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What to consider when selling a house in Victoria

When you're selling a house in Melbourne, it helps to know all the legal requirements that need to be considered, including full transparency for potential buyers.

Careful preparation and a clear understanding of your responsibilities as a seller can help ensure the property transaction goes through without a hitch and is compliant with all state laws and regulations.

Seek out expert legal advice

The first step is to secure professional legal advice. Your property lawyer or conveyancer will be responsible for preparing the Vendor's Statement and Contract of Sale. This vital document needs to include any special conditions specific to your property both for legal compliance and to protect your interests during the sale process. Get in touch with one of our team members for expert guidance and advice.

The Section 32 Vendor's Statement must include:

Chattels and fixtures

Clearly define which items are considered chattels and which are fixtures. Chattels are movable objects like fridges and ovens, while fixtures are built into the home, like ceiling fans or shelving units. Any items you plan to remove from the property must be explicitly listed in the Contract of Sale. What you decide to include or exclude can significantly impact the sale and negotiation process.

Land measurements and access

Ensure the land measurements and distance from the nearest cross street outlined on the Title match the property's physical size. You'll also need to disclose if there is access to the property by road or if the property is landlocked. Including a special condition in the Contract of Sale regarding land measurements can prevent the purchaser from making any claims or seeking compensation if there are any discrepancies.

Restrictions and easements

Providing details of any restrictions on the property's use or existing easements is a legal requirement. An easement grants a person the right to use the land of another. The most common form of easement is where a Government authority has the right to run electrical mains or drainage through private property.

Another example is where a neighbour has the right to use the driveway of an adjoining property. Informing potential buyers about any limitations or rights over the property ensures transparency and prevents any future disputes.

Renovations, extensions, and building work

If the property has undergone recent renovations or building work, especially within the last seven years, you must disclose whether these were completed by a registered builder and if any warranties cover the work.

Owner builders must provide specific warranties and a building inspection report in the Contracts, along with a Building Inspection Report and insurance information.

Lease agreements

If the property is occupied under a lease or another form of tenancy, the lease agreement or licence should be provided in writing. Is there a managing agent supervising the tenancy? Vacant possession upon settlement is usually expected unless otherwise agreed with the buyer.

Rates, taxes, and utilities

Outlining the annual outgoings, such as council rates, water rates, and any applicable Owners Corporation fees, will help with the buyer's budgeting. Additionally, confirming that all services are connected and operational avoids any last-minute costs and issues.

Zoning and town planning

The zoning of the property and any planning permits issued by the local council should be checked and disclosed. This information is vital for buyers who may have specific plans for the property post-purchase.

Decide on the sale method

Whether auction, private sale, or tender, the sale method needs to be decided along with whether or not you'll be using a selling agent. These decisions can influence your marketing strategy and potential buyer interest.

Check the Certificate of Title

Who currently holds the original Certificate(s) of Title? Is the property mortgaged? Have you lost the Title? These details will need to be provided.

Financial considerations

Understanding the financial implications of selling your property, including the potential for capital gains tax, will ensure you're fully informed about your tax obligations. This helps with budgeting and investment planning.

When selling a house in Victoria, thorough preparation and transparency with potential buyers not only facilitate a smoother sale but can also help in achieving the best possible outcome for both parties. Ensuring all legal, financial, and logistical aspects are addressed can significantly enhance your selling experience.

Please note: The information covered in this guide is general and should never be substituted for professional legal advice. Contact us for further information.