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A Lawyer’s Guide to Selling Your House Privately

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A Lawyer’s Guide to Selling Your House Privately

Deciding to sell your home is a huge decision. Furthermore, deciding to sell privately can feel overwhelming, but with the right preparations and research as well as legal guidance, the process can be go as smooth as possible. By following these steps, you will have the best chance at getting it right and eventually finding a great outcome.

  1. Hire a solicitor or conveyancer

When it comes to selling your property privately there are several legal matters that you must be aware of. The first thing that should be noted is that selling your property privately does not create any extra legal strain or work that it would to otherwise sell through an agent.

The same laws and processes apply in both circumstances. A solicitor or conveyancer still needs to be hired to prepare the contract of sale and vendor’s statement (also known as section 32), and the process of settlement still ensues exactly in the same manner whether you chose to sell with an agent or privately.

The difference comes down to making sure that you are personally across the process and order in which documents must be prepared so that you stick to your legal obligations and the sale runs as smoothly as possible.

2.Find out what the laws are in your state

The laws and legal institutions that govern the process of property sale differ on a state-by-state basis, meaning the first thing you should do when you move to sell your house privately is to look into what the exact laws are in your relevant state.

It is important to be across this before you put your house on the market to make sure you know what is legally required of you. In NSW, for example, it is unlawful to put a property on the market and begin advertising prior to a contract of sale being established.

3. Get across your documentation

There are a number of documents that needs to be prepared prior to selling your property. The amount of paperwork you need to work through will depend on your situation (for example, if the house has an existing mortgage). The two central documents that you will definitely require when selling your property are a contract of sale and a vendor’s statement.

The exchange of the contract of sale marks an important part of the process of selling the property, the contract itself being a legally binding document that is essential to the legitimization of the sale. The contract of sale outlines exactly what the buyer will be receiving on settlement day – ie, the state of the property itself along with any fixtures, furniture or appliances that might be included in the sale.

The contract of sale will also include title documents, a drainage diagram, and a current planning certificate as well as the settlement date.

Always check the contract of sale with a solicitor to make sure you are comfortable with it, and don’t sign if you aren’t. Once the contract is signed by both parties a cooling-off period begins.

A cooling-off period is a fixed interval of time typically ranging from 2-5 days, in which the buyer is entitled to change their mind about the sale without any penalties. The duration of a cooling off period varies from state to state. Once the cooling-off period is over, the sale is locked in.

The other document you will need to prepare is the vendor’s statement, which will explain details about the land the property is built on, the restrictions according to council zoning, as well as information about utilities the property has such as drainage and powerlines.

Keep in mind that if the vendor’s statement is deemed incomplete, insufficient, or if it contains incorrect information about the property, the contract of sale can be withdrawn.

4. Plan with your solicitor

The most important step you should take if you are selling your property privately is to plan and prepare the sale with the aid of a conveyancer or solicitor. The solicitor or conveyancer should prepare your documents and cover any negotiations that take place during the settlement period. With their help, selling your house privately will be much easier and hopefully enable you to achieve the price you are looking for without the cost or inconvenience of hiring an agent.