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Conveyancing and Property
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Conveyancing is the area of property law that deals with the transfer of real estate between sellers and buyers.
Although it seems quite straightforward, property law can be quite complex and conveyancing has to consider issues such as contract terms and conditions, mortgages, covenants, easements, caveats, the type of property title, the type of tenancy, local council regulations and zoning to name just a few.
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the conveyancing process
Buying a Property
Generally the process begins with the drawing up of a Contract for Sale. The Contract will include things such as:
- The street address and legal property title details
- The length of time between signing and completion of the contract
- What’s included or specifically excluded from the sale
- Special conditions specific to this particular property
The purchaser needs to get legal advice, review the contract, arrange inspections and start making loan arrangements before anything is signed.
The contract is signed by both parties and may be immediately binding, depending on the circumstances of the sale. You may, however, have a cooling off period available, or be able to withdraw from the contract under certain conditions, so it’s important that you know the exact terms and conditions written into the contract.
There is a set length of time between the contract becoming binding and the contract is settled or completed. In this time the purchaser of the property has a lot to do including conducting various checks on the property, paying stamp duty, organising insurance and getting any loan arrangements in order, and the seller of the property should be making arrangements with their bank to have any mortgage discharged as well as making plans to move.
Before settlement, adjustments to the purchase price are agreed upon between the parties to cover council and water rates as well as other costs which may be allowed for in the contract.
On the day of settlement everything has to be in place. The purchaser or the incoming mortgagee has to show up with the funds, and the seller or outgoing mortgagee has to turn up with the property title and the document/s needed to release the mortgage. Everything is handed over including the keys and the property is considered settled.
After settlement the new owner needs to be registered as the owner of the title, and various government bodies need to be informed of the change in ownership.
Selling a property
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your property, one of the first tasks is to have the Contract for Sale of Land drawn up.
The contract will include not only the legal terms and conditions of sale, but will also specify what items are included or excluded from the sale, and any other special requirements you might have a longer or shorter settlement than usual, or perhaps that the contract be conditional upon another contract for you to buy your next property. There are a lot of ways that a contract can be varied, so it’s important to discuss your situation in detail with your lawyer/conveyancer.
You also need to know your disclosure responsibilities, as failing to disclose certain things can lead you into a lot of trouble.
Once a purchaser has been found and the contract has been signed and is legally binding, then a deposit is usually paid by the purchaser and is usually held in the trust account of the selling agent.
Settlement (the day that the money is exchanged for the property and keys handed over) is scheduled in accordance with the contract and is usually 6 weeks after signing contracts. During the wait for settlement, your lawyer/conveyancer will liaise with your bank in relation to releasing any mortgage held on the property. In this time you should arrange disconnection of electricity and other services.
Before settlement, the purchase price will be adjusted to reflect the council rates, water rates, and strata fees that need to be shared between the parties. There may be other adjustments, based on the Contract for Sale.
Once settlement takes place, the real estate agent will be authorised to release the deposit to you, less their fees.
“Although it seems quite straightforward, property law can be quite complex"
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As buying and selling property is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make it’s important that you get expert advice. Legal expertise and diligence are well worth the cost.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with our experienced conveyancer.
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