Tax and legal advice

Possession before settlement

By Reporter

Many buyers opt to move into a home before settlement formerly takes place, but is it a wise thing to do?

As you inspect a home that could soon be yours, you may notice a few things you’d like to change.

Perhaps you detest the shagpile carpet and have plans to rip it up to showcase the beautiful rosewood timber floorboards beneath.

Or maybe the place needs a good lick of paint, and you’d like to get cracking before you ship in your furniture and belongings.

In these instances, it’s not uncommon to ask the seller if you can have possession of the property before settlement, so you can get a head start on giving the place a spruce up.

Possession enables you to legally enter the premises, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreed sale contract.

That purpose may be to carry out renovations, repairs, or even to have a place to stay between signing the contract and settlement – great if you’re temporarily homeless and balking at the idea of renting somewhere new or moving back in with your folks.

Possession can be beneficial for the seller too. By allowing you to enter the premises before settlement, the seller can receive a financial benefit.

But one point needs to be clearly noted, and that is possession is not ownership.

Therefore, complications can arise where the buyer invests too much into a property they do not own, or when something happens to the property while the buyer is in occupation.

In those cases, it is essentially to have buyer protection.

It’s in the contract The sale contract should contain a section with specially devised, non-standard conditions that set out the terms of the possession or occupancy.

This should be negotiated and drafted carefully – preferably by a lawyer – and include points like who will take possession (if not the buyer themselves but an agent, contractor or representative), for how long, for what purpose, and for what benefit.

Double up on cover The other thing you should think about is taking out your own insurance over the property. You should do this even if you’re not talking possession before settlement – it’s just a prudent consideration.

And while some may think this is doubling up on insurance – two policies are better than none.

A number of things can go awry between signing and settlement, and you can’t necessarily rely on the seller’s insurance cover.

Talk to your lawyer about why you want to take possession, and what you want to achieve during that time. Also ask your lawyer to explain how things like disputes will be resolved and how money will be adjusted on settlement.

And be mindful that until settlement actually occurs, you are a merely guest on the property – not the owner – and treat the property with respect, keeping it in materially the same condition as on first inspection.

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podcast

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Wood, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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