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Selling Residential Property

Do I need a lawyer when selling a residential property?

If you are intending to sell a residential property you should consider having a property and conveyancing lawyer assist you in doing this.

A conveyancing and property lawyer can assist you with the process of selling a residential property by drafting you a contract of sale, negotiating with buyers and resolving disputes between the parties.

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert property and conveyancing lawyers can assist you in coordinating an efficient settlement.
Having a property and conveyancing lawyer assist you in selling a residential property can also alleviate the stress and anxiety that can come with the sale of residential property.

For more information on how a lawyer can help you with selling a residential property, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

The Process of Selling a Residential Property

A conveyancing lawyer can provide you with assistance and advice through the major stages of selling a residential property. The process of selling a residential property typically takes 6 weeks to complete, but this length can be shortened or extended. The process of selling a residential property can be understood through reference to four main stages of the conveyancing process.

1. Drafting a Contract of Sale

If you intend to sell a residential property in NSW, a contract of sale must be available to prospective buyers of the property. This means that you will need to have already drafted a contract of sale for the property prior to advertising the property. A property and conveyancing lawyer can assist you in drafting an effective contract of sale that is tailored to your circumstances and instructions.

It is important to have a conveyancing lawyer draft your contract of sale in order to ensure the certain information is included. For instance, a contract of sale for a residential property must include a title search which confirms ownership of the property, a zoning certificate obtained from the local council and evidence of any easements or covenants on the property.

There are various other required documents that must be included in the drafting of a contract of sale for the selling of a residential property, for more information on what must be included you should obtain professional legal advice.

When drafting the contract, you can also instruct your lawyer to include special conditions in the contract. For example, a special condition may provide for a longer than usual period of time before settlement.

For more information on drafting contracts of sale for residential properties, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

2. Marketing the Residential Property

Once you have prepared a contract of sale you will have the choice as to whether you intend to sell your residential property by negotiation or by auction. Once this decision is made the property will be marketed and will become available to prospective purchasers.

Before accepting an offer on a residential property a purchaser may also wish to negotiate the terms of the contract. A conveyancing lawyer can assist you with negotiating the terms of the contract with the purchaser. A purchaser may also want to inspect the property for building defects or pests before they agree to purchase the property.

3. Exchange of Contracts

Once you have found a buyer for the residential property, the parties to the transaction will need to sign and date the relevant contracts for the sale of the property. At this point the deposit will also become payable and each party will hold copies of the contract. The deposit that must be paid on a residential property is typically 10% of the purchase price.

It is important to note that once you sign the contract both you and the buyer will be bound to the contract’s terms and conditions. The purchaser of the property will have certain temporary rights during what is known as a ‘cooling off period’. During the cooling off period the purchaser can withdraw from the contract if they change their minds about purchasing the property. The length of the cooling off period can be negotiated prior to the parties signing the relevant contracts.

After the exchange of contracts, a purchaser will prepare to pay the purchase price on the settlement date and may make final inspections of the property to ensure that it has not been substantially damaged.

4. Settlement

Settlement is the final step in the conveyancing process.

Upon settlement you will transfer the ownership of the residential property to the purchaser.

It is now common for settlements to be completed electronically.

A conveyancing lawyer can assist you in negotiating a simultaneous settlement. A ‘simultaneous settlement’ refers to situations where the sale and purchase of property occur at the same time.

A conveyancing lawyer can then assist you with lodging the relevant documentation relating to the transfer of property in the NSW Land Registry Services.

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert property and conveyancing lawyer can provide you with advice and assistance in relation to the entire process of selling a residential property.

For more information on the process of purchasing a residential property, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

Selling a Residential Property at Auction

Selling a residential property at auction is different to selling a residential property by private treaty.

Selling a residential property at auction allows for potential buyers to bid on the property and allows the property to be sold to the highest bidder.

Where a residential property is sold at auction, there is no cooling off period for the purchaser and no changes to the contract of sale can be made after the property is sold.

For more information on selling a residential property at auction, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

What can I do if the contract has been breached?

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert property lawyers can provide you with assistance in relation to circumstances where a party has breached a contract for the sale of property prior to settlement.

Our lawyers can assist you with resolving a dispute and enforcing the contract through alternative dispute resolution. Resolving a dispute arising from a breach of contract outside of court can save both parties money and time.

Alternatively, our lawyers can commence legal proceedings against a party who has breached a contract and seek either compensation for the breach or seek to have the contract performed.

For more information on the consequences of breaching a contract for the sale of property, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

Why BSM Lawyers?

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert conveyancing lawyers are experienced property and conveyancing lawyers.

Our team of conveyancing lawyers can assist you in all your conveyancing matters and appreciate the importance of property transactions to our clients.

This is why our conveyancing lawyers strive to provide you with efficient and personable services.

Our lawyers are experienced with various kinds of title including Torrens and Old System title.

Most importantly, our conveyancing lawyers understand the anxiety and stress that property matters can bring about in out clients. Our conveyancing lawyers work diligently to alleviate this stress and anxiety through by keeping you well informed throughout your property matter and explaining to you each stage of your property matter in clear and simple English.

We provide a fixed fee professional conveyancing service provided by lawyers. We do not use conveyancers

For more information on Brander Smith McKnight’s conveyancing and property services, you can contact us on 02 8539 7475.
Brander Smith McKnight has offices conveniently located in Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD.

FAQs

chevronWhy should I have a lawyer draft the contract of sale for a residential property?

If you intend to sell a residential property in NSW, a contract of sale must be available to prospective buyers of the property. Having this contract of sale drafted by a conveyancing lawyer ensures that it complies with legal requirements and minimises the chances of problems arising in the future. A conveyancing lawyer can also draft a contract that is tailored to your specific circumstance and instructions.

chevronShould I use a conveyancer or a lawyer when selling a residential property?

Lawyers and conveyancers are not the same.

A property lawyer is a lawyer who can provide you not only with assistance in relation to conveyancing, but also to other legal issues you may have. This is because property lawyers also typically practice in other areas of law. For example, our property lawyers can also provide you with commercial and contract law advice and assistance. In addition, property and conveyancing lawyers can identify other legal issues outside of the area of property law as they arise in your matter and provide you with advice and assistance accordingly. Therefore, knowing that a property lawyer can assist you with handling complex legal issues can give you a level of confidence that cannot be provided by a conveyancer.

A conveyancer is only permitted to practice and assist people with conveyancing. As such, conveyancers only specialise in the sale, purchase, transfer and leasing of property. Thus, conveyancers are limited in their ability to provide clients with advice in relation to legal issues outside of conveyancing.

At Brander Smith McKnight we do not use conveyancers. We suggest that you consider using a lawyer to assist you in selling a residential property.

chevronWhat if the residential property I am selling has been substantially damaged after the contracts are signed?

Prior to settlement a purchaser may make a final inspection of the residential property. If during this inspection the purchaser finds the property to be substantially damaged the purchaser may withdraw from the contract without penalty. Alternatively, where there has been minor damage to the property, the purchaser may negotiate the adjustment of the purchase price of the property.

chevronCan I sell my residential property myself?

You are not required to use a lawyer when selling a residential property. However, using a conveyancing lawyer to assist you with the process of selling a residential property can be very helpful. A conveyancing lawyer can help you draft an effective contract of sale, negotiate with potential purchasers and help you organise the settlement. Using a conveyancing lawyer can also alleviate the stress that comes with selling a residential property.

chevronHow much will it cost to have a lawyer help me sell a residential property?

Brander Smith McKnight’s conveyancing lawyers provide a fixed fee professional conveyancing service.

Our lawyers are committed to communicating to our clients clear and concise descriptions of the cost of our services.

chevronWhat is a cooling off period?

In NSW, a cooling off period is a period of time that commences after the making of a contract for the sale of certain kinds of property.

During the cooling off period the purchaser can decide to rescind their contract for the purchase of a property.
The length of a cooling off period is set under law by default but a shorter or longer cooling off period can be negotiated in your contract for the sale of the property.

chevronWhat if either of the parties cannot settle on time?

If either party cannot settle on time, a party may want to request an extension of time.

No party is guaranteed an extension of time.

It is best to avoid not settling on time by setting an appropriate date of settlement in your contract.

A conveyancing lawyer can assist you with negotiating an appropriate date for the settlement.

chevronCan I sell a residential property that has not been built yet?

Yes, where a property is sold to a purchaser prior to being built it is a known as ‘buying off-the-plan’. Where a property is sold off-the-plan prospective buyers can review the properties plans, schedules and perhaps visit developments that have been completed by the same developer.

For more information on selling off-the-plan properties, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

chevronIf I have a dispute with the purchaser, do I need to go to court?

If a property dispute arises during the process of conveyancing, Brander Smith McKnight’s lawyers can assist you in resolving the dispute.

Our expert conveyancing lawyers resolve the vast majority of property disputes without the need for expensive and time-consuming litigation.

We have the expertise to achieve excellent results using alternative dispute resolution.

chevronDoes the residential property need to be vacant upon settlement?

Yes, the residential property will need to be vacant upon settlement.

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