No-one would deny that buying and selling real estate is an important legal issue. These are usually peoples’ biggest assets and the risks are too high for any of the process or documentation to be taken lightly. But we don’t believe quantity equals quality and with our current sales contracts at 21 pages (apartments – 15 for houses) you do have to wonder. It’s all for consumer protection we’re told…. page after page of warning statements and disclosures.
One page in the wrong order and the contract may be worthless. The first page must be a warning to get a valuation and legal advice (unless you read the Body Corp act which says its disclosure must be the first page). Then there’s the form to make sure the agent’s disclosed their fees, the section with the name of the body corp secretary… and on it goes.
So now we use another form to tell a buyer what’s attached (listed in one order) and the process of reading and signing (in yet another, different order please). Then we have another form at the end for them to acknowledge that they signed in the right order, stood on the correct leg while reading, and held their head at an incline of precisely 82.5 degrees while signing.
I promise we’re not making this up – only the last bit.
While the industry backed another truckload of paper up to the office door the government finally agreed something had to be done. Various departmental officials were annoyed that those darned buyers don’t seem to be reading this stuff… Ya wonder!
When a review of legislation was kicked off in 2007 we looked forward to some simpler documents. And a couple of weeks ago (yes it’s mid 2009) the state government responded to that review, agreeing the paperwork could be made simpler. But not yet.
“Implementation should be delayed until mid 2009. This is because as part of the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs (MCCA), the Standing Committee of Officials of Consumer Affairs (SCOCA) has commissioned research by an independent consultant (UniQuest Pty Ltd, via University of Queensland) into pre-contractual disclosure under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, with the goal of developing an evidence-based disclosure model which addresses the needs of consumers.”