Frequently Asked Questions
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process by which ownership of a property is transferred from one party to another. Licensed conveyancers like us work to assist you with property sale, purchase, transfer, and lease of both residential and commercial properties. A typical conveyancing transaction has two main phases: the initial exchange of contracts and the finalisation of agreement.
What is the difference between conveyancers and lawyers?
People often get confused between lawyers and conveyancers, and it’s not hard to understand why. However, there are differences.
Lawyers are trained to advise clients on their legal rights and obligations, advice that can be applicable to the buying and selling of real estate or the conveyancing process.
In contrast, conveyancers are persons who are licensed to assist buyers and sells of real estate through the conveyancing process. Conveyancers are responsible for making sure you meet every single legal obligation involved in your property transaction. However, conveyancers cannot advise on areas of law that are outside of ‘conveyancing work’. If somebody needs legal advice on areas outside of conveyancing, the conveyancer must refer the client to a qualified lawyer.
Typically, conveyancers have a stronger working knowledge of the rules, regulations, and intricacies of conveyancing in Australia, as this would be their specific areas of expertise. On the other hand, lawyers are known to be more of a general practitioner who have knowledge on the area, but not specific expertise.
How does conveyancing work?
A common conveyance usually takes about six weeks to complete. A conveyancing transaction consists of three stages: pre-contract, pre-completion, and post-completion.
A typical conveyancing process usually involves the following:
- Prepare, clarify, and lodge legal documents
- Research property background and title certificate
- Calculate any adjustments arising from rates or taxes
- Ensuring payment of land tax, water consumption charges etc.
- Settle the property on your behalf
- Make sure any agreed-upon conditions within the contract are satisfied
Conveyancers will help you understand the complicated legal jargon typical of property transactions and assist you in the decision-making process. Conveyancers take the guesswork out of buying, selling, or transferring property and are well-versed in the procedures and paperwork necessary for completion.
When should I engage a conveyancer when buying a property?
As soon as you have found a house you would like to bid on, you should contact Entry Conveyancing immediately, to set up a ‘pre-purchase contract review’. The earlier you start this process, the more stress-free it will be the further you get down the purchase period.
What is a cooling off period, and how long is it?
A cooling off period is a period of time following the purchase of a property where all parties involved can cancel the contract and ‘walk away’ from the purchase without incurring a penalty.
The cooling off period generally lasts for 3 days (depending on where you’re located in Australia) and commences once the buyer signs the contract, even if the seller has not yet signed. Note that other states have different rules with respect to the cooling off period.
For example, in Victoria, if the buyer decides to exit or cancel their contract within the cooling off period, they will have to forfeit either $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price, whichever is higher.
As such, we recommend that a buyer should undergo a detailed check on their contract and make sure they’re happy with the terms before progressing to final agreement, or the cooling off period. Entry Conveyancing will give invaluable insight and advice regarding any property contracts and final sale or purchase.
If I sell my house without the intervention of a real estate agent, do I still need a conveyancer?
The short answer is yes. You are unable to list or advertise your property for sale without an official, written contract for sale. This is because anyone who makes an inquiry or an offer on your property is entitled to ask for a proposed contract for sale. If you fail to do this, there are fines are repercussions.
Entry Conveyancing are able to help you prepare a contract for sale. We can also provide advice as to any other pre-contract, pre-completion of post-completion measures. Call us today on 1800 518 187 for a free consultation and quote.
Should I have the contract and Section 32 checked before I buy?
Absolutely, you should have your Section 32 and contract checked before you purchase any kind of property. Too many people fail to receive conveyancing or legal advice from a qualified professional prior to purchase, which can lead to enormous financial issues later down the track.
Our pre-purchase legal advice will help you navigate the many twists and turns of buying, selling, or transferring a property. Our fixed fee rates also remove the possibility of being overcharged.
If you’re in the early stages of purchasing, selling, or transferring ownership of a property, please call us, and we’ll be able to make sure you’re getting the best deal for yourself.
What happens at settlement?
Settlement refers to the finalisation of the sale or purchase of a property. The buyer, sellers, solicitors, and banks are involved.
On settlement, the purchaser’s bank will exchange cheques as per the instruction of the buyer’s solicitor and, in return, receive the Certificate of Title from the seller’s bank.
When it comes to the settlement date, keys can be handed over to the purchaser, provided all other agreements have been met by their respective dates. The agent will then release the deposit to the seller, whereby the buyer’s bank registers the change of title and mortgage and notifies the relevant authorities (like electricity services) of the change.
What is “gazumping”?
Gazumping happens when a vendor does not choose to formalise a written, contracted agreement to sell to the purchaser, and then instead sells to a new vendor at the last minute in order to accept a higher offer.
In Australia, it is assumed that a purchaser understands that a sale has not taken place until the contract has been fully executed by all involved parties, and that a purchaser who claims to have “been gazumped” has merely failed to understand the law.
What is an “off-the-plan” purchase?
Buying “off-the-plan” refers to the purchase of land or a property that doesn’t yet exist physically, and instead is only on an approved or proposed plan.
For example, if someone has a large paddock and wants to subdivide it into smaller plots, he may sell the divided blocks in theory, and then divide them later once he knows that people are interested in purchasing them. This strategy minimises risk for the seller.
In this scenario, it should be noted that a vendor typically has 18 months to 3 years to sub-divide the land. If not, purchasers get their money back.
Purchasers will select the blocks of land they want off the plan. Off the plan purchases are extremely common for apartments, when new skyrise buildings are built.
What do I need to know about buying at an auction?
Real estate auctions are a risk for everybody involved but can be extremely rewarding.
At an auction, a vendor will list their property for a reserve price. If the final ‘winning bid’ is below this reserve price, the house is not sold.
In some cases, auctions can go extremely well for sellers if multiple parties are very interested in the property and bid against each other.
As a buyer, you should compare the listed reserve price to how much you or an agent believe the property to be worth. It is possible to get a good deal on a home that goes to auction.