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The Process of Buying a House
A Step-by-Step Guide

The home buying process in Queensland can be difficult for even the most seasoned home buyer. Without a true conveyancer (legally qualified), you could be leaving yourself open to any number of legal pitfalls and expose yourself to significant financial loss. Throughout the process of buying a house, a MAP Lawyers conveyancing lawyer can help review the contract for sale to detect any clauses that may be against your interests and can identify any suggested clauses to include which could provide you added protection considering your individual circumstances and the specific property.

A property buying solicitor at MAP Lawyers will also be able to help you in discovering any issues with the potential property and the land it sits on, such as:

Detecting and mitigating these potential risks when buying a property can ensure that your purchasing process goes forward as expected saving you time, energy and money along your property buying process.

The process of buying a house can vary in time from as short as a couple of weeks to a multi-year transaction for some off the plan purchasers where the property is yet to be constructed. MAP Lawyers has put together a comprehensive list of steps to buying a house in Queensland and how your MAP Lawyers property buying solicitor will be there to guide you along your journey.

Step 1

Making an Offer

You’ve found your dream property, you’ve been to the inspections, consulted a financier (a mortgage broker or a bank directly) to obtain a guide to how much you could borrow, and you are now ready to make an offer. This marks the beginning of the formal home buying process.

At this time, there may be stages of negotiations in the ultimate aim of reaching an agreement between the buyer and the seller. Once the agreement is reached the terms can be formally agreed to in a contract for sale and purchase.

Step 2

Formation of the Contract: Pre-contract Phase

Once an offer has been accepted, in the vast majority of transactions the real estate agent will draft a contract for the parties using the industry accepted REIQ contract for sale and purchase. There are two common exceptions to this being, one where the property is sold privately in which case one of the solicitors acting will generally prepare the contract, or two when a property is sold for an off the plan development, the seller’s solicitor would draft a custom off the plan contract.

These contracts will generally include:

  • Full legal names of the transacting parties
  • The agreed purchase price.
  • Settlement date
  • Any inclusions that are being left behind by the seller.
  • Any special considerations
  • Solicitor that has been appointed to act for each party.

Step 3

Property Searches

Conditional Period

Most contracts are signed on a conditional basis providing a purchaser the ability to undertake further specific due diligence prior to the contract becoming unconditional. Once MAP Lawyers have been provided with a copy of the signed agreement as a property buying solicitor they will analyse the contract and specifics about the property on your behalf.

Cooling Off

In parallel to fulfilling any agreed conditions of purchase, the buyer will generally be entitled to a ‘cooling-off’ period. This period is generally 5 business days from and including the Contract Date (please note that when buying a home at auction, no cooling-off period applies). During this time, the buyer may rescind the contract with a limited financial penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price. At MAP Lawyers, if the purchaser wishes to pull out of the contract, we will always look for opportunities to cancel the contract under one of the conditions as they provide the option to cancel the contract without incurring any financial penalty.

Step 4

Property Searches

As part of our service, MAP Lawyers property buying solicitors will research the property transaction, such as reviewing:

  • Title searches
  • Registered plan
  • Land tax certificates
  • Utilities checks (rates and water)
  • Unapproved renovations or extensions
  • If the property is part of a body corporate, whether there are any unpaid levies and potentially other issues regarding the complex
  • Verification of Identity of the parties involved

The purchaser should also be conducting any other specific due diligence that the contract is conditional upon, such as having a building and pest inspection completed or obtaining finance approval from their financer. If the purchaser is satisfied of any of these conditions, they must inform their solicitor prior to any explicit timeframe to avoid the contract being cancelled if any extension is not granted by the vendor.

Step 5

Unconditional Phase

Once any special conditions or concerns raised by your MAP Lawyers property buying solicitor have been addressed satisfactorily the contract will advance to an unconditional status.

Once the contract is unconditional both parties will become legally bound as part of the property buying process. Generally, this will trigger the requirement that the full balance of the deposit will be due.

Step 6

Preparing for Settlement

Prior to settlement, there are a number of activities that your conveyancing solicitor will need to undertake to allow for settlement to occur, such as:

  • Complete and agree to final settlement figures that will include adjustments for things like; rates, body corporate levies, land tax and so on.
  • Prepare a transfer document, present it to the buyer, then to the seller or their solicitor for signing
  • Liaising with the seller’s solicitor, the real estate agent and your financer to ensure that settlement can progress.

Step 7

Preparing for Settlement

The final step in the process of buying a house is the settlement day. Your MAP Lawyers property buying solicitor will arrange for settlement to occur either physically or electronically via the PEXA Property platform.

As part of this process MAP Lawyers will stamp the agreement and transfer documents in compliance with the Office of State Revenue validating the amount of transfer duty due.

Once the settlement has officially occurred, MAP Lawyers will notify all parties to enable the real estate agent to release the keys to the property to you as the new owner.

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Get In touch now

Are you looking to buy your dream home? Get in touch with MAP Lawyers, your property conveyancing experts. Fill in our online form or give us a call on 1300 680 584 today.

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