The time has come to sell your first homebuyer’s dream home and upsize your life to somewhere bigger. It’s going to be fantastic, and everyone’s looking forward to moving. You already have an area mapped out, and if you get the price you’re after, it should be a cakewalk. But you’ve only ever bought a house before; you haven’t sold one. Much is on your mind. You’re someone who likes to be prepared. For instance, what do you need to know to sell your property? We don’t mean just prettying up the place and hammering a for-sale house into the front garden. What type of paperwork is involved? What kinds of obligations and conditions will these documents entail? In short, what should you expect on the legal side of things? Here then is a breakdown of the documents you’ll require so that you can list your house on the market.
Sell Your Property: The Sales Contract
Everything we summarise has its equivalent in every state and territory. To simplify matters, we’re extrapolating from the NSW guide. We link to the different state advisory sites: Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA. Do check these since not everything will be exact. However, the first step in selling your property is to draw up a sales contract. Without a sales contract, you won’t be able to advertise it as being for sale in NSW. All states require a sales contract. Your solicitor or conveyancer prepares the contract, although templates are available. In some states, your real estate agent can provide a basic sales contract. A contract of sale contains all the information pertinent to the sale of a property. It includes the names and addresses of the vendor and homebuyer. Likewise, it lays out the conditions stipulated by both parties. Once both parties have signed, it becomes legally binding.
The information contained in the contract varies by state. However, it will include factors such as the price and initial deposit. You will find the terms and conditions of payment along with the loan details. Any improvements to the property and exclusions from the sale will be added. Whatever that may be included within the title, such as household fixtures, furnishings, and chattels are listed. The cooling-off period is as defined by state law. You must enter the intended property settlement date and period. This will be according to state law and will indicate any penalty rates. The date of the offer should be stated. Thereafter, the parties will make notifications of encumbrances such as a mortgage or lease agreement. Finally, there is the certificate of title information. The contract might contain other information, especially that which the state indicates. Special conditions are to be highlighted and acknowledged.
Sell Your Property: Other Contract Information
This is a very broad outline of what might be incorporated into the sales contract when you sell your property. However, it doesn’t end there. For example, the owner must disclose essential information regarding utilities and the council zoning certificate. The owner must also include whatever applicable warranties are and, importantly, notification of defects. Without such information, a buyer is justified in terminating the contract. This is fair since the homebuyer has every right to know whether the land contains sewers owned by other authorities. Similarly, they’ll want to be informed if plans are afoot for a public authority to purchase the land or suchlike. All negotiated agreements are entered into the contract, like cancellation fees and fixtures and fittings. We mentioned those before. However, they must be mutually agreed to beforehand. It would be a shame if the owner forgot about the priceless Monet hanging in the living room.
Sell Your Property: Property Title Deeds
We indicated these are included in the sales contract when you sell your property. But we’ll take a closer look at what they are and how you come about them. Again, check the links provided earlier for your state, as these might differ from NSW. In NSW, the Land Registry Service oversees all land registry services in the state. However, it was privatised in 2017 and no longer provides titles and plans directly to the public. Nonetheless, they can be obtained by online services for a fee (under $100). Bear in mind that this is a copy only. To obtain the original, you must search for the state’s municipal land registry authorities. The certificate of title is issued by the LRS (in NSW) and is proof of ownership of the property. It contains all the information about the property, etc.
Additionally, there’s good news for those who have a habit of losing paper documents. You no longer need possession of the original or even a copy of it to sell your property in NSW. In a shift away from paper, the state government has moved to 100% electronic conveyance. Therefore, paper submissions are no longer used for land and property transactions. Your conveyancer or lawyer bears the responsibility of conducting searches and registrations on your behalf. If you so choose, you might nonetheless want to obtain and print a copy for personal reasons. Once upon a time, you provided the title deed to your solicitor to prove ownership. They now file an electronic Certificate of Title (eCT). An eCT functions the same as a paper deed, providing a record of land ownership. Even if your bank still holds the Certificate of Title, you needn’t worry. It’s no longer relevant.
Sell Your Property: Zoning Certificate
The zoning certificate is included in the sales contract. This certificate (Section 10.7 certificates in NSW) is issued by local councils and varies by state and locality. Nevertheless, its purpose is universal, whatever it’s called. As previously described, they detail whatever controls or restrictions apply to the land. They impact how a property is used. For instance, if it’s a heritage-listed house, then permission may be needed before work can be done on the building. It also shows property constraints such as levels of flooding, land contamination, and bushfire-prone land. The information is divided into sections, with the aforementioned listed in section 10.7(2). A Section 10.7 (5) certificate includes factors such as advice from other authorities. It provides information that the council holds on a property that is relevant to the land but isn’t disclosed in Section 10.7(2). You can apply online for your certificate at the NSW planning portal.
Sell Your Property: Personal Identification
This may sound silly because of its obviousness, but it’s still a requirement, so we’ll add it to the list. Your real estate agent and the solicitor will need to see your identification. Even if you have the certificate, you still must prove who you are for legal reasons. These will be viewed and approved by your agent and legal representative. The points of ID include your driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, and medicare card. Those items will cover the points needed to prove you are who you say you are. Imagine a scenario where a wicked relative impersonates you after getting hold of your deed. You might be away overseas. They may take advantage of your absence to sell your house to fund their addiction to the casino. OK, that’s unlikely to get them very far, but as Shakespeare said, “There are more things in heaven and earth.”
- Sales contract
- Zoning certificate
- Title deeds
- Drainage diagram
- Swimming pool certificate (if applicable)
- Property exclusions
- A statement of the buyer’s rights in regards to the cooling-off period
It takes a lot of documents to sell your property. Mercifully, as we move away from paper, these are more easily consolidated. Soon, your identity and your property information will be interlinked. The hassle will be gone. But right now, this is just a rough outline of what you’ll need to move forward and sell your house. Some might be overwhelmed by the list of documents. And every property is different, and states have their laws and bureaucratic requirements. Then again, the process is made much easier with the most important item of all! Once you’ve found your perfect real estate agent, they will explain everything you’ll need to complete the sale. They’ll tell you what is required, what you must do, and where to find it. But if you need help finding that perfect agent, then contact us! We’ll match you with the best real estate professional for you!