When you are buying a house you must enter into a Contract of Sale. There are different types of contracts but the most common include a Standard Contract version from either your states specific Real Estate and Legal Society ie REIV or LIV versions.
These industry standard contracts come with their own set of General Terms and Conditions. Special Conditions are additional conditions of the sale. They often alter or remove the general conditions. Sometimes special conditions are added to reflect the negotiation between the parties. You may need special conditions to be drafted yourself for due diligence or building and pest inspections.
Not all contracts will be the industry standard contract. Contracts can be complex to read and many lawyers and conveyancers have their own Contract template or version.
Their client may not be aware that the contract has these additional conditions. As it’s usually always the Vendor’s lawyer preparing the contract the special conditions usually removes the purchasers’ rights or limits them. Mostly, the contract you are being asked to sign will be prepared by the vendors lawyer and to benefit them.
So it is important to get contract advice. Purchasers don’t know what rights are being limited or removed and how it will impact them.
Common amendments to special conditions in Victoria increase the amount of penalty interest a purchaser must pay. Others may include additional fees they have to pay in event of a default or other changes such as nominations. They can also remove other seemingly lesser terms such as notice periods etc. These changes can add up if you or your bank is late for settlement or something else happens.
As the vendor is usually unaware that their lawyer has these in their contract getting it changed is usually easy. If this proves a little tricky your conveyancer can help negotiate the changes. Most lawyers readily accept reasonable requests to their special conditions.
As a part of our advice to you we also check the other documentation and ensure you know what you are buying.
If you do need your own special conditions such as building and pest or due diligence periods, we draft them so they can be relied on. Some issues can arise if special conditions are poorly drafted and ambiguous. Don’t always rely on special conditions proposed by the Real Estate Agent as they may not be sufficient.
Many real estate agents will try and limit the changes you want to make to a contract to make their job easier.
If you and the vendor both agree to something – get it in writing. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and make sure it’s drafted properly.
Common special conditions are for:
Building & Pest Inspections
Access to the property prior to settlement
List of goods included/excluded from the sale – Ornaments, chandeliers, garden features, furniture items.
Photos or plans of the Property
Amendments to the settlement date
One of the most common issues is around bringing a settlement date forward. The vendor verbally agrees in the negotiation phase and then changes their mind later leaving the purchaser confused and sometimes with mismatched settlement dates. This can be a real problem if you are trying to co-ordinate settlement dates.
At Conveyancing Depot our lawyers or conveyancers can discuss these issues ahead of time and avoid problems later.
Speak to one of our conveyancing lawyers today to see how we can help on 1300 900 440.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and may not apply to your situation. This information should not be relied upon for legal, tax or accounting advice. Your individual circumstances will alter any legal advice given. The views expressed may not reflect the opinions, views or values of Conveyancing Depot and belong solely to the author of the content. © Conveyancing Depot Pty Ltd.
If you require legal advice specific to your situation please speak to one of our team members today.
Jessica is an experienced conveyancing lawyer and has enjoyed helping many clients buy and sell...