Buying and selling real estate

Story and Associates have extensive experience in assisting clients in the purchase and sale of real estate both rural and residential. Conveyancing files for both purchases and vendors are conducted by qualified legal practitioners and not by clerks.

Purchasing a property can be one of the most important events in your life and it is essential that the process is trouble and dispute free. There are various searches and enquiries that need to be made before the contract becomes unconditional to safeguard a purchaser.

Selling a property is another important event as the sale of property may be essential for the purchase of a substitute property. We are able to ensure that the timeframe set out in the contract is abided by to enable smooth transition from one residence to the other.

Contracts for buying and selling land in the Northern Territory

Most contracts for buying and selling land and houses in the Northern Territory use the standard Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory. These can be amended if need be by the insertion of special conditions or if necessary a stand-alone contract for the buying and selling of land can be drafted by us. Using the standard form contract enables us to keep our fees at a moderate level.

Law governing contracts for buying and selling land

The relevant acts of Parliament relating to contracts the buying and selling land include but are not limited to the following: –

  • Building (Resolution of Residential Building Work Disputes) Regulations
  • Contracts Act
  • Crown Lands Act
  • Crown Lands Freehold (Conversion from Crown Leasehold) Act
  • Family Law Act
  • Fences Act
  • First Home Owner Grant Act
  • Law of Property Act
  • Land Title Act
  • Pastoral Land Act
  • Planning Act
  • Real Property (Unit Titles) Act
  • Residential Tenancies Act
  • Stamp Duty Act
  • Unit Title Schemes Act
  • Unit Titles Act

Industrial and commercial sale and purchase

We are able to assist in the acquisition of commercial and industrial properties and ensure that the tenement or holding that you purchase complies with all planning and environmental regulations and is able to be used for the purpose that you purchased it. We arrange for the relevant enquiries to be conducted to make sure that there will be no expensive remedial works to be undertaken by you after purchase.

We are also able to assist in the sale of commercial and industrial properties. Once the contract has been signed then we undertake appropriate enquiries to ensure that there will be no problems during the course of the contract due to failure to abide by regulations or planning conditions.

Liaising with your bank or other lending institution

During the course of the contract is essential that we communicate with your bank or other lending institution with respect to your sale or purchase of real estate. It is important that contact be made as soon as possible and preferably before the contract is signed to ensure that there will be no hold-ups as a result of the bank or leading institution not being ready for settlement by the due date. Failure by your bank or lending institution to be ready for settlement can sometimes lead to the imposition of penalty interest and if you are selling then it may delay the subsequent purchase or other investment. We ensure that we contact your bank as soon as reasonably practicable.

Insurance

It is important to remember when you are buying a property to live in to insure your contents. You will be required to take out insurance with respect to the buildings by your lender and it is important not to overlook your contents insurance.

If you are purchasing a property for rental purposes then you should check with your insurer to make sure that the insurance that you have taken out with respect to the property is appropriate given, that it will be rented. You can also take out tenant insurance.

If you have purchased a property and before settlement takes place the building burns down then section 61 of the Law of Property Act applies: –

Insurance money from burnt building

(1) If a building is destroyed or damaged by fire, a person who has granted a policy of insurance for insuring it against fire:

(a) may; or

(b) if requested by a person interested in or entitled to the building, must,

cause the money for which the building is insured to be laid out and expended to the extent that its value will go towards rebuilding, reinstating or repairing the building.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) the person claiming the insurance money gives, within 30 days after the person’s claim is adjusted, sufficient security to the person who has granted the policy that the insurance money will be laid out and expended in accordance with subsection (1); or

(b) the insurance money is, within the 30 day period referred to in paragraph (a), settled and disposed of to and amongst the contending parties to the satisfaction and approbation of the person who has granted the policy of insurance.

What can go wrong?

Included in the standard contract of sale for buying and selling land in the Northern Territory is a cooling off clause. If you are undecided as to whether you will qualify for finance then, unless there is a clause stating that the contract is conditional upon obtaining finance by a certain date, you should withdraw from the contract within the cooling off period. If you do not then you will be bound by the contract.

Also included in the standard contract of sale for buying and selling land in the Northern Territory are clauses giving the vendors certain rights in the event that the purchaser is unable to complete the contract on time or at all. You should be familiar with the consequences of failure to complete settlement as in some cases a purchaser can have the deposit forfeited and be sued the difference in price that the contract was made out for and the price that the property is later sold for to a third party. Failure to complete settlement on time can give rise to the payment of penalty interest to the vendor.

It is also imperative that the property that you have been shown and that you have signed up for is in fact the property specified in the contract.

Reports and enquiries

There are a number of searches and enquiries that should be made when purchasing a property. These include but are not limited to a rates search at the relevant Council, a pest report and a building status report. Other reports can be obtained with respect to the plumbing, electrical installation and the condition of the building.

Why you should consult a solicitor for your conveyancing needs

Unlike licensed conveyancers solicitors are able to provide you with advice in relation to your Wills and other matters requiring legal expertise and experience.

Our fees

At the present time our professional fees for acting in the sale or purchase of a residential property are $1,000 .00+ GST and any out-of-pocket expenses such as registration fee on transfer $142 .00 and the cost of any reports and enquiries. In the event that a transaction becomes complicated then additional fees may apply.