Experienced and friendly lawyers providing the over 55s, their families and the disabled with legal services in elder law, business law, wills and estates, estate planning, trusts and retirement villages.
Experienced and friendly lawyers providing the over 55s, their families and the disabled with legal services in elder law, business law, wills and estates, estate planning, trusts and retirement villages. Experienced and friendly lawyers providing the over 55s, their families and the disabled with legal services in elder law, business law, wills and estates, estate planning, trusts and retirement villages.
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 Useful Checklists and Articles
Property Conveyancing
Sale and purchase of residential property
FAQs for Vendor and Purchaser
Retirement village contracts
Buying Property - Auction or Private Sale
Online instruction form for sale or purchase

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Sale and purchase of residential property

Conveyancing is the legal process of buying, selling or mortgaging property. Technology has enabled the practice of conveyancing to become more streamlined. However the essence of the task is still the same – to achieve a successful completion of your purchase, sale or remortgage and to provide this service cost efficiently.

At SeniorLaw Sydney we provide a written costs’ agreement at the beginning of the matter. We explain each step of the transaction to you, draft or negotiate terms leading up to the exchange of contracts, attend to mortgagee or discharge of mortgagee requirements, prepare any necessary legal documents and attend to settlement. Your questions are always welcome and answered promptly and in plain English. We recognise the importance of this property transaction to you and we aim to make the matter as straightforward as possible.

Our legal team has over 20 years property experience covering every different type of home ownership title. The different types of ownership in NSW briefly are:

Torrens Title: This is the government system of recording the transfer of ownership of land. Registration of title documents provides the key to your legal ownership. The majority of properties in NSW would be owned under this title. 
Strata Title: This is the more common means of owning a unit. The certificate of title gives you ownership of part(s) of a building within the space of your lot and you get a unit entitlement. The Owners Corporation manages the administration and common property of the building. As an individual owner you will be required to contribute levies to an Administrative and Sinking Fund. By-laws should be checked for any changes. 
Company Title: This is the title of some unit buildings. The price may reflect the fact that the unit is not a strata title unit. Some lenders may be hesitant to accept this security as you do not acquire a title to the property but shares in a company instead. The shares entitle the shareholder to exclusive possession of a particular unit.
Community Title: This provides a purchaser with a Torrens Title for a particular lot and membership of an association similar to the strata scheme Owners Corporation.
Common Law Title: There is no certificate of title created by registration as in the Torrens Title system. Instead the title is made up of a collection of Old System documents. Conversion to qualified Torrens Title may happen after sale. Requires intensive legal investigation and as a result is more costly than a Torrens Title purchase. 


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FAQs for Vendor and Purchaser


When does the Contract become binding?
After the vendor and the purchaser have each signed a copy of the Contract an appointment is made to formally exchange these copies. The purchaser pays the deposit amount required by Contract and the date of exchange is inserted on the Contract. Both parties are then legally bound by the Contract.
How long is the cooling-off period?
A purchaser buying residential property is allowed a cooling- off period of 5 business days after exchange of Contract provided the purchaser’s solicitor has not given a 66W Certificate at the time of exchange. Parties can agree to lengthen or shorten the
cooling -off period.
Can I keep particular items even though the purchaser saw them in place in the house at the inspection?
The vendor lists any fittings included in the sale of the property. If the item is not specifically included in the Contract it will not go with the house. It is preferable to list the item as an exclusion so there can be no doubt in the purchaser’s mind.
Is GST payable?
The purchase price of the property will normally be inclusive of GST if it is payable. We can discuss exemptions with you.


What property investigations are usually made? Do you do this or can you organise them for me?
Before you sign a Contract you would be wise to have qualified inspectors report on the building, pest activity, strata records if a unit, whether roof water is connected to sewer, structural engineering for pole houses, Council records for zoning or existing use or flooding notation, unauthorised additions or improvements, survey etc. The type/ age of the property will determine which reports and further investigations are required.
Do I have to pay stamp duty on exchange of Contract?
On exchange the purchaser pays a deposit which is usually 10% of the price. You have 3 months from the date of exchange to pay the NSW Government stamp duty on the Contract. However as the duty must be paid before completion of the purchase, and in reality this can often take place 6 weeks after exchange, you will have to be in a position to pay this duty a lot earlier than 3 months. To help you plan stamp duty amounts will be advised at the outset. Off the plan purchases attract different payment dates.
Who determines the settlement date?
This date is agreed as a term of the Contract by both parties. The agreed settlement or completion date is often 6 weeks from the date of exchange. Penalty interest may be payable on default.
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Retirement village contracts

At SeniorLaw Sydney we provide comprehensive advice to clients considering a move to retirement village living:

The first and golden rule is do not sign anything without first obtaining legal advice.
Always inspect a number of retirement villages, talk to residents, consider location of shops, transport and services
Are pets allowed
Physical access to buildings etc in later years if frail
Levels of care offered
Costs – entry, exit extra service charges etc. These must be assessed carefully to determine the true cost when making a comparison between different villages
Type of contract? – the advantages and disadvantages of licence, lease, strata or company title must be examined – your rights as a resident and costs associated with the unit will also be affected by this
The Department of Fair Trading administers the Retirement Villages Act 1999 and regulations. This applies to all retirement villages in NSW and proper disclosure to prospective residents must be provided by village operators.

If you have any queries in relation to retirement village living we are happy to assist you. As this area of law has become more regulated you will feel confident making the move if you have experienced legal advisers to support you.

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Buying Property - Auction or Private Sale

Buying at Auction

Laws came into force in NSW 1 September 2003 to change the manner of bidding at auctions to achieve greater fairness.

Before attending the auction you will arrange for any building/ strata / pest checks and have our legal team advise you on the terms of the Contract.

If you are interested in buying the property you now have to comply with the new laws by registering your details with the agent. These details will be recorded in the Bidders Record and you will be given a number which you will display if you make a bid.

It is illegal to make dummy bids at an auction.

If you are the successful bidder, you then sign the contract and pay the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price). It is important to note that there is no cooling off period available to you if you buy at auction.

Whether you decide to buy at auction or direct from the owner or through the owner’s real estate agent, you will need to consider a number of issues:

Private Sale
There is no cooling off period when you buy at auction. Contracts are binding on fall of the hammer.
Private sale contracts may offer a cooling off period of 5 business days (shorter or longer by agreement of the parties). Can be expressly excluded by use of a signed Section 66W Certificate in the contract.
The full deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) is payable at the auction. Contract may allow release to the vendor, direct money be held in solicitor or agent’s trust account or be placed on deposit.
The full deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) is payable on exchange of contracts. Negotiations prior to exchange may exclude release of deposit to vendor.
All property inspections / reports have to be completed before the auction at your cost. If you are not the successful bidder you have to rationalise these costs as part of good buying tactics – the property is after all worth a large sum. If you have a cooling off period you can use this extra time to complete independent property inspections /reports. You can then decide whether to proceed based on this information or not if a defect is found (after payment of penalty fee from deposit).
The vendor will have given the auctioneer his reserve price. You are unaware of this until it is declared by the agent in the bidding.
Contracts will state the vendor’s asking price.
Questionable agent practices of underquoting to potential bidders to get them to the auction or planting dummy bidders. This is illegal. Recent legislation aimed at stamping out these practices has not resulted in many
Gazumping may occur. The contract is not legally binding until exchanged. Before this date you may experience another buyer’s higher offer being accepted by the vendor, particularly in a bullish market.
Terms of the contract are final on the fall of the
Parties may negotiate contract terms up until contracts are exchanged.
Bidding at auction requires strong commitment to stay within your price range and not get caught in the ‘heart over head’ auction drama. Price range more likely to be kept. Postcode price guide / valuations considered without presence of vendor’s agent.
Once reserve met and the property is officially on the market this is the only time to consider bidding. You now know the vendor’s lowest price and this could work to your advantage, especially if a mortgagee sale. May pave the way for a ‘good buy’ if not sold at auction.
Vendor may not negotiate on asking price. Alternatively, if listed on the market for some time or a deceased estate the vendor may be prepared to close on offers.


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Online instruction form for sale or purchase

Property Purchase Instruction Form

Property Sale Instruction Form

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SeniorLaw Sydney
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