Buying a property is not simply a matter of signing a contract and picking up the keys on settlement day. Successfully completing a conveyancing transaction requires an understanding of property and contract law and all the steps involved from reviewing your contract, searching for adverse interests, to registering you as the new owner on the property’s title on completion. We can help you every step of the way.
Our role in the conveyancing process
The complexity of conveyancing is often under-estimated – there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and, while most transactions are completed without an issue, some are not. We can help minimise the risk and stress from your property purchase by:
- Reviewing the contract to make sure it protects your rights and interests and is suited to your needs
- Explaining your obligations under the contract and flagging potential pitfalls
- Explaining your cooling-off rights
- Liaising with your bank, the agent and the vendor’s legal representatives
- Conducting legal searches and advising of their outcome
- Adjusting rates and body corporate levies, as relevant, and preparing final settlement statements
- Informing the necessary authorities of the purchase and supplying them with the required information
- Settling your matter online and reporting to you
The importance of due diligence
Buying a property is usually a huge financial investment. The penalties for failing to complete a binding contract are significant and the property market generally operates on the basis of ‘buyer beware’. However, when you fall in love with a house, it can be easy to ignore the suspiciously damp brickwork or wobbly roof line.
Carrying out due diligence is important to ensure that you are getting what you expect and there are no hidden surprises. While many home buyers are aware of the benefits of ordering building and pest inspection reports before committing to their purchase, many are not as familiar with the dozens of other searches and checks that we can conduct for you prior to settlement. You need to ensure you obtain all the property rights that you expect – this means confirming that the correct property is being transferred and there are no unexpected encumbrances on the title.
Depending on the property, any one of these precautionary checks could mean the difference between a lifetime of happiness and a great deal of expensive regret. We can recommend the most important searches for your proposed purchase and explain the significance of the results.
Settlements in New South Wales are now conducted electronically through a system called PEXA. This allows a secure and timely transfer of ownership without the risk of a paper title, which can be lost or destroyed. But an electronic settlement is a complex process which requires a thorough understanding of property law to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
Ownership interests – joint tenants or tenants in common?
If you are buying property with someone else, it is important to understand the legal implications of your respective interests. The way that legal interests are held in property between co-owners is an important consideration when it comes to asset protection, succession, and estate planning.
When you hold property as joint tenants, the interests are held as a whole and cannot be separately apportioned. Joint tenancy is subject to the rules of survivorship. If a co-owner dies, their share automatically passes to the remaining owner/s, and cannot be left to anybody else, even if the will of a deceased owner provides otherwise.
Property held as tenants in common can specify the individual shares held by each owner which need not be equal and may be transferred, sold, or left to a beneficiary in a will.
While buying as joint tenants is common for spouses and domestic partners, this may not always be in your best interests. We can explain the pros and cons of each form of tenancy so you can make an informed decision based on your circumstances.
A property purchase is typically one of the biggest financial transactions a person makes, yet the conveyancing process moves quickly providing no room for error. If you want peace of mind every step of the way for your next property transaction, contact [email protected] or call 02 9629 4800.