Conveyancing10 Things That Can Go Wrong When Selling A Property

October 30, 2018

Well just about everything really and it results in House Settlement Problems and Delayed Settlements!

The process of selling a property can become incredibly stressful depending if you are also buying and if your buyer is also selling.

If that’s enough then let me warn you that the process can be further complicated by issues such as narrow timelines in your contract, financial institutions that often take longer than you should, searches that reveal unknown facts and building and pest reports that at times introduce unexpected results.

This article provides a snapshot of some of the problems you may encounter as part of your sale. Keep in mind that this is by no means the full list and you should always consult with your lawyer.

1. Have you allowed sufficient funds for the Sale?

Did you agree to a lower price “just to get rid of the property”? Emotions will always play a part when selling your property. Whether you are selling because you have found another property, change in job, financier or separation. It is important to factor in all the costs involved in selling your property and not be left short and unable to effect settlement.

Before listing your property for sale and definitely before signing a contract you should consider the following:-

a) Confirm with your bank an approximate payout amount of your loan and if there are any break costs;

b) Confirm with your Agent what fees are payable, will you be paying fees for marketing and get a rough idea of the maximum commission amount you will be charged;

c) Confirm with your Solicitor what fees will be charged and what factors to consider to avoid incurring any additional charges;

d) Do you have any rates, water, land tax or withholding tax amounts owing that are significant and could impact the balance of funds you will receive at settlement?

e) If you are buying another property, have you considered the fees and outlays such as stamp duty and search fees associated with the purchase – will there be a shortfall of money that you will need to provide?

2. Inclusions and Exclusions to the Contract

Sentimental value – have you discussed with the Agent if there are any exclusions to the property that you were planning to take with you when you sold?

Do your curtains match your bedspread or shelves in the garage and you always intended to take them with you. If they are not noted in the Contract as an exclusion the Buyer may require them to remain at the property and you may need to negotiate with the Buyer which could potentially cost you money.

3. Don’t rush in to signing a Contract

It’s too late to agree to what you actually wanted after the Contract is signed!

Take time to know what you are doing. This is a big decision, don’t sign in “haste”. You are entitled to obtain legal advice prior to signing a Contract – get advice!

4. Signing a Contract of Sale doesn’t mean the property is “Sold”

Generally, contracts are conditional upon the Buyer satisfying themselves in relation to finance, building and pest, due diligence etc. If you have a Contract on your property don’t commit to buying another property without obtaining legal advice to ensure that should the sale of your property not settle, you have not committed to buy another property.

5. Disclosure

As a Seller you must disclose to the Buyer if you are aware of any proposed developments that may affect your property. Failing to disclose any information may give the Buyer a right to terminate or claim compensation if they are affected.

6. Easements must be included in the contract!

Know your property. If you are aware of an Easement on your property, whether it be registered or not you must include the details in the Contract. The Agent will not assume or know that there is an Easement, you need to discuss this. An easement can take the form of a sewerage or storm-water drain or a bush fire easement

7. Is the property mortgaged?

You may have paid out your loan years ago but the mortgage may be still registered over the Title. A title search will confirm if there are any registered mortgages. It is your responsibility to contact your bank to organise the release so there is no delaying settlement.

8. Is there an original Certificate of Title?

A title search will confirm if an original Certificate of Title has issued. If a Certificate has issued you are responsible to providing your Solicitor with the original document prior to settlement. Settlement cannot be effected if this is not provided. If the Certificate is “lost” there is a lengthy process involved to satisfy the Titles Office that this is the case and to cancel the Certificate. Knowing this prior to entering into a Contract can avoid settlement being delayed.

9. Are you going overseas while your property is on the market?

Properties don’t always sell at a convenient time. When you sell your property, there are legal documents that need to be signed and witnessed by qualified people. If you intend to go overseas, you want to enjoy your holiday and not stress over finding a computer or an Australian Consulate. Speak to your Solicitor about completing a Power of Attorney document for the sale of your home.

10. Have you chosen the right lawyer to do your conveyancing?

Saving a few dollars in your conveyancing is the last thing you think about when something goes wrong. You pay for what you get. Don’t be tempted by silly pricing, chose a lawyer that will stand beside you when things go wrong and provide the level of assistance to protect your investment.

The team at A.L.F. Lawyers are ready and prepared to assist you with the sale of your property. Contact us at or request a quote for your sale contract.

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