Selling your home?

At Briese Lawyers, we offer our conveyancing clients clear and effective communication, efficient, professional and friendly service, and fixed price conveyancing with no hidden costs. We provide conveyancing services for residential and commercial property.

Our Conveyancing Managers are here to make this experience as hassle free and smooth as possible for you and will step you through the process. If you have questions before you execute the Contract, you can contact us for advice before you sign to ensure that the Contract contains all the conditions you will need.

The following are explanations of some of the issues you will need to consider in preparing to sell your home:

1. Sustainability Declarations

Sustainability Declarations were eliminated by an amendment to the Building Act 1975 in June 2012.  This means vendors no longer have to prepare and sign a sustainability declaration before advertising a property for sale.  Where there is already a sustainability declaration, there is no longer any requirement for the vendor or real estate agent to give copies to a potential buyer.

The amendments to the Building Act retain protections for buyers and sellers where inaccurate or misleading information has been included in a sustainability declaration.  Specifically, a contract may not be terminated simply because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration and a buyer who has been disadvantaged because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration may still be awarded compensation.

2. Safety Switches

Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and automatically shut off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances. If you are selling a residential property, you must first establish that a safety switch is installed for the power circuits, if there is no safety switch then you will need to engage a licensed electrical contractor to install a safety switch. Sellers must declare to the buyer on the contract and again on the transfer documents whether the home has a safety switch installed. 

It is a legal requirement for all homes built since 1992 to have safety switches installed on power and lighting circuits.  For homes built before 1992, it is a legal requirement for all landlords to install a safety switch to the power circuit of the rental property once a residential tenancy agreement has been entered into.

3. Smoke Alarms

If you are selling a residential property, you must check your smoke alarm installations as you must declare to the buyer on the contract and again on the transfer documents whether the home has smoke alarms installed.

All new and significantly renovated homes from January 2017 are required to have interconnected Australian Standard 3786-2014 photoelectric smoke alarms (IP smoke alarms) installed in all hallways where bedrooms are connected and on each and every level of the residence at the time of construction or alteration.  Requirements for owners of older homes and units will be phased in over the next 10 years and IP smoke alarms will be required from 1 January 2022 in all homes leased and sold and 1 January 2027 in all other homes.

To comply with the new laws homeowners can install either hardwired 240V smoke alarms (mains powered smoke alarm) or non-removable 10 year battery smoke alarms (battery operated smoke alarm).  However, any existing mains powered smoke alarm must be replaced with an IP smoke alarm.  No license is required to install battery operated smoke alarms, however, the installation of mains powered smoke alarms must be performed by a licensed electrician.

Queensland residents should continue to maintain their current smoke alarms and practice their fire escape plans until the new smoke alarm legislation is implemented over the next 10 years.

4. Pool Safety Certificates

If you are selling a property with a pool you must provide the buyer with a pool safety certificate from a licensed pool safety inspector prior to settlement.  However, if you are selling your home, if no pool safety certificate is in effect before entering into a contract then the seller must give a Notice of no pool safety certificate to the prospective buyer - if no pool safety certificate is in effect before settlement then the new owner will have 90 days from settlement to obtain a pool safety certificate.  If a pool safety certificate is in effect then the seller is required to give a copy of the certificate to the buyer before settlement.  Pool safety certificates are valid for two years.

5. Seller’s Warranties 

There are standard terms under the REIQ contract for the sale of residential houses and land which provide certain warranties given by the seller to the buyer in regard to the property.

You should be aware that in signing the contract you are providing a warranty to the buyer that there are no current or threatened claims, notices or proceedings affecting the property; there are no notices given to you by the Environmental Protection Authority and you are not aware of any circumstances that may lead to the land being classified as contaminated land within the meaning of the Environmental Protection Act.

If your property is affected by a notice by the Environmental Protection Authority then you must give notice to the buyer prior to entering into the contract. If the seller breaches those warranties then the buyer may terminate the contract.

6. Changes to Body Corporate Disclosure

One of the problems with people buying lots in Body Corporates is a lack of understanding that along with the lot, you are also buying a membership in a Body Corporate.  Not only that, the membership will come with some hefty financial responsibilities.

To address this problem, Section 206 Disclosure Statements were introduced.  The Disclosure Statement must be completed and signed by the seller or its authorised representative and provided to the buyer prior to the buyer signing the contract.  If a buyer executes the contract but has not been provided with a Disclosure Statement, the seller will remain bound to sell the property however, the buyer is not bound to purchase the property and can terminate the contract under the provisions of the BCCMA.  Specifically, the Disclosure Statement must include that the lot is a lot in a Body Corporate for which yearly levies are payable.  Further, it must include details regarding what the levies payable for that lot are.

Body Corporate Legislation also requires a seller or the seller's agent to attach a Body Corporate and Community Management ("BCCM") Form 14 Information Statement to a Contract for a lot sold in a Community Titles Scheme.  The current BCCM Form 14 is Version 11 which has been effective for all contracts in a Community Titles Scheme since 1 August 2013.  A Community Management Statement ("CMS") is no longer required to be disclosed to the buyer of a registered lot sold in a Community Titles Scheme.  The new BCCM Form 14 Information Statement advocates that buyers undertake the search themselves.  A copy of the proposed CMS must be disclosed to the buyers for off the plan lots sold in a Community Titles Scheme.

There remains the implied warranties that you as the seller give to the buyer about the Body Corporate that, unless disclosed, there are no patent or latent defects in the lots, common property or body corporate assets; there are no actual or contingent or expected liabilities of the body corporate; and notice has been given in respect of anything else you are aware of regarding the affairs of the body corporate which may affect the buyer.

If the disclosure documents contain omissions or are inaccurate and the buyer would be materially prejudiced if required to complete the contract, then the buyer may have rights to terminate the contract.

Advice with respect to your property transaction may be obtained by contacting one of our Solicitors, who can offer practical legal advice and guidance, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected.