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Common mistakes made by property buyers and handy tips for avoiding them


Buying a property can be daunting, whether it be your first home, an investment property, or your dream family home.  It is likely one of the most significant financial transactions a person will engage in. Yet, at Attwood Marshall Lawyers, we are often presented with buyers failing to prepare for it adequately. Attwood Marshall Lawyers Property and Commercial Lawyer, Aimee Turner, discusses common mistakes made by buyers and how to mitigate them.

1. Signing the dotted line too early

In a competitive market, buyers will often experience a fear of missing out and proceed to sign a Contract for Sale under pressure. Unfortunately, there are often dire consequences linked with this further down the track, which could have been avoided by simply obtaining pre-signing advice from a property lawyer.

When entering a Contract for Sale, pre-signing advice is crucial. A property lawyer will read the fine print, advise of any issues they may foresee, and recommend additional special conditions that may be beneficial to include whilst taking each buyer’s needs and intent into consideration. Minor errors in a Contract for Sale can lead to significant setbacks, and hidden clauses can result in unexpected expenses.

2. Not obtaining pre-approval

When making an offer on a property, you want to be aware of the amount of money a lender will lend you so that you know how much you can spend. As a result, you can place offers confidently and reduce the chance of missing out on your dream property. Additionally, a buyer with pre-approval may be more appealing to the seller, in comparison to a buyer without pre-approval.

A pre-approval will outline your price range and state the maximum amount you can borrow. Consequently, it is still recommended that a proposed Contract for Sale include a finance condition even where pre-approval has been obtained.

3. Failing to conduct due diligence

Many buyers are unaware of the opportunity and benefits of conducting due diligence. Due diligence can be tailored to each buyer’s needs, but is commonly missed.

Simply put, due diligence is a means of doing your homework on the property being purchased. This may include, but is not limited to, research on the neighbourhood, reviewing the likelihood of flooding in the area or any planning controls and policies in place. In addition, we often recommend that buyers conduct building and pest inspections and review any applicable Strata Reports.  

Building & Pest Inspection – Although you may physically inspect a property yourself, there can be structural and foundation issues or pest infestations that can only be identified by qualified building or pest inspectors. Being aware of such issues may provide you with a better idea of how much a property is really worth to you and how much you’re willing to offer. The team at Attwood Marshall Lawyers can refer you to a list of building and pest inspectors we often work with.  

Strata Report – If you are purchasing a strata title property, such as an apartment or townhouse, it is recommended that you obtain a copy of the Strata Report. A Strata Report may reveal the following:

  • The age and condition of the building
  • The balance of the administrative and sinking levy funds
  • Any upcoming works to be conducted
  • Any upcoming special levies to be paid.

Our property lawyers can obtain copies of relevant Strata Reports and review these for potential buyers.   

4. Not realising that the negotiated price is not the full cost

Frequently, buyers will purchase a property and not be aware that there are multiple additional costs on top of the purchase price. It is imperative that you are aware of these costs or speak to a professional to gain further insight concerning this. Costs in addition to the purchase price may include, but are not limited to:

  • Transfer Duty
  • Registration Fees
  • Legal Fees
  • Mortgage Insurance
  • Loan Application Fees.

5. Not using an expert

The transfer of a property from one person to another is a legal transaction, and several processes must be followed in actioning this. An experienced property lawyer can assist in reviewing contracts and other documentation throughout the process, negotiating a fair deal, meeting contract deadlines, liaising with all relevant parties and much more.  

Many people are unaware of the difference between a property lawyer and a conveyancer. Both property lawyers and conveyancers are qualified to act in a conveyancing transaction. However, a conveyancer will only specialise in the transfer of ownership of the property. On the other hand, a property lawyer holds an extensive range of legal skills, providing a client with a higher-level of service and legal advice.

Property lawyers and conveyancers will generally charge a fixed fee for a conveyancing transaction. 

Conveyancers generally offer a cheaper fee because  the conveyancing work they complete is somewhat limited. They cannot provide advice in complex legal matters, and in most cases, you will get what you pay for.

If you want peace of mind that if something goes wrong with your conveyancing matter, you are adequately protected and have a qualified legal professional to give you advice and guidance, you are better off letting a property lawyer handle your transaction.

6. Not including suitable terms and conditions in the Contract for Sale

It is common for buyers to be presented with a basic contract prepared by a sales agent, which is not tailored to a buyer’s needs or wants. More commonly, the team at Attwood Marshall Lawyers see the consequences that result from buyers signing these ‘basic contracts.’ 

The terms and conditions of a Contract for Sale can be tailored to suit the circumstances of each buyer. 

Attwood Marshall Lawyers – we can help you avoid making costly mistakes when purchasing property

Attwood Marshall Lawyers offers FREE pre-signing contract advice to buyers and sellers in Queensland. Our lawyers can explain the contract terms and conditions to the buyer or seller before signing, and we can advise on any need to draft additional special conditions. It is often too late to make changes to a contract or for one party to change their mind once both parties have signed.

For advice when purchasing or selling a property, contact our team by calling Property and Commercial Department Manager Jess Kimpton on 07 5506 821 or mobile 0432 857 300. Alternatively, email

Our Property and Commercial Lawyers are available for appointments at our offices located in CoolangattaRobina Town CentreBrisbaneKingscliff, Sydney and Melbourne. If you require our assistance outside regular business hours, our Robina Town Centre office is open Thursday nights until 9pm and Saturday mornings from 9am until 12noon.

Make an appointment with the team instantly online now.

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The contents of this article are considered accurate as at the date of publication. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and is of a general nature only. Readers should seek legal advice about their specific circumstances. 

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