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What You Need to Know About Buying Land

The Process

Posted on 12 Aug 2017

Looking to build, found the perfect block and wondering what to do next? We’ve broken down the process into simple steps, and have Peet sales representatives around the country who can step you through it as well.

1. Make an offer

With your home research done and finances sorted you’ll be ready to write up an offer or contract of sale. A contract of sale is the legal agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of your property purchase, including the price offered, settlement period and any special terms or conditions. Most offers are either:
  • Unconditional, usually when you have cash available immediately; or
  • Conditional, nominating specific conditions on which the sale relies, such as securing finance or the sale of an existing home.
Before you write up the contract of sale you should check if the land is titled or untitled. Titles (certificates of title) are legal documents issued by governments, which outline the lot details and owner/s’ name. You need a title to transfer land from one owner to another:
  • Titled lots already have a title, so land transfer can occur straight away.
  • Untitled lots do not have a title (they may still be under development or recently completed) and you need to wait for the certificate of title to be issued, which will affect your settlement date.
A legal advisor will be able to explain these details and Peet strongly recommends you seek both professional financial and legal advice before signing any contract of sale. 

2. Exchange the contract

When both you and the seller are happy with conditions and the purchase price, both parties sign the contract of sale. This is called the exchange of contract.

3. Pay a deposit

Immediately after the exchange of contract, you will be required to pay a deposit. This is held in a trust account and cannot be accessed by the developer until settlement (when the property changes from one owner to another).

At this time, you will also be asked to sign a transfer of land document, which is then registered by the owner/developer with the Land Titles Office so the property can be transferred to your name.

4. Get sorted in pre-settlement

If the contract of sale includes any conditions, you should ensure the conditions are met by the due date/s. A settlement agent or solicitor can help with this and handle the paperwork involved in purchasing your new home. They will also work with you and/or your lender or mortgage broker to ensure any loan arrangements are documented.
 
This is also the time to start some of the fun stuff, like choosing your home design and builder and finalising your building plans. Your new home plans and specifications should be completed, and the building contract signed, to ensure your loan is approved and your land purchase can settle by the due date.

5. Time to settle

It’s official!  Once titles are issued and your contract conditions are met, settlement takes place. At settlement, the balance of the purchase price is handed over to the seller and your representative will ensure documents are registered so the title reflects the change of land ownership.
 
Finally, you take ownership of your property – a major milestone for any property buyer!

If you have any queries about the land buying process, please speak with one of our sales representatives who can also outline specific dates and details relating to contracts of sale. 

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