Subject to Finance: What Does It Mean?

May 8, 2023

Buying a home is a thrilling experience, but it can also be a nerve-wracking one. You've found your dream home, but how do you know if you can actually afford it? That's where the term 'subject to finance' comes in.

In Australia, this term is a crucial part of the real estate buying process, and understanding it can mean the difference between securing your dream home and losing it.

In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about 'subject to finance' in the Australian real estate market.

An offer subject to finance is a common condition that buyers include in their purchase offers. This condition means that the buyer's offer is contingent on them obtaining finance approval from a bank or lender. The finance conditions can include the amount of finance, interest rates, and terms of the loan. If the purchaser cannot obtain finance approval under these conditions, they may not be able to proceed with the purchase.

Subject to Finance: What it means

Subject to Finance has become an essential aspect of property purchases because it provides protection for both buyers and sellers against unforeseen circumstances. For instance, if a buyer makes an unconditional offer without subjecting it to financing and then fails to secure funding for the purchase price after signing the contract of sale, they could lose their deposit or face legal action from the seller.

The purchase price of a property may also be affected by a borrower's ability to obtain financing. If a purchaser cannot secure sufficient funds at favourable interest rates or terms from lenders due to poor credit history or other factors affecting their creditworthiness, they may have difficulty affording homes within their desired range.

When you sign an offer subject to finance as a buyer, you are essentially indicating your intention to buy only if you get approved for financing within specific parameters outlined in your contract with lenders like banks or mortgage brokers who work closely with real estate agents throughout Australia.

Understanding the Meaning of "Subject to Finance" and Its Importance in a Contract

Ensuring that a real estate transaction goes smoothly requires careful attention to detail, particularly which protects both buyers and sellers by making the sale contingent on the buyer's ability to secure financing. In this post, we will explore what "subject to finance" means, its importance in a contract, and how buyers and sellers can navigate this often-misunderstood clause.

What Does "Subject to Finance" Mean?

The phrase "subject to finance" refers to a condition included in many contracts that allows buyers to back out of a purchase if they are unable to secure financing. Essentially, the sale is contingent on the buyer's ability to obtain financing for the property. If they are unable to do so within a specified timeframe or under certain conditions outlined in the contract, they have the right to terminate the agreement without penalty.

Why Is It Important?

The inclusion of a "subject to finance" clause is important for several reasons. For buyers, it provides protection against being forced into purchasing a property they cannot afford or one with unfavourable loan terms. For sellers, it ensures that any offers received are serious and backed by financial means.

It is crucial for both parties involved in a real estate transaction to understand the terms of this clause before signing any contracts. Buyers should ensure they have pre-approval for financing before agreeing on this provision since failing could lead them into losing their deposit money or even facing legal action from sellers who feel misled.

Sellers can also include their own conditions related to financing such as setting deadlines for securing funding or requiring specific interest rates or loan amounts.

Navigating Subject-to-Finance Clause

For buyers and sellers alike, navigating subject-to-finance clauses requires careful consideration of all aspects of the agreement. Buyers should be sure they have pre-approval for financing before agreeing to the clause and should carefully review any conditions set by the seller. Sellers, on the other hand, should be clear about their expectations and timelines for financing while also being open to negotiation with buyers.

In some cases, a subject-to-finance clause can lead to delays or even termination of a sale if financing is not secured. However, it is an essential aspect of ensuring that both buyers and sellers are protected in real estate transactions.

Differences between Pre-Approval and "Subject to Finance" Conditions

Conditional approval or pre-approval and subject to finance conditions are two terms that often come up in real estate transactions. While both may seem similar, they have different meanings and implications for buyers and sellers.

Conditional approval or pre-approval is a type of loan application process where lenders assess a borrower's financial situation, creditworthiness, and ability to repay the loan. It gives borrowers an idea of how much they can borrow before they start looking for properties to purchase. Pre-approval is not a guarantee of funding but rather an indication that the lender is willing to lend the money subject to certain conditions being met.

One significant advantage of getting pre-approved is that it allows buyers to negotiate with sellers from a position of strength. Sellers are usually more willing to accept offers from buyers who have already been pre-approved because it shows that they are serious about buying the property and have taken steps towards securing financing.

On the other hand, "subject to finance" conditions are included in a contract of sale between the buyer and seller. These conditions state that the buyer's purchase of the property is subject to them obtaining finance from a lender within a specified period. If they fail to secure financing during this time, then either party can terminate the contract without penalty.

Subject-to-finance clauses provide protection for buyers against unforeseen circumstances such as job loss or changes in lending criteria by financial institutions. They also allow buyers some time after signing a contract to arrange their finances without risking losing their deposit or facing legal action from sellers.

It's important to note that while both pre-approval and subject-to-finance clauses involve obtaining financing, there are significant differences between them. Pre-approval does not tie buyers down to any specific property, whereas "subject-to-finance" clauses do so. Conditional approval indicates that lenders have assessed your capacity for repayment but does not guarantee funding, whereas "subject-to-finance" conditions are a prerequisite for the sale to proceed.

The Advantages of Including a "Subject to Finance" Clause in Your Contract

Protection is key the last thing you want is to be caught out by unforeseen circumstances that could leave you with unnecessary costs and fees. This is where including a "subject to finance" clause in your contract can come in handy.

Giving Buyers More Time

One of the most significant advantages of including a finance clause in your sale contract is that it gives buyers more time to explore different financial solutions and compare interest rates before committing to a loan. With this clause included, buyers are not locked into anything until they have secured their financing, which means they can take the time they need without worrying about losing their deposit or being penalised for backing out.

Control Over Terms

Another advantage of including a finance clause in your sale contract is that the waiver of the finance clause can only be done with the buyer's consent. This gives buyers more control over the terms of the contract and protects them from potential third-party interference. For example, if an unexpected event occurs that impacts your ability to secure financing, such as losing your job or falling ill, having this clause included means you won't be forced into completing the transaction under unfavourable terms.

Negotiating Due Dates

The due date for fulfilling the finance clause can also be negotiated between the buyer and seller, providing flexibility for both parties while still ensuring that the transaction is completed in a timely manner. For instance, if you're waiting on approval from your bank but there's been a delay due to unforeseen circumstances on their end, having some flexibility around when you need to fulfil this condition can make all the difference.

Working With Conveyancers

Working with conveyancers can help ensure everything runs smoothly. We can help you navigate the complexities of the contract, ensuring that all the necessary clauses are included and that everything is legally binding.

How "Subject to Finance" Works in Conjunction with Other Clauses in a Sales Contract

When purchasing a property, buyers and sellers enter into a sales contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the transaction. One common clause included in these contracts is the "subject to finance" clause. This clause allows buyers to back out of the deal if they are unable to secure financing for the property. However, this clause typically works in conjunction with other clauses that provide additional opportunities for buyers to withdraw from the contract.

The "subject to inspection" and "subject to appraisal" clauses are often included alongside the "subject to finance" clause. The former gives buyers an opportunity to have a professional inspection carried out on the property before finalising the deal. If any issues are uncovered during this process, buyers can use this as grounds for withdrawing from the contract or negotiating repairs or price reductions with the seller.

Similarly, an appraisal is often carried out by a lender before approving financing for a property. The appraiser assesses the value of the property based on its condition, location, and other factors. If the appraised value falls below what was agreed upon in the sales contract, buyers may be unable to secure financing or may need to renegotiate with sellers.

Combining these clauses provides buyers with more protection and flexibility when purchasing a property. It ensures that they have multiple opportunities throughout the buying process to withdraw from or renegotiate aspects of their agreement with sellers.

However, it's important for both parties involved in a real estate transaction to carefully review all clauses included in their sales contract before signing. Sellers may include their own clauses that limit buyer flexibility or require them to act quickly and meet certain deadlines (such as a "time is of essence" clause). Buyers should ensure that they understand all obligations outlined in their agreement before signing on.

In some cases, subject-to-finance clauses can go wrong if buyers do not act quickly enough or if their financing falls through unexpectedly. This can cause delays and financial losses for both parties involved. To avoid this, buyers should ensure that they have secured pre-approval for financing before entering into a sales contract.

Tips for Writing Effective Finance Clauses

Clear and concise wording

When drafting finance clauses, it is crucial to use clear and concise wording to avoid any ambiguity or confusion. The language used in the clause should be easily understandable by both parties involved. This will help prevent any misunderstandings that may arise during the transaction process. Parties should also ensure that there are no loopholes in the clause that could lead to misinterpretation of its meaning.

Legal advice from experienced FC lawyers

Seeking legal advice from experienced finance clause lawyers is essential when drafting finance clauses. These lawyers have vast knowledge and experience in dealing with financial transactions, which makes them better equipped to draft legally sound finance clauses that protect your interests as a vendor. They can provide guidance on what clauses are necessary for your specific situation and how best to word them.

Guidance and advice for vendors

It is important to provide guidance and advice to the vendor on the steps they can take to satisfy the finance clause. For instance, if obtaining pre-approval or securing a loan commitment is required, you should inform the vendor of this early enough so they can take appropriate action. Providing guidance helps build trust between the parties involved and ensures a smooth transaction process.

Fair and reasonable terms

When writing finance clauses, it is essential to consider their impact on the vendor's ability to sell the property. It would be unfair for a vendor if they cannot sell their property because of an unreasonable finance clause. Therefore, it is important to negotiate terms that are fair and reasonable for both parties involved.

The Importance of a Valuation Condition in Your Finance Clause

A Crucial Part of Property Purchase: Finance Condition

One of the most important things you need to consider is your finance clause. This clause outlines the conditions that must be met before the sale can proceed, and it protects your interests as a buyer. One crucial part of this clause is the valuation condition.

Satisfactory Valuation: Ensuring Lender's Compliance with Market Value

The inclusion of a satisfactory valuation condition in your finance clause is essential because it ensures that the lender will only lend up to the market value of the property. This means that if the property is overvalued, you won't be able to borrow more than what it's worth. An independent valuation is necessary to determine the market value of the property and ensure that you're not overpaying.

Valuation Condition: A Protection Against Financial Loss

Without a valuation condition, you could end up paying more than what the property is worth. This can lead to financial loss in case you decide to sell later on or if you default on your mortgage payments. By including a valuation condition in your finance clause, you can protect yourself against such risks.

Careful Review: Avoiding Surprises During Purchasing Process

It's important to carefully review all conditions in your finance clause, including the valuation condition, before signing any contract. Doing so will help avoid surprises during the purchasing process and ensure that everything proceeds smoothly.

When to Include "Subject to Finance" in Your Contract: A Must for Purchasing Property with Finance

Including the clause "subject to finance" in your property purchase contract is not just optional, but a must-use tool when purchasing property with finance. This clause protects you as a buyer by making the purchase conditional on obtaining financing, which means you can back out of the deal if you are unable to secure a loan.

Why Do You Need To Use It?

You may think that you have good chances of getting approved for a loan and don't need this clause. However, unexpected circumstances can arise that may affect your ability to obtain financing. For example, changes in lending criteria or interest rates could impact your loan application. By including "subject to finance," you give yourself time to arrange financing and ensure that you don't lose your deposit if your loan application is declined.

How Long Does "Subject To Finance" Take?

The length of time it takes for the subject-to-finance condition depends on how long it takes for your lender to approve your loan application. Typically, it can take between 2-4 weeks from the date of signing the contract until approval is granted. However, if there are any issues with your application or additional documentation required from third parties such as guarantors or valuers, then this process may take longer.

How Do You Know If Your Contract Is Subject To Finance?

If you're buying property through an agent or conveyancer, they will generally include this clause in the contract for you. Still, it's always important to double-check before signing anything so that there are no misunderstandings later on.

What Are The Other Benefits Of Using "Subject To Finance"?

Needing financing is not the only reason why including "subject to finance" in your contract can be useful. For instance, suppose there are specific conditions that need to be met before finalising the purchase (such as obtaining a satisfactory building inspection report). In that case, this clause can be used to ensure that these conditions are met before the contract becomes unconditional.

What Happens if You Do Not Receive Satisfactory Finance Approval?

Loan applications are an essential part of buying a property. However, it is not always guaranteed that your finance application will be approved. If you do not receive satisfactory finance approval, it can lead to several consequences. In this section, we will discuss what happens if you do not receive satisfactory finance approval and the steps you can take to avoid such situations.

Loan Application Rejection

The most common consequence of unsatisfactory finance approval is loan application rejection. If your home loan application is declined, you cannot proceed with the purchase of the property. It means that you have lost the opportunity to buy the house unless you find another way to pay for it. Moreover, multiple loan applications within a short period can negatively affect your credit score.

Full Loan Approval

A full loan approval is necessary to proceed with the purchase of a property. A pre-approval only tells you how much money a lender may be willing to lend based on certain assumptions about your financial situation. It does not guarantee that they will lend you the money for a specific property. A full loan approval indicates that the lender has assessed all aspects of your financial situation and has agreed to lend you money for a particular property.

Seek Help from Finance Professionals

It is essential to seek help from finance professionals if you are struggling with formal approval. They can guide you through the process and help identify any issues or mistakes in your application that could be causing problems. They may also suggest alternative financing options or ways to improve your chances of getting approved.

Approval Date

The date of approval is crucial as it determines when the contract becomes binding between parties involved in purchasing or selling properties. The contract typically includes clauses specifying deadlines for various milestones such as obtaining finance approvals, building inspections, and other due diligence activities required before finalising transactions.

Ensuring Smooth Property Purchases with "Subject to Finance"

In conclusion, including a "subject to finance" clause in your contract is crucial when purchasing property with finance. It protects both the buyer and the seller from any financial risks that may arise during the transaction. While pre-approval is an important step in securing finance, it does not guarantee final approval, which is why a "subject to finance" condition is necessary.

By including this clause, buyers have the opportunity to secure their finances without risking their deposit or losing out on their dream property. Vendors can also be assured that they are dealing with serious buyers who have taken the necessary steps to secure financing.

When writing effective finance clauses, it's essential to consider all aspects of the transaction and include a valuation condition. This ensures that both parties agree on the value of the property before proceeding with the sale.

Understanding how "subject to finance" works in conjunction with other clauses in a sales contract can help you navigate negotiations smoothly and avoid any potential legal disputes.

Ultimately, whether you're buying or selling property, ensuring smooth transactions should be your top priority. Including a "subject to finance" clause in your contract can provide peace of mind and protection for all parties involved.

So don't hesitate to contact us before drafting your sales contracts. With careful planning and consideration, you can successfully navigate through any financial challenges that may arise during your property purchase journey.

Who is Peta Stewart?

Award-winning conveyancer. Entrepreneur. Business mentor. Women’s cycling advocate. These are just some of the ways Peta Stewart is introduced. What ties them together is a steely determination to help people achieve their life goals and have fun in the process.

In 2004, Peta became the first licensed conveyancer in the Albury Wodonga greater region. Five years later, she launched her own business and started shaking up the industry with a good dose of personality, integrity and humanity.

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