Legal Checklist For Buying Property In QLD

by | Dec 15, 2023

Buying a home or commercial property can be a complex process with many different legal requirements that need to be met. This checklist is designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the legal steps involved in buying property in Queensland, so you can be confident you’re taking all the necessary steps to ensure a successful purchase.

Table of contents

  1. Understanding the Contract of Sale
  2. Conducting Property Searches
  3. Understanding the Transfer Process
  4. Obtaining Finance
  5. Settlement Day
  6. Other Legal Considerations
  7. Expert Guidance

Understanding The Contract Of Sale

The Contract of Sale is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale. It’s important to carefully review and understand the contract before signing it.

The contract should include:

  • The purchase price: The amount of money you’ll be paying for the property
  • The deposit amount: The amount of money you’ll need to pay as a deposit to secure the purchase of the property
  • The settlement period: The period of time between the exchange of contracts and settlement
  • The title and any encumbrances on the property: The title shows the legal ownership of the property and any encumbrances that may affect the property, such as easements or covenants
  • Any special conditions or contingencies: These are any special conditions that may apply to the sale, such as a building inspection or finance approval.

Conducting Property Searches

Before purchasing a property, conduct a few searches to ensure it is free from any defects or issues. Searches to consider include:

  • Title search
  • Council searches
  • Building and pest inspections
  • Flood and fire risk assessments

Understanding The Transfer Process

The transfer process involves transferring the legal ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. It’s essential to understand the steps involved in this process, including:

  • Preparing the transfer documents: With eConveyancing mandated in Queensland for most property purchases, the transfer documents are now prepared, on the electronic settlement platform (i.e. PEXA) by both the buyer and seller’s solicitors, under direction from the buyer and seller.
  • Lodging the transfer with the Land Titles Office: The transfer documents need to be lodged with the Land Titles Office to update the legal ownership of the property
  • Paying stamp duty: Stamp duty is a tax payable on the purchase of property. The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the purchase price
  • Completing settlement: Settlement is the final step in the transfer process. It involves the transfer of funds and the legal ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer

Obtaining Finance

Unless you’re purchasing the property outright, you’ll need to obtain finance to complete the purchase. Shop around and compare different lenders to find the best deal for you.

Consider these factors:

  • Interest rates: The interest rate is the amount of interest you’ll need to pay on the loan
  • Fees and charges: Lenders may charge fees and charges, such as application fees, valuation fees, and ongoing fees
  • Loan features: Different loans offer different features, such as offset accounts or redraw facilities
  • Repayment options: Different loans offer different repayment options, such as fixed or variable interest rates

Settlement Day

This is the day when the legal ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. It’s important to ensure all necessary documents and funds are in order to ensure a smooth settlement process.

Remember you’ll need to:

  • Arrange for the transfer of funds to your solicitor a few business days before settlement day, if you are purchasing the property without a loan from a financier.
  •  Ensure all the necessary documents have been signed before settlement day
  •  Collect the keys to the property

Other Legal Considerations

In addition to the above steps, there are other legal considerations to be considered when buying property in Queensland. These include:

  • Reviewing the Body Corporate By-Laws: If you’re purchasing a unit or apartment, you’ll need to review the Body Corporate By-Laws to understand any rules or restrictions that may apply to the property
  • Understanding the Cooling Off Period: In Queensland, there is a cooling off period of five business days after the Contract of Sale has been signed. During this time, the buyer can withdraw from the contract (noting however that a termination penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price applies).

Expert Guidance

Buying property in Queensland can be complicated, but with the right guidance, you can ensure you have all the boxes ticked to ensure a seamless experience. Get in touch with us at Rochford Solicitors on (07) 4639 3038 to book an appointment—we’ll help you manage your property transactions with confidence.

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