- What does buying “off the plan” mean?
- I built a deck/renovated my property as a owner/builder. What are my responsibilities?
- What is an easement?
- There is a covenant over my property. What does this mean if I wish to build multiple units?
- What are “adjustments?”
- Are there any First Home Buyer entitlements available to me?
- I’ve just done my final inspection and I’m not happy with the condition of the property. What can I do?
- Can I get the deposit paid by my purchaser before settlements?
- I am not resident in Australia and wish to buy a property. What are the implications?
Business and Leases
- I am a tenant of a retail shop. What outgoings do I have to pay?
- I am in a partnership. What happens if my partner dies or retires?
Wills and Estate Planning
- What can an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney do on my behalf?
- What is a “testamentary trust”?
- How do I choose and appoint Guardians for my young children in my Will?
- What is a “binding death benefit nomination”?
- What happens if I die without a Will?
- Can I use a ‘do it yourself’ Will kit?
What does buying “off the plan” mean?
Buying “off the plan” means that the land, unit or apartment is not separately titled or complete at the time of signing a contract. Whilst there are many advantages in buying off the plan – including lower stamp duty costs, there are also many pitfalls, including:
- changes made to the size and specifications of the property
- time overruns
- valuation of the finished property, particularly in a falling market
- lack of information about outgoings
I built a deck/renovated my property as a owner/builder. What are my responsibilities?
If you have undertaken works at your property and want to sell you may be required to provide a building inspection report and insurance cover for defects. The rules are complex and each case is different. The consequences of failing to adhere to the rules can be significant and advice should be sought before you sell.
What is an easement?
An easement is a right given to another person or organisation to access land. Commonly, easements give Council or Water authorities entitlements to access and to maintain and repair infrastructure.
There is a covenant over my property. What does this mean if I wish to build multiple units?
Covenants restrict the use of property. Some covenants restrict the number of dwellings which may be built on a lot. It is sometimes possible to remove a covenant to allow development to occur but this can be an expensive process and requires detailed consideration and advice.
What are “adjustments?”
Outgoings relating to a property such as Council Rates, Water Rates and Owners Corporations Fees are adjusted between the seller and buyer on a daily basis. Other outgoings such as Land Tax may also be adjusted depending on the ‘site value’ of the property and whether it is the seller’s principle place of residence. Utilities such as gas, electricity and phone are not adjusted and purchasers need to set up new accounts for those on moving in.
Are there any First Home Buyer entitlements available to me
First Home Buyers may be entitled to the first Home Buyer Stamp Duty reduction. The First Home Owner’s Grant is no longer available except for buyers of new properties.
I’ve just done my final inspection and I’m not happy with the condition of the property. What can I do?
It is common for purchasers to be disappointed in the condition of a property at final inspection or even to find fixtures or fittings broken or missing. Under the Contract of Sale the Vendor is required to deliver the property in the condition it was in at the date of contract, fair wear and tear excepted. The rights and remedies for a purchaser depends on the extent of any damage or deficiency and will be on a case by case basis.
Can I get the deposit paid by my purchaser before settlements?
Where a purchaser pays a deposit for a property this is generally held by the Real Estate Agent until settlement. If it can be proved there is either no mortgage or any mortgage debt against the property is less than 80% of the purchase price, the Contract of Sale and Section 27 Sale of Land Act may operate to allow the deposit to be released earlier than settlement.
I am not resident in Australia and wish to buy property. What are the implications?
If a person wishes to buy property in Australia, but is not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, approval may be required from the Foreign Investment Review Board. In Victoria, a foreign purchaser will be liable to pay additional stamp duty on land transactions of 3% of the market value.
I am a tenant of a retail shop. What outgoings do I have to pay?
As a retail tenant, all outgoings such as Rates, Water Rates, Owners Corporate Fees and general maintenance are payable in addition to Rent. GST is payable in addition to the outgoings. Land Tax is not payable by a Tenant in Victoria. “Management Fees” may also be charged if the shop/office is within a shopping centre or multi-occupation premises.
I am in a partnership. What happens if my partner dies or retires?
Business succession planning is crucial to ensure that if the unexpected happens the impact on your business is manageable.
What can an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney do on my behalf?
Under the Powers of Attorney Act 2014, an Attorney can be appointment to assist or take of decision making for a ‘donor’ of the power in a variety of ways and for a variety of decisions.
What is a “testamentary trust”?
A testamentary trust is a mechanism for the passing of wealth between generations in a tax effective and secure way.
How do I choose and appoint Guardians for my young children in my Will?
A Will can appoint ‘Guardians’ of minor children. It is important to note that a) a guardian cannot be forced to accept the role and b) other interested family members can seek to challenge an appointment in the Family Court. The Court maintains ultimate jurisdiction in matters of child welfare.
What is a “binding death benefit nomination”?
Superannuation entitlements are held in trust and do not form part of a persons estate. The trustees of the fund have discretion as to the payment of death benefits – guided by the terms of the Super Fund Trust Deed. Most funds will allow you to make a ‘Binding Death Benefit Nomination’ setting out to whom you wish your super to be paid, so long as the recipient is an eligible person under the legislation. Binding Death Benefit Nominations expire after 3 years and need to be reviewed.
What happens if I die without a Will?
Should you die without having made a Will, your estate is “intestate” and your assets are distributed to your relatives in accordance with State legislation, which may not reflect your intentions or your loved ones needs.
Can I use a ‘do it yourself’ Will kit?
More often than not, home-made Will kits throw up issues which result in far greater costs to the estate than the cost of a Will competently prepared by a Solicitor and are consequently very much a false economy.