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Buying Your First Home?

Nov. 19, 2019


Buying your first home can be a stressful and confusing time. With so much information out there, it pays to get quality advice. Getting the right help at the outset can save you a headache later. 


There are various items your solicitor can advise you on throughout the process. 
 

Due Diligence
 

Due diligence is a crucial step in the house buying process. It involves checking all the official information available about the property to make sure there are no major issues. 


Your lawyer can read through the information and advise you as to whether there are any problems. 
Depending upon what is agreed, this may involve:

  1. Reviewing the LIM (Land Information Memorandum), which will contain all the information the City Council holds on the property including building consents and code compliance certificates, any earthquake claims or flood risk;

  2. Conducting a Search in LandOnline for the Title and any encumbrances listed against the title.  The title is the underlying legal document showing the status of the land including ownership, restrictions, covenants or mortgages. Your lawyer can search this for you to check there are no issues; 

  3. Reviewing the builder’s report. We highly recommend you commission a builder’s report yourself from a qualified building inspector rather than using a vendor-supplied report which you may not be able to rely upon.  Please also note that most reports limit the liability of the assessor;

  4. Reviewing Body corporate documents (if purchasing a unit title), including minutes, insurance details, and levies; and

  5. Reviewing or preparing the Sale and Purchase Agreement. Your Lawyer will look over this to check any conditions the vendor has included, advise you on the implications of those conditions and to and conditions for your benefit. 

 

Conditions


Your lawyer will be able to advise you on what conditions you should add to your offer.
If you did not have enough time to conduct due diligence before making an offer, you may want to make your offer conditional on any of the matters mentioned above, or on a general due diligence condition.  


It is usual to include an insurance condition.  Insurers have become increasingly cautious about the properties that they are willing to insure and will not automatically insure you even if the property you are purchasing has been insured.  Insurers will also stop offering insurance if an earthquake occurs.  You need to be certain you have insurance at settlement, or the bank will not lend funds.


Another common condition is obtaining finance and there are many other that may be included such as ensuring there is no methamphetamine contamination or that EQC claims are transferred. 


It is important that you have a lawyer to draft these conditions for you, to make sure your interests are properly protected. 
If an agreement is conditional, your lawyer will be in contact with the vendor’s solicitor when the conditions are confirmed. Once all the conditions are confirmed, the agreement is “unconditional”. 


Settlement


Settlement day is when legal ownership of the property is transferred to you. This must be performed by a lawyer or qualified conveyancer. 


Prior to settlement day, your lawyer will have prepared various documents and communicated with your bank and the vendor’s solicitor to ensure everything is ready. You will have come into their office to go over loan documents, provided insurance information and sign an Authority and Instruction and tax statement which authorises your lawyer to complete the purchase. 


On settlement day, your lawyer will ensure that funds are paid to the vendor, your name is registered on the title, and report to you once the transfer is completed.  


Once settlement is complete – all that is left is to move into your new home! 

 

Nina Becker
Staff Solicitor


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and not tailored to your personal circumstances. It is only current as at the date posted and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice applicable to your situation, please contact us for an appointment.