What do I need to do to sell a Property in Queensland?
If you have not sold a Property before, then the first thing you should do when you decide to sell a Property in Queensland is to engage an experienced real estate agent and a solicitor / conveyancer to explain and advise you of the relevant process. You will then need to authorise your real estate agent to find potential Buyers for you and draft a Contract for you to peruse before signing. If you have any concerns in relation to the legal aspects of the sale, then you should consult a Solicitor for advice before proceeding further.
When should I engage a Solicitor or Conveyancer?
If you have sold a Property in Queensland before and are comfortable with the pre-Contract process, then you may decide only to engage a Solicitor after a Contract has been signed to only complete the required documents to give effect to the sale. However, it is always recommended that you consult, if briefly, a Solicitor to satisfy yourself of the process and the legal consequences of non-compliance so you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities surrounding a transaction.
What is my obligation towards the Buyer before the Contract is signed?
You are required to make certain disclosures to your Buyers in relation to the Property in question, including the status of any electrical safety switch, smoke alarms, neighbourhood disputes, pool safety etc… If you are selling a Property within a strata scheme, then you will also need to provide the Buyer with a Disclosure Statement, usually drafted by your Body Corporate Manager before they sign the Contract.
Who is entitled to the Deposit if the Contract is terminated by the Buyer?
If the Contract is validly terminated by the Buyer and the terms of the Contract provides that the Deposit is to be returned to the Buyer, then you must refund the Deposit to the Buyer within a reasonable time. If the Buyer has served notice to terminate the Contract under conditional clauses such as Finance, Building and Pest Inspection and/or Due Diligence, then the Deposit is ordinarily to be refunded to the Buyer. However, if you are unsure of your rights and obligations, you should consult a Solicitor to advise you of the parties’ entitlements under the Contract before proceeding further.
Do I have to let the bank know that I have sold the Property?
If you have an existing mortgage with a bank when you have sold the Property, then you will need to inform the bank and complete a Discharge Authority so that the bank can provide the required Release of Mortgage at Settlement. Please note that it is then your responsibility to ensure that the sale proceeds are sufficient to payout your mortgage at Settlement. Otherwise, you will need to make alternate arrangements to provide additional funds to discharge the mortgage prior to or at Settlement.
Do I have to pay the council and water rates when I have sold the Property?
You should ensure that you are up to date with your accounts for as long as the Property remains in your name. You only have to confirm with your Solicitor / Conveyancer whether you have or haven’t paid your due, so that appropriate adjustments can be made at Settlement to clear all debts.
What do I do if the Property that I am selling has a Tenant living in it?
If the Tenant will remain within the Property by the time the Property is settled, then you should include the Tenancy details in the relevant section of the Reference Schedule to make the Contract subject to tenancy. This is to ensure that you would not have the obligation to provide vacant possession to the Buyer at Settlement. Please note that this is a protection mechanism for you as well as a disclosure requirement placed on you by the standard terms of the Contract. Hence, if you are unclear of your obligations, you should consult a Solicitor before signing acceptance of an offer.
What do I do if the Property has a pool?
It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that a pool has a current Pool Safety Certificate. Hence, if you are selling a Property with a pool in it, then you should provide the Pool Safety Certificate to the Buyer at the time of signing. If your property does not have a current Pool Safety Certificate at the time of signing, then you make the appropriate disclosures and serve appropriate notice on your Buyer. Please consult a Solicitor if you do not have a current Pool Safety Certificate to ascertain your rights and responsibilities.
How do I receive my sale proceeds from Settlement?
If your financier provides the service, you can request that your financier receive all funds at Settlement and automatically credit your existing savings account held with the same financier with the surplus from the sale proceeds. This can usually be done by completing the relevant section of the Discharge Authority with your bank account details. If your financier does not accept surplus funds at Settlement, then alternate arrangements will need to be made with your Solicitor / Conveyancer. Please contact them to confirm your preferred arrangements.
What do I do with the keys to the Property?
You should provide your real estate agent with a copy of the keys to the Property at the time of engaging them so that they can allow potential Buyers to inspect the Property prior to Contract. They should also keep a set of keys during the Settlement period so that they can allow Buyer access to the Property for their routine inspections, if you are not able to allow access yourself.
Closer towards Settlement and before the appointed time, you should ensure that all keys, pins, access codes and pass are given to the real estate agent for collection by the Buyer after Settlement.