The great Australian dream of buying and owning your quarter acre block with a Hills Hoist in the back yard is DEAD. Yes you heard me right, D-E-A-D. Over the last fifty years the dreams of young Australians have continued to evolve and what was once a right of passage – the purchase of the family home, in the suburbs, is increasingly being delayed or forgone in favor of a multitude of lifestyle options, be it a new car, travel or more flexible work arrangements.
As a lawyer I like to consider how these changes are impacting on us as a profession and how we are adapting ourselves in order to meet the needs of our clients. Whilst the ‘Great Australian Dream’ may be dead, the purchasing of apartments and off the plan properties is on the up and up, especially amongst the younger generation. Why should this matter to a property lawyer? Well truthfully it doesn’t, but it should matter to our conveyancing clients. Why? Because whilst the beautiful, often ‘not to scale’, glossy plans that you are looking at are attractive, in developments, the things that really need to be considered are the set of rights that attach to the title that you are seeking to purchase. It is these rights which create the future value in your property and from which your future obligations are derived.
Conveyancing Services are more than paper pushing, at least they are here at ThinkConveyancing.com.au. When performed by an experienced conveyancer or property lawyer, they are a value adding exercise which should better assist you in valuing the asset that you are considering investing in. The idea that a purchaser of an off the plan development should do so without having taken proper legal advice is mislead at best and downright RISKY at worst.
Buying a property is a long term commitment. The mortgage instrument which you use to buy it, is likely the most significant financial commitment you will ever commit to. To take such a step in the absence of advice from your conveyancer is to throw prudence to the wind and to allow yourself to get caught up in the moment without fully appreciating the importance of the contracts you are committing to.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of your property lawyer conveyancer for a moment…. If in the course of a normal conveyance, the purchase process is made of two elements:
- the seen (the house or existing apartment); and
- the unseen (the set of rights that attach to that house), then
in the instance of an off the plan purchase, ALL you have to commit to is the unseen portion of the contract. Meaning EVERYTHING needs to be in that contract. And when I say EVERYTHING I mean everything. None of the agents representations or the details in the brochure are valid, if they are not represented thoroughly in the contract.
More than that, with the obvious exception of experienced investors, as a young first time purchaser, an off-shore investor or a mum and dad investor, the question begs, do you have the experience to tell if something has been omitted or if you are taking a risk in the contract that when compared to the industry norms, is it excessive or unreasonable?
Whilst we see this all the time as conveyancers, it is a set of circumstances that we hasten to advise against. Whilst in most instances vendor sales contracts are measured and reasonable, taking advice is about ensuring that you fully understand and appreciate what it is you are committing to and can take that step with full knowledge. On occasion, where the contract needs amendment, a good conveyancer will be able to direct you to the ‘need to knows’ and the ‘needs to be carefully considered before proceeding’ clauses. If they are unwilling or unable to do that, then you need to ask the question of yourself if you have engaged the right people to represent you. The consequences are real.
Contracts drafted heavily in favour of developers can give rise to some unusual outcomes, a few that spring to mind are apartments whose complete aspect changes, apartments whose outdoor areas shrink in such a way as to not permit practical use and my favourite, an apartment carpark being located in ANOTHER BUILDING. Yes..you heard right! Another building. If that doesn’t inspire you to call your conveyancer before you sign, I don’t know what to say!
Spending money on a good conveyancing services is like buying insurance, it protects you against a small risk, which if it came to pass could be catastrophic. With increasing numbers of inexperienced buyers choosing to invest in these types of assets, I can’t stress the importance of this type of advice. Considering the consequences can include an inability to secure finance, a failure for the development to commence with your deposit funds being tied up for lengthy periods of time and or valuation issues prior to and post settlement, it is definitely an area where knowing and attempting to minimise your risk is critical.
If you are in the market to make an off the plan purchase, the ThinkConveyancing.com.au legal team are trained to advocate for you in the review and negotiation of your conveyancing contract. Our team have the necessary expertise to help you minimise your risk. You can find out more about our Fixed Fee Pricing for Purchaser Conveyancing here.When you consider the long term implications of a poor property decision, it is important that the changing dream of a lot of Australians to purchase property off the plan, is met with adequate advice and protection to ensure the same long term positive outcome that has been the birth right of so many Australian quarter acre block home owners for generations. A stable and secure investment class that brings security to the family and affords them the space with which to create future memories and wealth. With the end in mind, starting with an experienced conveyancer can only be described as best practice.