This guide explains the basic steps involved when buying a property in the ACT. We’ve included the responsibilities of everyone involved so that you understand what you need to do. Also included are some notes on timing as well as some tips to ensure the purchase of your house runs as smoothly as possible. As always, if you have any questions along the way, just ask. We ‘re with you.

Your solicitor cannot control how long it takes for the Seller’s Solicitor to provide the Contract. Generally speaking however, this should not take longer than 1 week. Chamberlains will arrange to meet with you to review the Contract within 24 hours of receiving the Contract from the Seller’s solicitor. Exchange will generally occur 2 – 3 weeks after this, once you have arranged unconditional finance with your bank. This can happen a lot faster if your bank is ready to go or you are not borrowing to purchase. Unless anything unexpected occurs (e.g. Bank has not completed certification of the Mortgage documents), Settlement will occur on the date agreed in the Sale Contract. This date is usually 30, 60 or 90 days after exchange.

Top Tips for Buying a House in the ACT

Tip 1 – Understand There May Be Hiccups Along The Way

Things do go wrong when purchasing property, the most common being:

1. The bank is unable to settle on time. If the loan cannot be processed by the date of settlement, you will be unable to meet your settlement obligations on time. This will cause you to be in breach of your Contract of Sale and you may incur penalty fees, interest, or termination of the contract in some cases. Be sure to keep your solicitor or conveyancer informed of your situation so that they can liaise with your bank to ensure your loan documents are be able to be processed in a timely manner. In some cases, you will also be able to apply for a settlement extension.

2. The property is not in the same condition as when you signed your Contract of Sale. If you notice flaws or maintenance issues when you conduct a final inspection of the property, you will need to discuss your rights with your conveyancer. You have certain rights under the Contract of Sale and you should be able to dispute the condition of the property. This is unfortunately a common issue, which your solicitor or conveyancer will be able to assist you with.

3. You or the seller can’t settle on time and you’ve booked your removalist and taken time off work? If settlement is cancelled for any reason by either the Seller or the Buyer, Chamberlains can discuss with the Seller’s solicitor if occupation would be available. The Seller is entitled to decline this request, however if they agree the solicitors will prepare an occupation agreement and negotiate a rental amount that can be adjusted on settlement. If the Buyer takes occupation prior to settlement the Buyer is expected to accept the property in its current state.

Tip 2 – Get your Financials (bank funds) Sorted First

It is extremely important to know your borrowing capacity when you are looking at purchasing a property so it is best to obtain a pre-approval from your bank/broker before the temptation of looking for your new home. Once you have decided on a property you must execute any loan documents with your bank as a matter of urgency to avoid any delays with Settlement.

Tip 3 – Get your Property Inspected

In the ACT it is a requirement for the Seller to provide a Building and Pest Report, and you are liable for the cost of these reports on settlement. If you have any concerns about the condition of the building you could have the property assessed by an independent building inspector who may disclose things that the Seller’s reports do not. You will still be responsible for the cost of the Seller’s report, along with your own independent inspections. If you have concerns with recent government developments of the Asbestos known as Mr Fluffy then you should consider an independent Asbestos Report for any home that was built over 40 years ago.

Tip 4 – Use an Experienced Conveyancer

This is important because they have likely seen it all before and know the best way to handle all kinds of situations involved in the process, they will have a high level of knowledge and relationships with other people in the industry.