Buying property in South Australia is exciting but there is more to a property purchase than simply agreeing to a price. Behind-the-scenes of every successful property sale is a conveyancing professional ready to guide you through your journey that begins with the contract review. Once a thorough contract review is completed, the finer details of the contract – including sale price – can be negotiated.
The Contract of Sale is a document usually prepared by the seller’s conveyancer or solicitor and is designed to inform any potential buyer about the property. Our experienced conveyancers review your contract by checking all the key components, such as special conditions, price and settlement date, as well as ensuring any required disclosure material has been attached. These documents need to be thoroughly examined before the contract is signed. Our team will make sure you’re not signing something with hidden clauses or unwanted surprises.
With your instructions, we can also act on your behalf to propose changes that may be specific to your needs, such as a negotiation around settlement date, or any inclusions and exclusions you may want to ask about.
Although the rules and procedures relating to conveyancing are consistent throughout South Australia, every property is different. So, it’s important to understand what applies to your specific property. It’s another great reason to work with a conveyancing specialist who can guide you through every important step of your contract review when buying property in South Australia.
For a standard contract, we will email our review to you within 1-2 business days.
What does a contract of sale include?
A contract of sale should contain several key details, including:
- The names and addresses of both the vendor and purchaser
- The property address and land title particulars
- The sale price
- The deposit amount and due date
- The property settlement date and any special conditions, such as building inspections and finance-specific conditions. A list of any inclusions or exclusions of fixtures and fittings (such as carpets, curtains, blinds, appliances, etc.)
- Whether the property is sold as ‘vacant possession’ or ‘subject to a lease’
Once your signed contract has been exchanged it becomes a legally binding agreement. Ensuring you fully understand what you are signing is critical and will help you avoid any costly mistakes. Always read the contract, and your contract review, carefully and address any questions you might have to your conveyancing specialist.
Buying property in SA
If you’re buying property in South Australia, the use of a Form 1 – a required statutory disclosure statement that must be provided to a buyer by the seller – regulates all the specific disclosures required.
When a seller in SA engages a real estate agent to look after their property sale, it is usually the agent’s responsibility to prepare the Form 1 – but only after undertaking all the necessary steps to ensure it is done accurately. Even with the professional help of the agent, it is still the seller’s responsibility to check all information that is included is accurate.
As a buyer in SA, you must receive the Form 1 at least 10 days prior to the property settlement date – a document that is shared with you after the Contract of Sale is signed. If the Form 1 is not provided to you, or the document is inaccurate, you may have rights to rescind the contract at any time up until settlement day.
Cooling off rights in SA do not begin until a legally binding Form 1 has been shared with you. If the Form 1 is provided before the contract of sale is signed, the cooling off period begins on the date of the contract.
If a property is sold at auction in SA, the Form 1 must be made available to potential buyers before the auction date.
It is recommended that you, as a buyer, still obtain an independent inspection report from qualified and experienced building and pest inspectors.
How to avoid contract of sale issues
As with any negotiation and legal process, there are warning signs to watch out for when it comes to reviewing any contract of sale.
- A seller acting unreasonably when negotiating the property price or contract terms.
- An incomplete Form 1
- A valuation that is lower than the asking price. To avoid potential problems, purchasers can request an upfront valuation.
The right time to sign a contract
The contract of sale should only be signed after a careful contract review and after you have received the Form 1 – and this is why you should work with an experienced conveyancing specialist.
If you review the contract of sale document during the property search process, your eyes will be open to potential issues before a deep emotional connection with the property is made. Look carefully at any conditions in the contract that don’t meet your expectations. If negotiation around specific clauses are not possible, accept that this property may not be right for you and move on.
Whether you are a property investor, or looking for your own place to call home, a property transaction is a big financial decision that must be taken seriously.
This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.