Whether you are buying property for the first time, moving or securing an investment, you will appreciate that this can be an exciting but anxious time.
In addition to the practical aspects of moving house and changing location, you will need to deal with the formalities of securing or renegotiating a loan and ensuring that the house you inspect meets your expectations.
Purchasers need to know that there are no hidden surprises affecting title to the land or its improvements. For investors, the numbers need to stack up – a hidden defect could mean the difference between a solid investment and a liability.
Conveyancing is the process of transferring a property from one owner to the next. Unlike most legal processes the entire transaction takes place in a very short timeframe. In a competitive market, purchasers often feel the pressure of securing a property with little to go on or missing out altogether. This is where a competent conveyancer or lawyer is invaluable.
Our conveyancing team has transferred numerous properties from one owner to the next, negotiating contracts, resolving issues and ensuring that our clients are equipped to make informed decisions along the way.
Typically, a conveyance is a three-part process – finance and pre-purchase investigations, exchange of contracts and completion. A basic understanding of each phase with the guidance of a conveyancing expert will ensure your property purchase proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Finance, contract review and investigations
Fundamental to purchasing a property is being able to finance it. Pre-approved finance is critical, more so in a competitive market, and allows you to move forward confidently once you find a suitable property. Most loans are pre-approved subject to valuation after which a formal approval can be obtained.
Although you would have physically inspected the property, probably several times, the contract is the legal substance of your purchase – accordingly it deserves the undivided attention of your conveyancer or lawyer.
The contract sets out the legal description of the property and includes prescribed disclosure documents – typically a plan of the land, details of interests over the land (easements and covenants), a planning certificate and drainage diagram.
The contract will also contain standard conditions regulating the rights and responsibilities of the vendor and purchaser. Additions clauses are almost always included by a vendor which should be scrutinised to ensure that they are not onerous.
Our expertise and familiarity with a standard land contract enables us to conduct an efficient yet thorough review. We will identify the property with you, go through any unusual terms and ensure that you are familiar with your obligations.
We will recommend additional investigations such as pest and building reports and Council enquiries to ensure that the property will meet your expectations and that you know exactly what you are buying.
Exchange of contracts
Once formal finance is approved and you are satisfied with the permitted use of the property as well as its physical attributes, contracts can be signed and exchanged. This is the formal process used to bind the parties to their negotiations and triggers the due settlement date. The deposit (or deposit bond) is also required at this stage which is usually held in trust by the vendor’s solicitor, until settlement.
After contracts exchange, we will continue to investigate the property by ordering Government searches and enquiries. These provide details of land tax, rates (to be adjusted on settlement) and will reveal whether there are any interests in the property (for example, road widening or compulsory acquisitions) that would not be identifiable by reading the contract.
We will also liaise with your lender, providing further details regarding your purchase, and ascertain their further requirements to ensure that the borrowed funds will be available to complete your purchase.
During this time, you will need to arrange insurance to take place from the completion date.
Completion of your purchase occurs when the legal and bank representatives meet to exchange the balance of the purchase price for the title deeds to the property. With the introduction of electronic conveyancing, settlements can now take place on-line.
Prior to settlement you should organise a final inspection of the property with the selling agent to ensure that it is neat and tidy, with items removed and in the same condition as when it was inspected.
The title document for your property will be collected on settlement, by your lender if you have borrowed funds, and registered with the transfer at the Land Titles Office.
Preparing for your purchase is key to a smooth transaction. We encourage clients to contact us as soon as they start looking. We will do the necessary identity checks and establish a file so that we are ready to represent you as soon as you find that perfect property.