Buying a house or land may be the most important legal transaction you make in your life. There are still lots of nasty expensive surprises for the unwary. Sometimes, legal problems can crop up leading to a Contract being terminated, and one party being sued for damages which can result in long delays and crippling Court costs.

Even before you sign a contract or pay a deposit, we can provide free legal advice and Special Conditions to be attached to the contract to protect your interests.

If you are unable to obtain our help before the contract is signed, we recommend that the contract be subject to the following Special Condition:-

‘This contract is subject to and conditional upon the purchaser’s solicitors approving the terms of this contract. The purchaser’s solicitors shall be deemed to have accepted all of the terms of this contract unless they provide written notification to the contrary to the vendor’s agent or solicitors by 5 pm on that day which is two business days from the date the purchaser’s solicitors receive this contract whereupon this contract shall be at an end and all money paid by the purchaser shall be forthwith refunded in full.’

The standard REIQ Contract of Sale incorporates another REIQ document called ‘Terms of Contract’ which is a booklet of pre-printed clauses that should be given to you at the time the contract is signed.

A. HOUSES

‘Time of the essence’

Once each party receives a signed copy of the contract and the deposit (or part deposit) has been paid, each party is bound by any time limits contained in the contract e.g. finance approval or completion date. Failure by one party to strictly observe these time limits may result in the other party being able to terminate and sue for damages!!

Split deposit

If the deposit is paid in two installments e.g. a small amount upon signing the contract and a balanced amount at a later date, failure to pay that balance amount by the due date immediately places the purchaser in default. The vendor can terminate the Contract and keep the part-deposit already paid and also sue the purchaser for damages for breach of contract. Not paying a deposit on time is, therefore, a very serious problem.

Inclusions and Exclusions

The law makes a distinction between fixtures and chattels, with the sale price usually including fixtures but not chattels. Fixtures are structures secured either to the land itself (e.g. sheds bolted into concrete slabs, constructed BBQs, statutes, or stone garden seats) or secured to buildings secured to the land (e.g. built-in dishwashers and vacumaids). Chattels, therefore, are generally movable items. To avoid any uncertainty, the Contract Schedule provides an opportunity to list those items which are included in or excluded from the sale price.