Making an offer
Making an offer on a residential property is a significant step. Before submitting your offer amount to the agent or vendor (seller), it makes good sense to be well prepared for what might follow.
Obtain a copy of the sale contract as soon as possible and have it examined by either your licensed conveyancer or solicitor. Doing this prior to making an offer will save time if you need to move things along quickly.
Paying an expression of interest
Once you have made an offer on a property, you may be asked to pay an initial deposit as an expression of interest. This won’t mean that the property is yours or that it gets taken off the market. It only proves to the seller that your offer is serious. The seller or agent can take as many preliminary deposits as they like for the one property. However, when you pay this deposit, the agent must provide you with a receipt and tell you in writing that:
they have no obligation to sell the property to you
- you have no obligation to buy the property
they will refund your deposit if you don't end up entering into a contract to buy the property.
The agent must also let you know if someone else makes a later offer on the same property.
It is important to remember that the agent selling the property is not working for you, the buyer, but for the seller.
Offer accepted, but it's not yours yet
If your offer is accepted, be ready to sign the sale contract and proceed through with the exchange process. Do not sign or exchange the sale of contract until you have discussed it with your solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
Prior to the exchange of the contracts, the vendor is free to negotiate with other purchasers for a higher offer. If the vendor accepts another offer and exchanges contracts with that party, any purchaser who misses out on the property despite having a verbal agreement to buy it, is gazumped.