While watching another border security documentary recently, a man was seen arguing with security that his partner completed the document for him which he then signed. Good luck with that as a defence.
The question is whether we really know what we are signing (and whether we realise the consequences)?
One of the largest transactions the majority of us will make is the purchase of real estate using a sale and purchase agreement. Most people feel somewhat daunted by this agreement and may not fully understand what it is that they are signing. While this is the reason that conveyancing lawyers are available when dealing with sale and purchase agreements, sometimes lawyers forget to break down legal terms into simple language that is easier to understand. Sometimes it’s not even the legal terms that can trip up people with an agreement but something much simpler and over looked that can cause an issue. Like the man arguing with border security, sometimes it’s just a simple matter of making sure that you have ticked the right boxes.
Make sure that the date that both parties signed the agreement has been recorded on the agreement. In the case where a purchaser is making an offer to a vendor, the agreement will be signed by the purchaser and presented to the vendor. If the agreement is accepted then the vendor will sign and date the agreement, thereby confirming the offer has been accepted and there is now an enforceable contract in place. The date of an agreement is important in determining the due date for conditions such as finance, building report, LIM report and due diligence conditions. These conditions, if contained in the agreement, have provisions to be satisfied by an agreed date, often the fifteenth working date from the date of the agreement. In the same way that the conditions have a due date, so too may the payment of the deposit.
When recording the names of the parties to an agreement, it is important that you record the full legal name as it would appear on your passport or other government issued ID. While most people may know a person as “Johnny” or “John”, the person’s full legal name of “John James Smith” is the name that should be recorded on the agreement. The format should follow as the first, middle and last names or given and family names for all parties. In some cases someone may have an adopted/ preferred or “English” name that is not necessarily the name recorded on their government issued ID. It is important that their full legal name is recorded on the agreement and of course any mortgage document. In the case that it is a Company purchasing/ selling the property then the full name of the Company as recorded with the Companies Office should be recorded. For a trust, the full legal names of all trustees of the trust must be recorded “as trustees of…”
At times there can be negotiations between the parties of the agreement and the front page recording the purchase price can get messy. Make sure that purchase price is recorded clearly on the agreement and initial next to the final price to record the agreement of the purchase price.
The above are just some simple boxes to check but sometimes it’s the simple things that we miss.