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Get Some Pre-Purchase Legal Advice

Recent changes to legislation mean you can now obtain legal advice prior to purchasing real estate without losing your right to a cooling-off period… So before committing to a purchase it is recommended that you obtain pre-purchase advice. We offer a pre-purchase advice service, designed specifically to assist you with your purchase.

Check Before You Buy

If you choose not to receive pre-purchase advice when buying your property, we suggest that you carry out some basic checks of the property, as follows:

  • Dimensions:
Ensure that the dimensions of the property as shown in the Plan of Subdivision correspond with the dimensions of the land “on the ground”. The safest way to do this is to engage a surveyor, but you can do it yourself with a tape measure if you know what you’re doing.
  • Building Inspection:
Engage a building inspection service to check not only the structural integrity of the buildings, but also issues such as asbestos, faulty wiring, pests etc. Again, you can do this yourself, so long as you know what you’re doing and are prepared to accept the risks. We can recommend someone if you’re stuck.

We recommend you check all appliances that are remaining with the property are in full working order and the Contract states the appliances are in working order.

Checking the Title

The Certificate of Title sets out the details of the present owner and any registered mortgages over the property, as well as any other “encumbrances”. The Lot and Plan number set out in the title document are the means by which the land is properly identified in terms of its precise location and size.

The following checks should be made pre-purchase: 

  • Easements:
Easements are restrictions on the use of the land, such as rights of way, or the right to lay water or sewerage pipes.
  • Mortgages:
These are rights that a lender has over the land in return for the loan of money. If the loan is not repaid the mortgagee may sell the land or, in some circumstances, become registered as the owner.
  • Caveats
Caveat is Latin for “beware”, and a caveat registered on a title is a warning that some other person has a right or interest in the property, and that their interest is first in line before those of the purchaser.

Other Checks and Inquiries

Other important pre-purchase checks include the following: 

  • The local council:
    • If there is a vacant block of land next to or near the property, see if there are there any plans for a block of flats or apartments to be built next door.
    • What if there are plans for a shopping centre development down the street?
    • Will the zoning of the property affect your use of it? Or will permitted uses of the land by others affect your enjoyment of the property?
    • Have any of the buildings on the property been built without a permit? The local council will require the current owner to modify or even demolish an illegal structure (and you may be the new current owner).
    • Is the property near a registered toxic site? Or is it registered as being of Heritage significance?
    • What about the plumbing and wiring? If asbestos has been used in the construction, is it stable? Some checks and inquiries will be conducted as part of the conveyancing process, but the most important checks are best conducted before you buy.

If you are in doubt in regard to the purchase of a property, have a question in relation to a Contract of Sale (you are about to sign, or already have signed), or have a general conveyancing query please call Donna Day today on (03) 59757611 or Enquire Online.

You can also find further information in our: Selling Property, Subdivisions, Business Sales and Acquisition, Building And Planning and our Articles sections.