In Buying Property

Every time a property is sold & bought, there’s paperwork… Contract, inspection reports, conveyancing documentation and more.

One of the very important (and legally required) documents is a formal statement by the seller, disclosing every detail about the property that could affect the buyer, whether legal, regulatory or otherwise. In South Australia it’s referred to as a “Form 1” or a “Section 7 Statement” It must be given to (“served upon”) the purchaser, to trigger the mandatory Cooling-Off period.

The Form 1 must be both accurate and complete at the time of serving on the buyer. Otherwise, it’s void – a situation no seller or their agent wants, because it would allow the buyer to walk away from the contract and the property at any time they choose.

This week, one of my clients received a Form 1, for a property she’s buying. As per our normal course of our buyers agency service, I checked the document  – all 129 pages of it – to ensure there’d be no problems with the property.

The attachments included a 6-page summary of information required to be disclosed…

As I examined the document, I noticed that page 4 in the summary was missing, something my client would almost certainly not have noticed (these docs are particularly boring to read!).

“Where’s page 4?” I emailed the agent, who answered by promising to send the missing page to me.

Then he phoned to tell me the entire document had to be served on the buyer again, this time with the missing page included!

So he prepared an entire new document (130 pages this time), which was then served on my client, who shook her head at the seemingly unnecessary (but legally required) waste of paper. As it happened, the missing page included some info important to my client. But why, she asked, did she have to have another copy of the remaining 129 pages?

Aside from the waste of paper & time, what’s the point here?

The moral of this little story is that, when entering into a transaction involving several hundred thousand dollars, it’s very important to pay attention to every detail, which I always do, as far as possible, to protect my clients’ interests.

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