Purchasing your first home, or any property, is one of the biggest financial and stressful decisions you can make in life.

Despite this year’s global pandemic, we are still seeing an increase in the number of property contracts coming through our office.

At Charltons Lawyers, we want to make the conveyancing process as smooth as possible. As part of our retainer we will review and prepare your contract prior to signing, to make sure it has all the conditions you need, and you understand all the elements it includes.

Important items to consider when making an offer are pest and building inspections, council approvals, finance, flooding, sceptic/plumbing and electrical inspections, soil testing, removal or retainer of tenants, pool safety and other items verbally agreed between the buyer and seller – such as works to be conducted before settlement.

We will also stipulate the time period for conditions, so you will need to speak with your financier or mortgage broker, building and pest inspector and other professionals to make sure the agreed time frame can be met to avoid the loss of any rights under the contract.

You also need to ensure the deposit is paid by the due date. When paying by electronic transfer, we recommend you allow three business days before the due date for the money to be received in time. This will avoid a breach of contract which gives the seller a right to terminate the contract.

Finally, when transferring deposit or settlement funds to solicitors and agents, make sure your money is going to the right person. There has been an increase in cyber hacking during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hackers are imitating emails from solicitors and agents in order to direct funds to their own accounts. We recommend if you receive emails asking you to transfer money, give the person a call to ensure their details are correct before transferring.

Partners Kelly Dwyer, Chris Parker and Edwina Rowan lead the team at Charltons Lawyers, Bundaberg’s longest-serving law firm.