When buyers make an offer on a property, they must fill out an Offer and Acceptance form. The O&A determines all the specifics of the sale – the sale price, the parties involved, and any special conditions – so it’s important to get it right.
But not everyone does, and when a vital detail is left off, the purchase might not go as planned. Worse still, the missing detail might cost a purchaser lots of money.
Here are three essential, but often forgotten, clauses to include on the Offer and Acceptance that will help protect your interests:
1. Property Inclusions
Any item which is on the property but not actually part of it – such as a dishwasher, above-ground pool, swingset, or light fitting – is a chattel, and you need to include them on the O&A if you want them to stay with the property.
Consider this scenario: you’re inspecting a great property and are keen to make an offer. You make an offer, the seller accepts, and you proceed to settlement. Just before settlement, you realise the dishwasher you’d loved is missing! Unfortunately, that dishwasher was a chattel, so the seller was entirely within their rights to take it.
We have seen similar scenarios countless times.
The only way to ensure that chattels remain with the property is to include them as part of your purchase on the Offer and Acceptance.
2. The Correct Property Address
Including Title particulars is the only sure-fire way to ensure that everyone involved can correctly identify the property. In the past, contracts lacking Title particulars have resulted in the wrong property being transferred from the buyer and the seller – this is a complicated and expensive mistake to correct! Unfortunately, contracts with only the street address and seller’s name regularly come through our office.
You can avoid a major mix-up by including these Title particulars:
- The Lot number
- Volume and folio number
- The strata plan or number, if your property is part of strata.
Your agents will know these details and should make sure they’re included, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
3. Vendor Warranty
The Offer and Acceptance contracts allow for special conditions that protect the buyer’s interests – for example, a condition that the sale will only go through if the property is found to be free of termites.
One special condition that is often left off is a vendor warranty. Including a clause like:
“The Vendor warrants that all gas, electrical, and plumbing appliances, including reticulation and pool filtration equipment (if applicable) shall be in good working order at settlement.”
will give you some degree of protection against faulty appliances. Although this warranty can’t delay settlement it gives you the option to hold the owner liable for rectifying any problems that may surface.
Don’t risk a botched buying experience – ensure you protect your interests by including the relevant clauses on the Offer and Acceptance.