The Process of Buying a House
Understanding the Home-Buying Process in Perth
Please use the following guide to help you understand the process of buying a property in Perth. Contact us if you have any further questions on the property settlement process.
You have a right to have your conveyancer act in your best interests at all times. These rights are detailed in the Appointment to Act (Form 1) document and, where applicable, the Disclosure of Interest document (Form 2).
You have an obligation to bring to your conveyancer’s attention to any matters that you think may affect your interests in the conveyancing process.
- Attend to any requests, like signing of documents, as soon as possible and return the documents quickly.
- Take prompt action concerning any special conditions in your Contract of Sale.
- Make sure that any required payments are made timeously, on or before due dates.
- If you plan to be away during the period leading up to settlement, please contact us to make sure any necessary documents have been signed, and let us have alternate contact details.
If you require finance to complete your purchase, ensure that you take immediate steps to obtain the necessary loan, even if the purchase is not conditional upon the loan.
Once you have accepted a loan offer, contact us and let us know that the loan is approved, and advise us of the date on which you accepted the offer of finance. Mortgage documents must be signed at least one week prior to the due settlement date.
Contact your finance broker, if applicable, who will assist you to find out from the Lender when the documents will be ready to sign and what other actions are necessary.
Documentation and Settlement Statement
We will send the ‘Transfer of Land’ document to you for signing together with an initial settlement statement. This will show amounts payable by you in respect of stamp duty, settlement fees and other disbursements. Please sign and return the documents, and make payments for any funds requested.
If you receive any accounts for rates from either the Water Corporation or the Local Government Authority soon after the settlement date, please contact us before making payment, as these accounts may have already been paid.
Stamp Duty Rebates
Depending on the purchase price of the property, you may qualify for a concession, rebate or exemption on the stamp duty, even if this is not the first time you are buying a house. Currently this applies to properties up to a value of $100,000.
First homeowners MUST be approved to receive the First Home Owners Grant, and be eligible for the First Home Owners stamp duty rate, as stated on the contract. Fact Sheets on the subject are available at www.osr.wa.gov.au, or contact our office for more information.
Rate & Service Enquiries
If you are buying a house in Perth, we make enquiries on your behalf to the Water Corporation (concerning the availability of services and any current or outstanding rates). We’ll also contact the relevant local authority (concerning rates, building licenses issued, orders and requisitions, and housing indemnity insurance details) and the Office of State Revenue (concerning any current or outstanding land tax). We will advise you of any fees payable for this information and include it in your settlement statement.
Unless specifically requested, your conveyancer will not make enquiries with the Local Government Authority in relation to approved buildings on the property. In many dwellings and structures built before 1990, records are not easily obtained and further fees and extended time periods apply to obtain the same from the Local Government Authority. If you think that an extension was added after the main dwelling was built, you can refer this query to the real-estate representative. They will make enquiries of the seller, who may have copies of the approvals.
If the property is not connected to sewerage then, in certain circumstances, it may be your responsibility to connect to the sewer line either within one year of the date of settlement, or within five years of the Water Corporation issuing a connection notice to you.
Under the Health Act, if the property is connected to a sewer and any septic tanks on the property have not been de-commissioned, then you must decommission them within 60 days of settlement.
De-commissioning is done by:
- Emptying the tank by a person licensed to do so.
- Either removing the tank, or breaking up the base of the tank.
- Back-filling the tank with clean fill and compacting.
Home Indemnity Insurance
If a building license was issued after 1 February 1997 for a dwelling, or for substantial improvements of a value of $12,000 or more, the builder (including an owner builder) must have home indemnity insurance for the completed work. From 1 July 2007 the $12,000 value limit was raised to $20,000. You will need details of the insurance in the event of a claim.
Owner Builders are not required to take out home-indemnity insurance before they can build or undertake substantial improvements, but they MUST do so if they sell the property within seven years of obtaining an owner builder license.
Strata Title Properties
If the property you are buying is a strata title property, the Strata Titles Act states that you must receive a disclosure statement (Forms 28 & 29) either prior to, or at the time of, making your offer to purchase. If you have not yet received the required disclosure information, the law gives you rights to avoid the contract. Please contact us if you have any queries.
Inspection of the Property
Your contract gives you the right to one final inspection of the property within five business days before the settlement or possession date. You need to inspect the property to ensure that it is in the same condition as when you made your offer to purchase. If your contract stipulates that certain conditions have to be met by the seller, you need to check that these have been satisfactorily attended to.
We will notify you once settlement has taken place, at which time you should contact the relevant real estate agent to collect keys and any other relevant security devices. If the property is the seller’s normal place of residence, the seller is entitled to occupy the property until 12pm, the day following the settlement.
If a mortgage is to be registered on the property by your Lender, the Certificate of Title will be held by the Lender as security for the loan. If you are paying ‘cash’ for the property, we will forward the Certificate of Title to you by registered mail once it is issued back from the Department of Land Information.
Things you should do
It is your responsibility to make arrangements for connection of the power, gas and telephone services to the property. We will however, notify the Local Authority, Water Corporation or alternate water supply authority (if applicable) of the change of ownership and arrange for the water meter to be read as close as possible to settlement date.
As far as insurance is concerned, the property becomes your risk from either the settlement or possession date, whichever is the earliest.
Please arrange the insurance prior to settlement or possession date. PLEASE NOTE, the majority of lenders will require seeing, prior to settlement being arranged, and adequate insurance cover in the form of the ‘Certificate of Currency’.
You may wish to organise a redirection of your mail to your new address and inform friends, relatives, sporting organisations, health providers, schools, the Electoral Commission, and anyone else with whom you deal regularly, of your change of address.
While we can never guarantee that settlement will be effected on the due date, we will endeavour to achieve your contracted settlement date and ensure that all obligations have been met by that date.
Both the seller and buyer may delay settlement for up to three business days after the due date, so, the contract date is never assured.
If you are looking for professional conveyancing services from an experienced conveyancing company in Perth, please contact us.