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Shedding light on patrons’ burning questions

REIWA launched an information service in 1992 to help buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords navigate their property journeys.

The service allows Western Australians dealing with a REIWA agent to find answers to their real estate queries and concerns.

REIWA President Damian Collins spoke with West Real Estate and addressed some common buyer questions.

What happens if the lender cannot approve my application by the latest date?

A buyer can attempt to negotiate with the seller to extend the finance timeframe.

If an agreement cannot be reached for an extension, the contract will continue until either the seller terminates the contract whereby the deposit will be refunded to the buyer, or the buyer notifies the seller that the finance has been approved.

If I need finance, do I have to nominate a lender together with the amount of the loan?

No. The financial conditions state that if no details are provided, then the lender can be any lender and the amount of loan will be equal to the purchase price.

Can I withdraw my offer during negotiations?

An offer could be withdrawn at any time prior to the seller signing and notifying the buyer that the contract had been signed.

What happens if I am told the owner is considering multiple offers?

In the current market, it is not unusual for a seller to receive multiple offers.

It is important to remember that the seller is not under any obligation to consider offers in the order that they were received.

You may or may not be offered the opportunity to submit your best offer.

If you are not offered a formal opportunity to revise your offer, then you should consider if the offer that has been presented is your best offer in terms of purchase price and associated conditions.

You can revise your offer and present it to the salesperson if you choose to.

Through their sales representative, sellers will often advise all the buyers that have submitted an offer that multiple offers have been received and will give you the opportunity to revise your offer by the set date they provide.

Is there a time limit on how long a seller has to respond to an offer?

There are no laws saying how long a seller has to respond to an offer.

If the buyer is not satisfied with how long the seller is taking, they can withdraw their offer or alternatively put in a sunset date in their offer at which time the offer lapses without any need to formally withdraw.

Whose responsibility is it to undertake the building inspection?

Any special condition requiring a building inspection is not a standard condition of the contract.

Normally, as it is the buyer who requires a building inspection or termite inspection, the costs of those inspections are borne by the buyer.

What is a structural defect?

Structural defects relate to the building structure, not items that are cosmetic or minor, non-structural matters such as leaking taps and power points that are not working.

Most buyers and sellers use the REIWA annexure, which defines a structural defect and requires a building inspection to be completed in accordance with Australian Standards.

What is the purpose of the final inspection?

It is a standard term in the contract whereby the seller provides a representation that the property will be in the same state and condition that it was in immediately prior to the contract date.

The purpose of the final inspection is to ensure that the seller is keeping to their representation. For example, if the grass is green on contract date, then it must be green on settlement date.

The contract may also contain special conditions. For example, it may require the seller to paint the lounge room red and, at the final inspection, you will determine if the seller has actually painted the room red.

Why am I given a disclosure statement when buying a strata-titled property?

It is a requirement under the Strata Titles Act for the buyer to be given certain information before they sign the contract of sale.

The disclosure sets out details about the strata lot that is being purchased, provides copies of the scheme plan and bylaws, and copies of any minutes and statements of accounts and details about the levies, which the strata lot owners pay for the upkeep of common property.

Are electronic signatures permitted?

Yes, electronic signatures are legal through the Electronic Transactions Act. It is now very common for all contracts to be signed electronically.

When does a contract come into place?

When all parties have signed an agreement to the terms and conditions of the contract, the representing sales agent will notify the parties that a contract is in place.

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