Before you sign the contract
- 01 When you've made the decision to sell you want the process to be as easy as possible. Every seller wants to avoid lengthy delays, unexpected costs and uncertainty. You can do this by speaking to lawlab first!
- 02 We can assist you in preparing the contract and any disclosures that may be needed before you advertise your property for sale in some states. Using the smart, simple and secure online system called Rundl (www.rundl.com) we can collaborate with your real estate agent to help have your property ready for listing quickly.
- 03 Once you have found a buyer for your property the contract can be completed with the buyer’s details and the sale terms. Special conditions may also need to be drafted and inserted depending on the sale terms and circumstances of the parties. If we’re involved before signing, we can issue the contracts to be signed electronically, which speeds up the process and secures buyers quicker.
After you sign the contract
- 04 Once the contract is signed by both the buyer and seller (known as exchange), it becomes legally binding. The contract is normally dated on the date that it is exchanged. /li>
- 05 At the same time of signing the contract, the buyer needs to pay a deposit. The deposit is negotiable and is usually an amount up to 10% of the purchase price. Ideally you should ask the buyer to pay a 10% deposit or as much as possible as a sign of their commitment to purchase the property. If the Buyer is in default of the contract later (e.g. by not being able to settle) you may be entitled to terminate the contract and keep the deposit. If the buyer is unable to pay a 10% deposit on signing the contract then you should ask them to pay an initial deposit upfront and the balance at a later date (e.g. after cooling off or when finance is approved). 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.
- 06 We will confirm the critical dates of the contract and you will be kept up date and guided through the conveyancing process using Rundl.
- 07 The standard settlement period in Australia is between 30 to 60 days but you can negotiate a shorter or longer period if required. If the buyer is obtaining finance, keep in mind that their lender may take at least 2 to 3 weeks to confirm formal approval, issue loan documents and be in a position to settle.
- 08 The buyer may be entitled to a cooling off period which means they can cancel the contract without any reason before the cooling off period expires. There are no cooling off periods in some states and in some circumstances (e.g. if the property is sold at or closely following an auction or if the buyer has waived their cooling off rights) and the cooling off period also varies between states and territories. You are usually entitled to charge a small termination fee if the buyer terminates under the cooling off provisions.
- 09 If the contract is subject to a condition such as finance or building and pest inspections, the buyer must give us notice of whether or not the conditions are satisfied prior to the expiry date for the conditions. If a standard condition like finance or a building and pest inspection is not satisfied by the due date then usually the condition is not automatically satisfied. If the buyer needs more time to satisfy the conditions, then they may request further time to do so (but this will be at your discretion).
- 10 We will collaborate with your real estate agent and your other service professionals on Rundl so everyone is kept up to date on the progress of your sale and can work together towards your settlement. There may be some documents for you to sign along the way and we’ll share these with you at the appropriate time.
Preparing for Settlement
- 11 If there is a mortgage over your property then you should contact your bank 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 discharge of mortgage and liaise with us to organise settlement. You should also advise them and us which bank account you would like any surplus funds to be paid into. Your bank will calculate a payout figure and advise us of this amount before settlement.
- 12 If you don’t have a mortgage and hold the certificate of title deed for your property then we will need the original well before settlement.
- 13 We will prepare settlement figures and send these to you for your approval usually 5 days 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.
- 14 Unless the property is sold subject to a tenancy, you should vacate the property by at least 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.
- 15 Your settlement will either be a paper or an electronic settlement. Electronic settlements are now mandatory in Victoria, Western Australia and will soon be in New South Wales. In Queensland and South Australia you can choose between a paper or electronic settlement. We recommend electronic settlements because there is less risk of delays to settlement, less documents for you to sign, less banking costs and you will receive your sale proceeds quicker.
- 16 Electronic settlements take place online but if you have a paper settlement there is usually no need for you to attend this either as our local 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 or fees.
- 17 With electronic settlements, the transfer of title will be immediate and with paper settlements the transfer of title and any discharge of mortgage will be lodged for registration at the land titles office. The local authorities also get notified of the change of ownership.
The conveyancing process of selling a property can be complex and confusing at times but as experienced conveyancing lawyers, lawlab will make your journey easier and you can be confident you are in safe hands.
Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. Each state and territory in Australia has its own property laws and conveyancing process and you should obtain legal advice specific to you individual circumstances.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by lawlab Pty Ltd are members of the scheme.
lawlab has helped over a hundred thousand customers across Australia
Some frequently asked questions
Are you a property lawyer specialising in conveyancing or are you just a conveyancer?
lawlab is a national law firm that specialises in conveyancing. While conveyancing can be done by lawyers or conveyancers only lawyers can give you proper legal advice and help you when things don’t go according to plan. Lawyers also have comprehensive insurance. Who would you want to handle the sale of your biggest asset?
What can I ask other lawyers or conveyancers when comparing quotes?
If you need a listing contract prepared, do their fees include this? Do they charge expenses at cost or is there any mark-up? Do they have a list of fixed additional legal service items for the 10% of matters that require extra work or don’t go to plan? Do they take the legal risk for the contract?
Be careful of really cheap or the all-inclusive package offered by some conveyancers as you may find that they don’t provide the complete service or they don’t do the necessary searches (and therefore don’t pass on to you the search cost). Not doing and charging for searches may make their service look cheaper but it’s a different and more risky service that puts you at risk of losing a sale and serious fines.
lawlab are always happy to explain our fees and expenses so you know exactly what you are paying for.
Are you set up for electronic settlements?
Yes, we are the most experienced national user of the electronic settlements platform. Settling electronically reduces the risk of settlement delays and you’ll receive your sale proceeds days before a traditional settlement!
Where can I see your client reviews?
Don’t just take our word that we have a great service, check out our real and verified Facebook reviews at https://www.facebook.com/lawlab/reviews. We have one of the highest ratings in the industry and are proud to have helped so many satisfied clients in what can be a stressful and confusing time.
Can you prepare a listing contract quickly?
Yes we can! Now that you’ve decided to sell, you’ll want to get your property to market as quickly as possible. Don’t lose a buyer because of delays. We can deliver the contract to you digitally by the next business day after the property searches are returned. Ask them how long this will take in your area.