Let’s face it: there’s not much value left in the Sydney property market. That’s why so many Sydney-siders are flocking to Melbourne, whether to relocate or to invest from afar.
I’ve assisted dozens of New South Wales-based clients with purchasing property in Victoria. Property law is State-based and there are significant differences, so here are my top three legal tips for Sydney peeps buying down here:
Once the contract is signed, the deal is done
The contract contains all the terms and conditions about your property purchase, including any building and pest inspection clause, finance approval period and the settlement date. All of these items are up for negotiation between the parties. If it’s not in the contract, it’s not part of the deal. This is different to NSW, where the process and timeline are dictated by the law (outside of the contract). Never sign a contract without getting legal advice first: once you sign, it’s too late to negotiate any terms or add any special conditions.
Beware the cooling off period – if there is one
Purchasers have a three business day cooling off period, that starts from the day after the vendor signs the contract. The buyer can pull out of the contract before the three days is up, provided they serve notice on the vendor’s conveyancer/solicitor. The vendor is entitled to keep a small amount of the deposit if the purchaser cools off. But there is no cooling off period if the property was purchased at an auction, or within three business days (before or after) of an advertised auction. If you buy at auction, there’s no going back.
Know what comes with the property, and what doesn’t
Anything fixed to the property (screwed, nailed, bolted or permanently attached) automatically comes with the property. This includes light fittings, window furnishings, floor coverings, TV antennas, air-conditioners, built in-kitchen appliances and permanent structures. For the avoidance of doubt, items that aren’t fixed to the property should be listed as Goods Sold With The Land in the contract, such as a freestanding dishwasher and oven, pool equipment and water features. TV wall brackets and cupboard shelving can be problematic – if you want them to come with the property, make sure they are specifically listed in the contract. If the vendor wants to take a fixture with them (such as a particular light fitting or built-in book shelf), they need to specify that in the contract too.