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Before you sign the dotted line …

Tips when purchasing property

If not approached with due diligence, the process of purchasing property can become complicated and stressful.

It is therefore imperative that you are mindful of some common factors which may impact upon your decision to commit to your next residential or investment property purchase. An oversight of any one of these factors could have irreversible repercussions extending far beyond the settlement process.

The factors/considerations include: 

Inclusions/Exclusions

Inclusions are items that are fixed to the property or into the grounds of the property and are included in the  contract of sale.  Personal or free-standing items such as tables, chairs and furniture are generally excluded from the sale.

Not every fixed item you see on the property may necessarily be included in the sale. The vendor for example, may wish to take the blinds or dishwasher. It is therefore crucial to review the list of inclusions and ensure that you are  aware of what is, or is not, included in the sale.

Special Conditions

These are additional to the standard conditions attached to the contract of sale.  Contracts will have additional conditions and clauses that are usually tailored to the benefit of the vendor. It is important that you understand these special conditions and their overall effect on your purchase. 

As these additional conditions do not form part of the standard conditions in the contract of sale, the terms are open to negotiation with the vendor, for example, on the basis of some conditions being unfair or over-burdensome on the purchaser.

Planning Certificates and Sewerage Service Diagrams

Otherwise known as a zoning certificates, planning certificates provide information on how the land may be used and restrictions on its development. Sewerage diagrams show the location of any sewer lines on the land and may show whether the plumbing work on the property has been inspected.

Reviewing these documents and understanding the planning controls applicable to the land is essential to determining whether it is suitable for your personal use or investment objectives. It is particularly crucial when considering any modifications– be it a simple renovation, through to the demolition and re-development of the property.

Modification to property 

 

Be mindful to review copies of all deeds, dealings and other instruments that may create a benefit or a burden on a particular part of the land that you are purchasing. Examples of these include:

  • Easements: Instruments that grant other parties the right to access your land for a specific purpose, for instance, a shared driveway.
  • Negative covenants: Instruments that restrict the use of the land for specific purposes, and if breached the Local Council, the original developer, or your neighbours can take legal action against you.
  • Positive covenants: Promises to do something, such as building a shared fence or to contribute towards the maintenance of a shared driveway.

Understanding these common yet crucial factors before “signing the dotted line” will alleviate any speed-bumps during your conveyancing process and ensure that you are not caught off-guard with any unwelcomed surprises.

A competent solicitor has a duty to ensure that you are properly advised and informed from the very outset up and until receiving keys to your new property.

Khodr Ghantous and Ian Wang

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