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Buying Property

With a focus on commercial, residential and mixed-use, our property team delivers the certainty you need. Whether you are purchasing your first property or are a property developer, an investor or a landlord, we’ll protect your interests.

Our expertise includes:

  • Buying or Selling Property
  • Buying or Selling a Business
  • Commercial + Retail Leasing
  • Liquor Licensing
  • Finance Negotiation
  • Joint Ventures
  • Contract Review
  • Off-the-Plan Developments
  • Subdivisions
  • Transfer of Properties
  • Planning + Development Agreements


Steps to Purchasing Property


Step 1: Getting Loan Approval
Sanford Legal highly recommends that you secure an unconditional loan approval before you enter into a contract to buy property. This may require your bank to obtain a valuation of the property you wish to purchase. An unconditional loan approval takes between 5 to 10 days. If you enter into a contract and can’t complete the contract due to a lack of funds, you will forfeit the full 10% deposit to the seller and may be sued for damages.

If you require assistance with finance, our Sanford Finance team offers a wide range of lending solutions from a panel of over 30 different lenders.

An accredited Sanford Finance Consultant will work with you to review your needs and affordability, then structure a loan & recommend products to suit you, including:

  • Home Loans
  • Investment Loans
  • Commercial Loans
  • Self Managed Super Fund Loans
  • Lo Doc Loans
  • First Home Buyers Loans
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Mortgage Protection Insurance
  • Construction Loans


Step 2: Pre Purchase Inspections
You should always arrange a property inspection before you buy. The Contract for Sale of Land doesn’t cover the quality of the buildings on the property. You need to be completely satisfied with the quality and state of repair of all buildings. The law in NSW is “Buyer Beware”.

If you’re buying a house, we strongly recommend both a pest inspection, which will advise on any past or current pest and termite activity affecting the property as well as a building report. This report will advise you on any structural and building problems. You might also want to have the electrical wiring and plumbing examined because this isn’t generally covered in a traditional building inspection.

If you are buying a strata unit, townhouse or villa we recommend you obtain a strata report. This report summarises inspection of the strata records of the Owner’s Corporation, identifying insurances in place, quarterly levies, any special levies, financial position of the scheme, any ongoing maintenance problems, any litigation and any issues noted in minutes of Owner’s Corporation meetings.


Step 3: Exchanging Contracts
Exchanging contracts is the legal process of entering into a contract to buy property. There are two identical copies of the contract. One is signed by the Purchaser and the other is signed by the Vendor. Once the contracts are signed by each party and they are dated, they’re swapped or ‘exchanged’. The contract is then binding on both Purchaser and Vendor.

Before exchanging contracts
Some changes may need to be made to the contract. For example, change of settlement period or amount of deposit. Sanford Legal is happy to review the contract and discuss your personal requirements before commencing negotiations with the Vendor’s conveyancer or solicitor.

If the property is to be auctioned, we recommend that we review the contract and request any necessary amendments before the auction. Another recommendation is to obtain any pre-inspection reports and your unconditional loan approval before the auction.

Once contracts have been exchanged, a 10% deposit is usually required. You can always negotiate to pay a smaller deposit with the owner. Deposit bonds are becoming frequently used in lieu of cheque deposits.

Cooling-off period
When you buy a property in NSW, there’s usually a five business-day cooling-off period after you exchange contracts. You are free to exercise your cooling-off rights and withdraw from the contract during this period, however, you will forfeit to the Vendor 0.25% of the purchase price. This works out to be $250 for every $100,000. Many contracts now include a section 66W certificate which waives cooling off rights and binds both the Vendor and Purchaser from the date of exchange of contracts.

A cooling-off period does not apply if you buy a property at auction or exchange contracts on the same day a property is passed in at the auction. Remember, Sanford Legal will advise you of your rights before you sign the contract.

After exchange
With each property transaction, you’ll need to pay a stamp duty on the Contract and Transfer. Stamp duty needs to be paid either on or before settlement or three months after exchange, whichever is the earliest. There are penalties for late lodgement of stamp duty.

The Office of State Revenue has various exemptions or concessions that may apply to your circumstances. Once again, Sanford Legal will gladly advise you on this.


Step 4: Settlement
Before settlement, the exact amount owing to the Vendor will need to be adjusted to include amounts relating to council rates, water rates and strata levies – these are all revised from the settlement date. Sanford Legal will calculate these adjustments and provide you with the total amount payable.

Settlement is the final stage in the conveyancing process and concludes the transaction. At settlement (also known as completion), you must pay the owner the balance of the purchase monies together with any adjustments. The title to the property is then transferred to you and you receive the keys.

You won’t need to attend the settlement.

Right after settlement the change of title and mortgage will be registered at the Land and Property Information Office, the Valuer General’s Office. Plus, local council, water authority (and strata manager if applicable) will be notified of the ownership change.

We’ll contact you to let you know the settlement has been finalised and the agent will then hand the keys of the property over to you.


Contact Sanford Legal today for a no obligation fee estimate.

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