Roger Jenkins, Matthews & Seversons Conveyancers

Lisa: This week’s industry expert is Roger Jenkins. Roger is from Matthews & Seversons Conveyancers. They were established in 1967 and they must be doing something right because 90 – 95% of their clients are repeat and referral business. So thank you for joining us Roger, what are your top ten tips?

Roger: My first tip would be that legislation requires that a contract is prepared and is ready before an agent markets the property. This includes title searches, in particular a 149 zoning certificate is needed from the council, so contract first. It is very frustrating for agents who are waiting for a contract to advertise a property.

Tip number 2 – we provide our clients with an information or instruction sheet. It’s very important that clients fill this out accurately and get it out to us nice and early. In particular, have a think about things like releasing deposits – it’s a very popular request these days. If you are looking to purchase a property in the future or provide a settlement, it may involve a 5% deposit, so have a think about that. Your mortgage – will the sale cover the discharge of the mortgage? In particular anything that adversely affects the property that a purchaser should really know, please tell us up front. It’s something that if we could get on top of that right away, it will make things nice and easy down the track. There is nothing worse than having a problem popping up just before exchange and having to deal with it then.

Tip number 3. When you have completed the information sheet, start the discharge process. That is the discharge of your loan from your bank. Even if you haven’t found a buyer yet, it’s a good idea to touch base with your bank, get the necessary documentation, fill it out, and have it all ready to go. The slowest part of the process is discharging the loan – and the most frustrating.

Tip number 4. When the contract is prepared, have a really good read of it, the special conditions, the front page especially and in particular all of your personal details. Make sure all the spelling is correct and read the special conditions. If you have any questions, ask up front so that when things get heated, towards exchange or settlement, everything gets sorted. So read that contract.

Tip number 5. When you find a buyer, we will receive a sales advice from the agent. We’ll fill out the buyer’s details, we’ll fill out the buyer’s solicitor’s details, and we’ll fill out the purchase price. So there will be some amendments, we will issue that to the solicitor of the purchaser, so please again have a really good read of that contract and make sure you are happy with it. Then get in nice and early to sign that contract. Most negotiations take place on the weekend so we can get it in on the Monday. There is nothing worse than at 4.50pm on a Friday receiving a contract from the purchaser’s solicitors, and not being ready to go on the vendor’s side. So get that contract signed nice and early.

Tip number 6. You’ve found a buyer, they have committed to the property, it’s exchanged; the most important part of selling your property between exchange and settlement is the bank. Bank, bank, bank – if anything is going to delay settlement, it’s going to be the bank. Get the discharge form, keep on top of your bank, and provide us with the details with a direct contact at the bank (a private banker/a personal banker, something along those lines). Keep everyone in the loop and let’s get everyone to work together. Banks are bureaucratic at the best of times – with loans that are going out the back door, they are worse than ever.

Tip number 7. You need to keep paying your bills, even though you have exchanged on the property, especially your mortgage payments. Provide us with a copy of any bills, any rates notices, council notices and any strata levies.
You have to be careful of these – any bills due close to the settlement date, make us aware of those and we’ll keep an eye on it, so that you don’t double pay at settlement.

Tip number 8. Sign your transfer nice and early. A classic example is when we have a client due to settle today and the transfer hasn’t come back signed by them. The vendors are overseas, so it has now become very difficult and the settlement is in jeopardy. For all the parties that are aligned, when something is not done, their plans are also thrown into disarray, so you need to sign that transfer nice and early.

Tip number 9. If you are selling a property with vacant possession, the law requires that it be cleared. The law is not going to come down on you if you leave odd bits and pieces behind, but we strongly recommend that you do clear the property and clean the property as well as a courtesy.

Tip number 10. After settlement, don’t pay anything. You will find that you may get bills from council, water, electricity or whatever it may be, but don’t pay anything – please clear it with us first. If it’s a bill that is the purchaser’s liability, we will forward it on to the purchaser’s solicitor.

A good practice at the moment (especially as the banks who are registering the transfer can take months to do so) is to maybe do a title search about a month after settlement just to ensure that you are no longer the owner of the property. What we can do then is get onto the other side and put pressure on the banks to get it registered. So don’t pay anything after settlement.

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