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Buying and settlement

Do you need a conveyancer?


2017-11-15 00:00

When you transfer a home into your name, you need to check that no legal issues will affect your ownership or use of the property. You could consider hiring an experienced professional to conduct this transfer process, also known as conveyancing.

When you’re renting, you can’t even hammer a nail into the wall to hang a picture, let alone make any major changes.

That’s why one of the best things about buying your own home is that you can do whatever you want.

But what if you discovered that you actually couldn’t?

It’s not always simple

Imagine you weren’t allowed to put up a pergola because someone else had the right to use that part of your land.  Wait a minute, isn’t it your land? How can someone else have any rights over it?

The answer is that another party can access parts of your property if they have an easement over it. For example a water company may have an easement that prevents any building over their pipes.

An easement is just one of the legal instruments that could affect a property. And it’s just one of the things a professional conveyancer will look for when you instruct them to check the title of your property.

Some things a conveyancer may do

The conveyancer can check for:

  • Easements – organisations or individuals may have a legal right to access your land to repair their infrastructure or use it as a driveway.
  • Covenants – These may restrict the paint colours, fence styles and other changes you can make to the property.
  • Caveats – Caveat is Latin for ‘beware’. It indicates someone else has an interest in the property. For example, this could be someone who is owed money by the vendor.

Preparing and lodge legal documents

These could include:

  • contract of sale
  • memorandum of transfer.

Calculating the adjustment of rates and taxes

The vendor may have already paid the council or water rates. The conveyancer will calculate the portion of these that you will need to reimburse the vendor and adjust the final settlement amount accordingly.

Settling the property

The conveyancer can attend the settlement to make sure the documents are correctly lodged and the balance of the money is paid.

Acting as your representative

The conveyancer can speak to the vendor or their agent on your behalf. Their experience can take some of the emotion and stress out of negotiations.

Conveyancer or solicitor?

Conveyancing can be performed by a registered conveyancer or a solicitor. Conveyancers may belong to the Australian Institute of Conveyancers while solicitors are registered legal practitioners. There may be differences between the tasks they can perform and the fees they charge.

When should I find a conveyancer?

It’s a good idea to find a conveyancer when you begin your house hunting. That way if you find a property you’re interested in you can have them check the contract. 

It’s better to uncover any problems early so you don’t waste time, emotion and money on a property with an encumbered title.

To sum up

  • Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property. 
  • It’s a good idea to consider using the services of a conveyancer or a solicitor. 
  • A conveyancer can help the transfer process run smoothly. 
  • They will check your title is clear of easements, caveats and covenants.
Do you need a conveyancer?
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