Don’t sign that contract just yet

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Buying a house is one of the biggest financial and emotional commitments you’re likely to make, so it’s important to ensure every detail is just right.

Getting the sale contract reviewed by a qualified solicitor could potentially save you a lot of heartache, money and time.

The standard contract for the sale of residential property has been developed by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) and the Queensland Law Society.

Once you’ve found your dream home, in the case of an established property, the real estate agent will give you a copy of the standard REIQ Contract of Sale prepared by the real estate agent for you to tender your offer by way of signing this Contract. It should include details of the parties, the address of the Property, the title particulars, the purchase price, the deposit amount, any special conditions agreed between the parties. Once your offer is accepted by the Seller, a binding Contract will be in place. As such, it is crucial that prior to signing this Contract, you engage a solicitor to thoroughly go through the terms of the draft Contract and ensure that it reflects what has been agreed between you and the Seller and that no promise or representation made by the Seller is left undocumented.

So please seek advice before you sign on the dotted line. Acting in accordance with your instructions, your solicitor can assist you with drafting and liaising with the Seller in relation to additional special clauses to the contract, for example:

    • That your purchase be subject to your sale of your existing home, which means that, if your sale does not go through, you will have a right to terminate this Contract for the purchase.

    • That the Seller gives warranty that this Property is not located in a flood prone zone, failing which, the Buyer may seek compensation or terminate this Contract before settlement. That a due diligence condition be inserted to ensure that you are given the opportunity to investigate every aspect of the Property that you are concerned about within the given time, before you are fully committed to proceed with this purchase.

    • It is also recommended that you obtain an independent valuation of the property before you sign the contract.

It’s important to remember that real estate agents are responsible for obtaining the best possible price and contract terms for the seller. A real estate agent is not qualified to give legal advice on the contract, draft clauses or modify the standard contract in any way.

And don’t forget that once you sign that contract, you’re strictly bound by its terms – whether you like it or not.

Unless there is a due diligence condition or a building pest inspection condition under the Contract, once you sign the Contract, it is deemed that you have accepted the condition and state of the Property (those items under express warranties excepted). Unless there is a finance condition, once you sign the Contract, you are bound to proceed to settlement regardless of your ability to obtain sufficient finance for this purchase. Failing to settle not only will mean that you will lose your deposit to the Seller, you might also be sued for further damages caused or be required to cover the price deficiency if the Seller manages to re-sell at a lower price.

Here at GLG Legal, our trained conveyancing and property experts can help ensure your contract of sale is reviewed correctly and efficiently and you are protected every step of the way. Don’t make the mistake of signing a contract without speaking to us first. Contact our office today on (07) 3161 9555 to make an appointment.

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