Part 1: Before Signing the Contract

*Please note this is a general guide only and should not be used in place of obtaining our advice. Any references are relevant as of the date of posting.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you already own property, buying property in Victoria can be both exciting and confusing at the same time. It’s essential that you’re on top of not only on the look and location of the property, but also on a number of other key matters, including the legal side of a purchase.
We have created the following guide in relation to the legal steps involved in purchasing a property to assist you. Over the coming weeks we will outline the three key areas of buying a property, being 1) before signing the sale contract 2) post signing of sale contract/pre settlement 3) just before settlement 4) settlment 5) post settlement. We will make this Guide available through our website and upon request.

Once you’ve had an opportunity to read this Guide, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or require more information.

Step 1. Contract Check

We recommend the Contract for Sale be reviewed by a lawyer prior signing. We can go through the terms with you and bring anything to your attention that you might not be aware of, and otherwise explain the implications of any special conditions and recommend amendments where required.

Step 2. Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?

If you are buying a property with one or more other people, you need to decide whether you will hold the property as joint tenants or tenants in common. If you hold it as joint tenants, then if one owner dies that owner’s interest in the property automatically passes to the remaining owners. If you hold it as tenants in common, then if one owner dies their interest in the property will be distributed in accordance with that person’s Will (which may not result in the existing owners getting ownership).

Step 3. Title Search

An often tricky and confusing part of purchasing property is the title search. A title search enables you to confirm that the person selling the property is actually the registered owner.

While the Section 32 Vendor’s Statement included with the Contract gives a buyer information about the property, a title search can confirm this information is correct. A title search can also reveal whether there are any registered encumbrances (such as Easements) over the property.

We can undertake a title search for you and explain any encumbrances and other issues found in the search.

Step 4. Measurements of the Property

It’s important to check the actual measurements of the property against the measurements recorded on the property’s Certificate of Title, which will have information on the boundaries of the land. If the measurements don’t match up, there may be costly disputes in the future in relation to the boundaries of the land.

Step 5. Valuation

If time permits we recommend you obtain a valuation of the property you are looking to purchase, as this can assist you in determining how much you should offer for the property. Your lender may also organise a valuation of the property to make sure that you’re paying market value.

For any further questions, please contact our office at info@mertonlawyers.com.au or 03 9645 9500.



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