequences of withdrawing during this period.

Once the check is delivered to the seller, you’re ready to move into your new home! You’ll be given the keys to your new home and you can start unpacking.

At this point it’s time to say congratulations! An exciting new phase of your life is about to begin!