Buying a property

Buying a property in Darwin


Buying a property


Grass and trees — settlement in Palmerston, NT
Marsh Conveyancing Services manage all of the processes involved in a property sales transaction to protect their client's financial interests. They specialise in supplying their client's with detailed information on the property they are interested in purchasing, offering legal advice during the sales process, handling all of the documentation involved and arranging the final settlement and title transfer.

Tips to consider before making your initial offer on a property


When buying a property it is essential to assess the design of the building, how effectively it accommodates your lifestyle or business needs and how functional it is (e.g. for an older couple a house with steep stairs wouldn't be a practical choice). Other factors such as style, age, location, size and how well maintained the property is also needs to be taken into account. Lastly potential structural problems and defective plumbing or electrical fittings should be weighed up before you decide to make an offer on a property.

General cost involved when purchasing a property


  • Deposit is negotiable (10% of purchase price standard)
  • Stamp Duty (concessions available for Seniors and Carers, Principle Place of Residence)
  • Inspection Report (cost varies with different companies)
  • Land Title Office Fee
  • Loan Fees
  • Conveyancing Fee (includes costs, GST and disbursements - title rates, body corporate searches, company settlement fees)

You have decided on a property and want to make an offer


There are several different ways you can approach making an offer. You can offer a lower amount and then negotiate a price with the seller. Unfortunately, if another buyer makes a higher offer during these negotiations you may lose the property if the offer is accepted. Or alternatively you can choose to make your best offer upfront and hope that the offer is accepted as you have no room to negotiate from here.

An offer should be formally made in writing by the sellers agent and prepared in the format of either a contract of sale or an offer of purchase. Sometimes the buyer will be required to provide a holding deposit when their agent makes a formal offer for them. If the offer is turned down then the holding deposit is returned. When the buyers agent makes the offer to purchase a date should be given when the refusal or acceptance of the offer is confirmed to save prolonging this process.

Making a conditional offer


When making a contract of sale or an offer of purchase a buyers agent can negotiate conditions for the sale to proceed e.g.the buyer needs to sell their own property first. Conditions need to be outlined in detail as part of the contract and it is worthwhile to see a conveyancer to discuss the wording of these conditions.

Contract required for sale of land


When a buyer is interested in purchasing land in the Northern Territory a contract for sale from their agent has to be in a form supported by the Law Society or the Registrar for it to be legally binding. The contract must provide a detailed outline of the terms and conditions involved in the sale before the buyers agent can submit the offer to the seller.

Tips to remember when signing a contract


A contract of sale should outline everything included in the sale of a property or piece of land. This includes all fixtures and fittings. If it isn't listed it can be excluded from the sale. It is worthwhile speaking to a conveyancer before submitting a contract to make sure that you have covered everything involved in the sale, especially if the offer has additional conditions.

Submitting a contract


When exchanging contracts two copies must be drawn up, signed and handed over to the parties involved. Once the copies are exchanged the contract is now legally binding.

Cooling off period


Once a licensed agent has submitted a contract of sale the buyer has four days known as the "cooling off period" where they can withdraw from the contract without any financial penalty or explanation. The cooling off period may be extended if agreed by all parties.

Settlement and title transfer


After the contract of sale has been submitted a settlement date is decided, which is generally between 30 and 90 days. On settlement the title of the property is transferred to the new owner at the Land Titles Office. Both parties must decide on an appointment time with the Land Titles Office for the transfer.

Defaulting your contract


If a buyer decided to pull out of the contract of sale after the cooling off period, they may have to pay compensation and a default fee to the seller. The payment amount varies depending on any financial loss suffered by the seller during the contract period and also if there is a default penalty outlined in the contract by the seller. By utilising a conveyancer during this process they will carefully explain your rights and obligations and handle any complications that arise.

Further information when buying a property can be found on our resources page.