Purchasing Your Property
Making an Offer
Deciding how much to offer can be difficult. You might want to make your best offer up front, or start with a lower offer and be prepared to negotiate up.
Contract of Sale
A residential property can't be put on the market until a contract has been drawn up. A contract sets out the terms and conditions of the sale. A buyer can examine the contract at any time during the buying process, even before an offer is made.
Once your offer has been accepted, or you have purchased at auction, contracts must be signed between you and the vendor. Most people employ a conveyancer/settlement agent or solicitor to do the legal work, such as preparing documents, giving advice on contracts and explaining the implications.
When contracts are exchanged you will be required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price. The deposit is paid to the seller’s agent or solicitor who will put the money into a trust account until settlement, when the balance is paid.
In some Australian states there is a cooling off period of 3 to 5 working days after contracts are exchanged, during which you can withdraw from the sale. It's common (and permitted) for buyers to organise pest, building and strata inspections during this time.
NOTE: There is no cooling off period for sellers or buyers at auctions.
The sale is finalised when the balance of the purchase price and other adjustments have been paid and title and transfer documents exchanged. Settlement usually takes place 2 to 6 weeks after contracts have been signed by both parties. At settlement you become the legal owner of the property.
Stamp duty is a government tax that must be paid on settlement. It is calculated as a percentage of the sale price or the market value. Your agent can explain the tax payable in your state or territory.