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I. Basic knowledge of land ownership in Hong Kong
Am I holding a Government lease while owning a flat in a multi-storey building?
What are the different ways of owning a property? What is sole ownership and what are joint tenants and tenants-in-common?
I am not the "registered owner" (my name is not written on the title deed of the flat which has been registered in the Land Registry) but I have paid part or all of the purchase money of the flat. Do I have a say in matters concerning the property? For example, can I prevent the "registered owner" from selling the property?
II. The estate agents' services (with an overview of the sale and purchase procedures)
I want to sell my flat. What services can I expect from an estate agent?
As a vendor, must I sign an estate agency agreement when I ask an agent to help me sell my flat?
Can the same agent serve both the vendor and the purchaser?
Do I pay less commission if the same agent serves both the purchaser and me (the vendor)?
I want to buy a flat. What services can I expect and what information can I obtain from the agent who shows me a flat?
As a purchaser, must I sign an estate agency agreement when I ask an agent to show me a flat?
Do I pay less commission if the same agent serves both the vendor and me (the purchaser)?
What if I sign a 'Form 4' with an agent who shows me a flat, and later, I buy the flat through another agent or directly from the vendor?
What if I sign a 'Form 4' with an agent who shows me a flat, and later, someone related to me (e.g. my spouse) buys the flat through another agent or directly from the vendor?
Where can I go to make a complaint if I am not satisfied with my agent?
Before I buy the flat, I find out that my agent gave me false information or he forgot to tell me some important information about the flat. Can I terminate the provisional agreement and sue my agent (and his employer) for compensation?
III. Provisional sale and purchase agreement
I want to purchase a flat. What should I do before I sign the provisional sale and purchase agreement and pay the initial deposit?
When the property is sold with an existing tenancy, what should the purchaser and the vendor be aware of?
What are the usual terms that would be contained in the provisional sale and purchase agreement?
Should the provisional sale and purchase agreement be stamped and registered?
What should a purchaser be aware of if there is an existing mortgage on the flat before he/she signs the provisional sale and purchase agreement?
If a purchaser intends to buy a flat over which there is a negative equity (the purchase price to be paid cannot fully offset the outstanding mortgage loan), how can the purchaser deal with the risk?
What should a purchaser do if a mortgage is needed?
Can a purchaser re-sell the property after signing the provisional sale and purchase agreement?
IV. Formal sale and purchase agreement
What are the usual steps for signing the formal sale and purchase agreement and paying the further deposit?
I (as a purchaser) signed the provisional agreement but I want to add my spouse's name or my parents' names into the subsequent formal agreement. Can I do that?
If I want to sell or transfer my flat to a member of my family or a relative, what should I be aware of?
How much stamp duty is payable for the sale and purchase agreement for the property?
Is there any difference between 'residential' and 'commercial' properties as far as stamp duty is concerned?
Under what circumstances can the purchaser apply for deferring payment of stamp duty?
Should the sale and purchase agreement for the property be registered at the Land Registry? How much is the registration fee?
How much will I have to pay the solicitor for a property transaction? Is there a fixed scale?
V. Consequences of breaching the sale and purchase agreement
If one party commits other wrongful acts, e.g. the vendor broke a small window in the kitchen, can the other party terminate the sale and purchase agreement or claim for compensation?
VI. Completing the sale and purchase transaction
If there are some "new expenses" (e.g. repair costs for the relevant building) come out after the parties signed the formal sale and purchase agreement but before the completion day, should the vendor or the purchaser bear these expenses?
VII. Sale and purchase of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats
VIII. Sale and purchase of property under construction
Sale and purchase of property under construction is governed by either the "Consent Scheme" or the "Non-Consent Scheme". What are the differences between these two schemes?
If the developer/vendor fails to complete the building and hand over the flats to the purchasers on time, can the purchasers terminate the agreement and sue for compensation?
IX. Deed of Mutual Covenant and Owners' Corporation
What are the functions of the Owners' Corporation and the building manager?
How to set up an Owners' Corporation?
X. Case illustration
4. Should the provisional sale and purchase agreement be stamped and registered?
It depends on when the parties will sign the provisional agreement and the formal agreement.
For the sale and purchase of a
residential property, the purchaser or the representing solicitor must arrange to stamp:
the provisional agreement and formal agreement (if the formal agreement is signed more than 14 days after the signing of provisional agreement);
OR the formal agreement only (if it is signed within 14 days from the date of the provisional agreement).
The provisional agreement may be registered at the Land Registry (after stamping). It must be registered if the parties fail to sign the formal agreement on the specified date. In a normal case, the purchaser's solicitor would arrange to register the formal agreement.
For the sale and purchase of
non-residential property (such as commercial or industrial property), stamp duty is only payable upon the signing of the assignment (which will be signed on the completion day/property hand over day). Therefore, the preceding provisional and formal sale and purchase agreements are not required to be stamped and registered, although it would be prudent to register the formal sale and purchase agreement. Top