What documents are needed to sell a house?
The answer: a lot.
Selling a home is a major undertaking, with countless rules you’ll need to follow, as well as different documents and certificates to obtain.
For people who are on the other side of the transaction for the first time, it can be quite overwhelming!
Luckily, that’s what our property information service is here for.
Today, we’ll be taking a break from finding these documents and certificates for you, and instead explain what some of the bigger ones are for...
The role a Certificate of Title form plays when selling your home
Your Certificate of Title (or Registered Search Statement, if you want to be formal) is one of the most important documents you’ll need to provide when your home goes up on the market.
The purpose of this document is to establish all the rights related to ownership of said property.
As such, this is often one of the most important documents a conveyancer or property lawyer will look for during the settlement process.
In many cases, they may even attach a Certificate of Title form to the contract of sale itself - it’s that important!
Why the Title matters
Naturally, it’s important to establish who holds the Title before a parcel of land goes up on the market - however, that isn’t the only information that’s attached to a Certificate of Title.
As we mentioned above, a Title lists all the rights enjoyed by the owner - however, it also lists all the restrictions and obligations the owner will need to abide by as well.
In addition to establishing ownership of the parcel of land, the Certificate of Title also details a range of other information about the property which are crucial to potential buyers:
- Covenants, caveats and easements - all of these restrict what you’re able to do with the property
- Property boundaries - important for ensuring you know the limits of your rights
- Title issues - unpaid mortgages are the most common ones
Other essential documents
Certificate of Occupancy
This document certifies that a building is fit to live in - this is a legal requirement for almost all property sales in Victoria that involve newly-built homes.
A building surveyor performs an inspection of the home, determining whether or not it’s safe to live in.
It’s the owner’s responsibility to obtain this certificate, though most builders in Victoria will provide one for you.
Vendor’s Statement (Section 32)
A Section 32 statement contains a summary of information listed on your Title - in order to prepare this statement, your conveyancer will need your certificate of Title!
In addition to Title details however, it also contains other information that isn’t on your Certificate of Title, including:
- Details on owner-builder warranty insurance
- Vendor details
- Information on services connected to the property
- Building permits issued within 7 years
- Planning and zoning information
As a legal document, it’s important that your Section 32 is prepared by a solicitor during the conveyancing process - if there are any errors on the statement or it isn’t prepared on time, the sale won’t be processed
What other information do you need to provide, and what certificates do you need to sell a house?
When putting any property up on the market, there are certain things you’ll need to prove before the process goes forward - in particular:
- Certificates showing planning controls which may impact the property like land use restrictions
- Drainage diagram showing sewer lines
- Certificate of Title search proving you own the property
- Information regarding easements, restrictions, covenants or rights of way
- Plans of the land such as subdivision or strata plans
- Permits and final occupation certificates for properties built within the last 7 years
And unfortunately, all of this information isn’t contained within a single document - instead, you may have to provide a veritable mountain of different files, documents, certificates and reports before your property can go to market.
All of this raises an important question: which ones do you actually need?
You’ve probably already arranged the really important ones, like The Agent’s Authority, Certificates of Occupancy, the Vendor’s Statement (Section 32) and Contract of Sale.
However, there’s also other information that, while not essential, can make selling your property much, much easier...
While the primary users of Bushfire Attack Level reports are builders and developers, that isn’t to say that potential buyers can’t benefit from this report!
Sure, most Section 32 statements include information on bushfire zones - however, a BAL report goes into much greater detail.
A BAL report contains a lot of information, and not just whether or not the parcel of land is located in a designated bushfire zone. This important document can also tell you a property’s unique fire risk.
Just because a parcel of land is located outside of a bushfire zone doesn’t mean that it’s 100% safe from fires.
Factors unique to the property can impact its vulnerability to fire:
- Slopes and inclines
- Firebreaks (both man-made and natural)
- Nearby vegetation
By focusing on the factors unique to your parcel of land, a BAL report is able to more accurately assess your overall fire risk.
Why this report matters
Based on all of this, your report will assign an overall BAL rating, a number that measures a building’s potential exposure to fire, as well as steps that can be taken to reduce said fire risk.
Potential buyers who are planning on demolishing the existing structure and building a new one in particular may find this information to be crucial to the planning process.
Of course, it isn’t just builders that might be interested in a BAL report when purchasing land.
When it comes to bushfires, buyers will want to know what their fire risk is before deciding to purchase a parcel of land (as well as what they can do to mitigate their risk!)
Energy efficiency is on everybody’s lips at the moment, and it’s little wonder why. A home that’s energy efficient reduces the quarterly energy bill, and also reduces individuals’ impact on the environment.
For developers who are developing land and selling the resulting homes or townhouses, this particular report is crucial.
What an energy report does is evaluate the inherent energy efficiency of your project and assign a star rating (out of 10) depending on the findings.
In particular, it focuses on thermal-efficiency, and your property’s ability to stay cool without an aircon.
While appliances can impact energy, it’s air conditioning that has the biggest impact, with cooling representing a full 9% of the world’s energy usage. As such, it stands to reason that it’s also the biggest culprit in domestic electricity usage!
Energy-efficiency can result in higher offers
What you may not know is that many homebuyers are willing to pay extra for a more energy efficient home.
If you’re redeveloping a parcel of land, that’s exactly what you want to hear.
Obtaining an Energy Report can help you make the property more attractive to buyers, and can directly lead to bigger offers.
You may be able to list your star rating in the sales copy, or attach a copy of the report itself to any information pamphlets or booklets you hand out advertising your development.
Australia isn’t just a continent of bushfires - it’s also extremely flood-prone.
Similarly to a BAL report, your property’s risk of flooding is identified by you Flood report, a document that lists information such as:
- Historic flooding levels
- Drainage points
- Slopes and elevation
- Rainfall levels
- Recommendations and safeguards
And just like a BAL report, a flood report goes beyond “big picture” things like rainfall and also outlines a range of environmental factors as well as issues unique to your property that might contribute to your flood risk.
Why getting a Flood report is so important
Nobody wants to buy a property that’s at high risk of flooding - what a flood report does is provide assurance that your parcel of land isn’t at risk of this happening.
A high flood risk can make selling your property a much more difficult prospect, and can result in you receiving lower offers as a result.
The best way to safeguard against that is to ensure that you include a flood report for potential buyers to refer to.
This document can set minds at ease, and ensure that your property gets the offers it deserves!
Get the documents required to buy a house with PSI Global
The process of selling a property is long, and involves plenty of different documents in addition to the ones listed above.
If you want the conveyancing process to go off without a hitch, it’s important that all of your documents and certificates are in order.
That’s where our property information service comes in.
We aren’t conveyancers, so we might not be able to help with some of the documents that are drafted during the conveyancing process.
Whether you’re a seller or a developer who’s looking for a better way of doing things, give PSI’s automated system a try today.
Need help? Give us a call on (03) 8527 6300 and we’d be happy to assist.
The information in this article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. As with all things property, we strongly recommend consulting a professional to ensure that all stages of your building project (including the Title search) go smoothly.