Frequently Asked Questions | Property Lawyers Canberra

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to buy a house?

It all depends on the settlement terms negotiated between the vendor and purchaser. Generally, 30 to 60 days is common period between exchange and settlement in the ACT. But this does vary depending on the individual circumstances of the sale or purchase.

Can I pull out of my sale/purchase?

You can withdraw from the transaction at any time before the exchange of contracts. But this means if you have performed any searches or surveys, you still will be required to pay the costs of those. Once contracts are exchanged the transaction is legally binding and both parties are committed to complete the transaction.

What is an exchange?

Exchange is the stage in the conveyancing process where the solicitors from the vendor’s side and the purchaser’s side meet to exchange the contracts of sale. The purchaser’s solicitor will give the vendor’s solicitor the deposit at this time. Once contracts are exchanged, the sale is legally binding on both parties.

What is a cooling-off period?

In the ACT a five day statutory cooling off period applies during which the purchaser can pull out of the contract with the minor cost of 0.25% of the purchase price being forfeited. The cooling off period can be waived through a certificate issued by the purchasers solicitor and this is used in the majority of sales. A cooling off period does not apply to properties purchased at auction.

What is settlement?

Settlement is the day where the purchaser pays the balance of the sale money and collects the keys to the property. For a sale, it is the day your liability over the property ceases.

Do we have to pay a deposit?

All vendors require the buyer to pay a deposit and it is the vendor who decides on the level of the deposit. Generally most vendors require 10% of the purchase price as the deposit. However, it is becoming more common that vendors will accept 5% as a deposit.

When do I pay the deposit?

The deposit is required by exchange generally it is handed over as part of the
exchange process. It is increasingly common for purchasers to pay the deposit
directly to the real estate agents trust account prior to exchange.

On my sale, when do I receive the proceeds?

On the day of settlement you receive your sale money from your bank. The legal fees and disbursements will be deducted from the sale money.

What are disbursements?

Disbursements are the costs incurred by your solicitor in the process of organising your purchase or sale. These generally relate to title, revenue and utility searches and exchange and settlement fees.

When do I pay the legal fees?

For a sale, the legal fees are deducted from the sale money at settlement.
For a purchase the legal fees are included in the money you need to provide for settlement and a separate cheque is drawn for this figure and paid at settlement.

Where do I collect the keys from?

The keys are generally available for collection from the real estate agent following settlement or they are provided by the Vendor at the settlement.