settlement date

House-hunting expenses and how to minimise them (part 2)

by Chris Lang on December 14, 2012
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Expense: Property reports. There are many reports available: recent house sale prices per area, house history, information about suburbs, etc. Once you’ve decided on a house, you may want to check how many times it was sold in the past, when and for how much.

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House-hunting expenses and how to minimise them (part 1)

by Chris Lang on December 12, 2012
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Not too long ago we have discussed various real-estate related expenses (be that renter’s, home buyer’s or home owner’s). There is one more set of expenses left to cover: the house-hunting expenses.

Home-buying is (usually) a long, nerve-racking process that on average takes about 6 months: 4 months of searching and, assuming you’ve found your dream home and your offer was accepted, another 2 months before the settlement occurs. During the months when you’re actively searching for a house, there are inevitable expenses that will eat away at your budget.

Here they are:

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Exchanged contracts? Get insurance!

by Chris Lang on November 8, 2012
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When your offer has been accepted and the contracts have been exchanged, it is so tempting to finally relax. You deserve it – you’ve worked hard, searched and found the right house, negotiated a great price and feel kind of proud of yourself and exhausted at the same time. Sorry, the celebration will have to […]

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How to find a great house for a good price by asking the right questions (part 2)

by Chris Lang on October 20, 2012
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In my previous article for first home buyers I started this list of questions – and reasons to ask them, to make sure you are buying a great house for a good price. As I promised, this is the rest of them: Questions about the house: Ask: What is the size of the block? Why: […]

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6 practical tips for a successful final inspection

by Chris Lang on September 25, 2012
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Contrary to what you may think, the final inspection that happens within 7 days before the settlement date is very important. Simply put, this is your last chance to get the vendor to fix anything that was broken in the period between the day you signed the contract and the settlement.

So …

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Plan before buying a house

by Chris Lang on July 21, 2012
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When you are thinking about a budget for a house you’re going to buy, there are 2 main money questions to think about. The first question is “How much?” and the second is “When?”.

Basically what I am saying is not only the amount matters, but also the time frame – when you have to pay it. Why? Because you may not have the whole amount up front on the day you’re signing the contract, but

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Final inspection checklist

by Chris Lang on November 26, 2010
Final inspection checklist

You’ve bought a house. Congratulations! The contract’s been signed, the finance is in order, the settlement date is approaching, and your conveyancers are on it. Wait up, no sleeping on your laurels yet! What about the final inspection? What final inspection? Your estate agent may have forgotten to mention this to you. As a purchaser, […]

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Delayed settlement – buyer’s and vendor’s rights explained.

by Chris Lang on November 13, 2009
Delayed settlement - buyer's and vendor's rights explained.

Frustrated woman pulling her hair outWhen your settlement is being delayed, this is a big problem. There are too many things to look after when moving home, and if the date shifts, the same work you’ve already done arranging everything around your settlement date doubles or triples.

What more, nobody is expecting this to happen, so when it hits – it hits people hard. If a buyer is renting a house, while he’s waiting for his settlement date, a delayed settlement (by vendor) means that he needs to extend his lease, which may not be that easy on a couple of day’s notice, re-arrange the removalist, re-arrange the disconnection and re-connection of the utilities, re-arrange the redirect of mail, take another day off at work, etc. These are just a few examples of the amount of pain a delayed settlement can put you through. And the first reaction to a situation like this is a question:

“Can they really do this to me? What are my rights here?”

A couple of days ago I received a letter from a first home buyer who was asking these questions, and decided to write a short explanation of buyer’s and vendor’s rights, because there sure are more people out there, wondering what their rights and options are in a delayed settlement.

Delayed settlement – from a buyer’s point of view

Buyers need to know that most contracts allow the vendors delay the settlement for 14 days past the settlement date without a penalty. There is a particular clause, which you can easily find – if you know what to look for.

Also, as a buyer, you’d want the contract of sale to specify what you’d like to happen if the vendor delays the settlement beyond those 14 days – in case you decide for the vendor to settle, as opposed to taking him to the court or terminating the contract and claiming back your deposit.

Make no mistake – if a buyer delays a settlement, most contracts of sale make sure vendor’s interests are covered, by charging the buyer default penalty rates. There is a specified period during which the penalty interest rates are charged, and after that it gets worse, as a vendor can cancel the contract and sell the property to someone else. To give you an estimate of costs, I have heard of buyers paying from $1000 to $5000 for a delayed settlement.

I’m sure you won’t like hearing this, but more there are even more costs a buyer can incur if they are at fault for the delayed settlement – the conveyancers / solicitors can charge a client extra if the settlement doesn’t go through as planned. Some even would go to the extreme of abandoning clients when things are going smoothly, and while I wouldn’t wish this to my worst enemy, I still feel that people need to know these things.

Have you ever experienced problems because of a delayed settlement? Share your story – leave a comment here.

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Property and money: 20 tips any married woman must read (part 2).

by Chris Lang on October 29, 2009
Property and money: 20 tips any married woman must read (part 2).

Angry coupleIf you’ve just stumbled upon Homeiown, let me fill you in: a couple of days ago I posted my new friend’s tips on managing money and especially property in a marriage (or any de-facto relationship, for that matter). Now it’s time for the second part of Rachel’s tips – what to do when there’s trouble in a marriage.

Life Tips in a failing Marriage

9. If you gave up your job to rear babies years ago, now is the time to put as much cash into your nest egg as possible, and assume the worst is going to happen. If it doesn’t, then that is a bonus.

10. Keep a diary, they make Affidavits very easy.

11. Find a solicitor who has a lot of experience in Family Law. The best way to start is to ask at your local Magistrates Court. Make an appointment with the Chamber Registrar and ask his/her for advice on who to choose. They have years of experience to draw on and will know far more about your situation than you realise merely from the fact that you are there. If you are far too nervous to do this, get in touch with the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme (WDVCAS). (Even if domestic violence is not present in your relationship, this wonderful group of volunteers can supply you with more information than you will ever need). .

12. NEVER listen to what I call ‘pub talk’. Legal advice from friends and relatives may lift your spirits, but it may not always be the law. ALWAYS stay within in the boundaries of the law in everything you do. If you are unsure of anything, no matter how small you may think it is, run it by your solicitor first.

13. Try to stay in the family home for as long as possible. If you have to, move into a spare room and put a keyed lock on the door. Your partner may try to make this as unbearable for you as possible. It is important that you ignore them. Ear plugs help! Draw the line in the sand and if your partner becomes abusive in any way, call the Police and ask for an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order).

14. GET YOUR PROPERTY SETTLEMENT STARTED ASAP. This can take years in some circumstances but can be achieved in 12 – 18 months. Whatever happens, NEVER settle for less because your partner is harassing you to do so. At this point your partner may try to cut off your finances to force you into an early settlement. This is why you will need a nest egg.

15. Go to Centrelink and explain your circumstances. Take with you all the documentation you can get your hands on i.e., birth certificates, marriage certificates, bank account statements, tax returns, medicare cards etc. They will even give you counselling if you want it.


17. Start looking for a job. Mission Australia is fantastic and will help you organise a CV and even cover new work wear.

18. The Child Support Agency can do nothing if your ex quits his job or moves overseas. You have to be proactive with the CSA, as they do not automatically chase payers unless you ask them to. Treat any CSA payments as a bonus and NEVER bank on them.

19. You may have to live with rellies after settlement, or even rent, but try and buy a new property as soon as you can after settlement. You’ll be able to cut a good deal as you’ll be a cash buyer. Be prepared to down-size and/or move out of area – a townhouse is perfect if you have children.

20. Make a new Will.

Take the reins of your life and move forward . . . onwards and upwards!!!!

And now, my dear readers, I’d love to hear from you – what tips do you have on managing property in a failing marriage?

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Property and money: 20 tips any married woman must read (part 1).

by Chris Lang on October 26, 2009
Property and money: 20 tips any married woman must read (part 1).

Failing MarriageI have recently met a very nice lady, Rachel. Unfortunately bad things tend to happen (especially) to the nice people and Rachel had a bad experience relating to her marriage, finances and property. As a result she wised up to a lot of issues and learned about the right way to handle finances and property in a marriage.

Here are Rachel’s best tips for married women – and I say, whatever state your marriage is in, these are very important matters to think about. Many women effectively pass the reins of their life and property ownership in the hands of someone else, which leaves them vulnerable and exposed to financial difficulties in case something goes wrong.

The first part – Life Tips in a Marriage – will open your eyes to things that need to be done to keep you safe, whatever happens. The second part – Life Tips in a Failing Marriage – will help you go through the tough times, if and when they come.

Life Tips in a Marriage

1. ALWAYS ensure the marital home is in joint names. If hubby is against this, ask why, but do not take no for an answer.

2. ALWAYS be involved in your joint financial affairs. Know exactly what bills, loans and mortgages you both have and keep an eye on joint credit card debt. Hubby’s debt becomes yours and vice versa.

3. NEVER agree to allow the drawing down of extra mortgage payments without both signatures, and never let this be accessed via internet banking.

4. Try to keep a finger in the employment pie, no matter how small it is. Try working from home when the babies are little.

5. NEVER let anyone access your superannuation fund, even if it is ‘just to look’. Keep it password protected.

6. Build a small nest egg for a rainy day that can only be accessed by you. Be open and honest about it. Call it what you want, but it’s your insurance policy. If you don’t have an income and you are a full time Mum, this nest egg is an absolute necessity.

7. Always be involved in compiling taxation returns, yours and your partners, ESPECIALLY if he is self employed. Never let yourself be used as a Partner or Director in hubby’s own business unless you really are drawing a salary of your own and have your own bank account to put it in.

8. If you have a car, make sure it is registered in your name.

To be continued – coming up next Life Tips in a Failing Marriage, stay tuned.

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First Home Owners Boost extended

by Chris Lang on May 21, 2009
First Home Owners Boost extended

Government First Home Owner GrantIn case you haven’t heard already, the Boost to the First Home Owners Grant was extended. After a period of uncertainty when many people (including me) were positive that the boosted FHOG will be cut off, it was finally announced that the boost to FHOG will be extended for 3 more months at full rate and then for another 3 months at half rate.

That was the short version, if you know all about the First Home Owner Grant, the First Home Bonus and the First Home Owner Boost – you can head to other blogs. If you’re not sure and may be even a tiny little bit confused between the three forms of “free money” our government is handing out, keep on reading.

The First Home Owner Grant

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is 7000$, never mind what the property price is (if you buy in 2009). If you buy in 2010, the property must cost under 600K for you to qualify for FHOG. Find out whether you’re eligible or not here.

The First Home Owners Bonus

If you buy before the 30 June 2009, the Bonus is 3000 for established and 5000 for new homes, but the property must cost below 500K.

From 1 July 2009 on the Bonus is 2000 for the established and 11000 for new homes, and the property must cost below 600K. More about the Bonus here.

The First Home Owners Boost

This is the recent “injection” of free money which was made available October last year.
If you buy before 30 September 2009 an established home, your bonus is 7000, for new homes it’s 14000.
Then from 1 October the bonus will be reduced to 3500 for established and 7000 for new houses. Here is the fine print about the Boost.

And the last important bit: it’s the contract date that counts – not the settlement date.

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