8 Steps to Buying Property

6. Making an Offer

Putting your offer in writing shows the seller that you are serious, and avoids confusion that can occur with verbal negotiations. The real estate agent will present a buyer with a number of documents and is obliged to go through these documents to avoid any confusion. If a buyer still has queries at this stage, they are encouraged to seek independent legal advice.

The REIQ Contract of Sale (approved by the Queensland Law Society ) has provision in the schedule for the contract to be subject to finance, a building inspection and/or a pest inspection if these are required. However, parties may also agree to vary the standard conditions in the contract.

Visit the research section: Multiple Offers for more information on what happens with multiple offers on a property.

Or if you’re buying at auction, visit the research section: Tips for Buying at Auction to learn more about this process.

Pay a Deposit

A buyer will be encouraged to pay a deposit when signing the offer. If the deposit is greater than 10 per cent of the price, the contract becomes an ‘Installment Contract’. Whilst paying a deposit is not something that is legally required, by doing so buyers show the seller that they are making a serious offer and showing their goodwill. Deposits can be paid by way of cash, cheque or electronic transfer of funds. They can also be paid using deposit bonds or bank guarantees. Buyers should seek advice from their financier as to any associated costs with deposit bonds or bank guarantees before paying a deposit in this form.

Conditions

If a buyer terminates the contract under the cooling-off period or another legitimate way, the deposit is refundable (excluding the termination penalty of the cooling-off if the seller elects to charge it).

It is important for a buyer to ensure building and pest inspections (if applicable) are carried out within the time frame set out in the condition. With regards to finance, if an independent valuation is required as part of the finance process, buyers should ensure their financer has this arranged within the time frame of the condition.

If a buyer feels that any conditions may not be finalised by the applicable end date, they should seek legal advice from their solicitor as soon as possible. Commonly, a solicitor may suggest a buyer requests from the seller an extension to the condition date. It is the seller’s discretion to grant, or not grant, the request.

NEXT STEP

Step seven: Conveyancing