A Guide for Selling a Residential Property in New South Wales

15 February 2016
  1. When you’ve made the decision to sell you want the process to be as easy as possible. You want to avoid lengthy delays, unexpected costs and uncertainty. Seek advice from us at lawlab before you sign any contract.

  2. A sale contract must be prepared before you can advertise your residential property for sale. We can assist you in preparing the contract and drafting additional clauses to meet your needs.

  3. We immediately order all the required documents that have to be included in your contract. These documents include the council certificate, title search, the plan of your property and the sewerage/drainage diagram. We aim to do issue the contract to you and your agent within 24 hours of receiving the documents from the authorities.

  4. Once you have found a buyer for your property we can complete the contract with their details and the sale terms. If you are using a real estate agent they will generally do this for you. If you have had a sale contract prepared by another solicitor or a conveyancer we can still complete your sale.

  5. The buyer’s copy of the contract is then sent to their solicitor. It is common for the buyer to apply for finance and undertake it’s property inspections before the buyer approves and signs the contract.

  6. At the same time of signing the contract, the buyer needs to pay a deposit. The deposit is negotiable but is usually 10% of the purchase price. It is a sign of their commitment to purchase the property. If the Buyer is in default of the contract at a later date (e.g. by not being able to settle) you may be entitled to terminate the contract and keep the deposit. The deposit is usually paid to the trust account of the real estate agent (or us if there is no real estate agent) to hold until settlement.

  7. Once both you and the buyer have agreed to the contract terms, have signed your respective copies of the contract and are ready to proceed, we will contact the buyer’s solicitor to ‘exchange’ contracts. Once exchange occurs the contract becomes legally binding.

  8. We will then complete the conveyancing sale process for you using our smart streamlined and convenient system. You can track the progress of your sale 24/7 using our online conveyancing platform rundl (www.rundl.com).

  9. The standard period between exchange and settlement is 6 weeks but you can negotiate a longer or shorter period if required.

  10. Unless you have sold the property at auction or you have agreed that the buyer will waive their cooling-off rights, the buyer has a cooling off period expiring on the fifth business day after the exchange of contracts. If the buyer decides not to proceed with the purchase, they must give notice to us of their intention to terminate the contract before the expiry of the cooling off period. You are entitled to charge a termination fee of 0.25% of the purchase price if the buyer terminates under the cooling off provisions.

  11. If there is a mortgage over your property then you should contact your mortgagee as soon as possible to let them know that you have sold the property. They may ask you to sign a discharge authority so they can prepare a release of mortgage and liaise with us to organise settlement. You should also advise them which bank account you would like any surplus funds to be paid into. Your mortgagee will calculate a payout figure and advise us of this amount before settlement.

  12. If you hold the certificate of title deed for the property then we will need the original in advance of settlement.

  13. The buyer’s solicitor usually prepares a transfer document and we will send this to you for you to sign in front of a witness. You should then return the original signed and witnessed transfer documents to us immediately.

  14. We will prepare settlement figures and send these to you for your approval prior to settlement. Our legal fees, any balance of the agent’s commission and any outstanding outgoings (e.g. rates and water) will be deducted from the balance of settlement funds due to you.

  15. Unless the property is sold subject to a tenancy, you should vacate the property at least by the day prior to settlement. The keys need to be handed to your real estate agent for the buyer to collect at or after settlement. The buyer is entitled to inspect the property prior to settlement, and will usually do so the day before or the morning of settlement. This gives the buyer an opportunity to make sure that the property is in the same condition as at the contract date and that any goods included in the contract are left at the property.

  16. There is usually no need for you to attend settlement as we or our settlement agents will attend settlement on your behalf. Once settlement has occurred we will contact you immediately to advise that your sale has settled! After settlement, the real estate agent will account to you for any balance of the deposit after deducting their commission.

Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual circumstances. Lawlab’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
Richard Bootle
Richard Bootle
Lawlab Financial Director

Richard Bootle is a director of Moxcol Holdings which owns a number of businesses including lawlab.  He has had 25 years of legal experience specialising in land and water transfers and nowadays his main focus is making sure every client loves lawlab.  When not engaging in conveyancing he is most likely to be found chasing cows on his family’s central west NSW properties.

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