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Friends Versus Business: Do You Need a Conveyancer for a Private Property Sale?

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The process of property buying and selling necessitates considerable legal work. This is where the need for licensed professional conveyancers comes in, especially when the people at the other end of the deal are people you don’t know.

What happens, however, when you are dealing with people you know?

When you’re selling to friends and family, hiring a conveyancer may feel unnecessary. After all, you’re transacting with people you know and trust, and it will potentially save time and money if you skip this step and do your own conveyancing.

You know the old saying, though; never mix business with pleasure. As conveyancers, we’ve seen plenty of transactions fall apart over the years and in many cases, the problems arise when emotions are in the mix.

Here, we outline some common considerations that you still need to keep in mind – even when your buyers or sellers are your loved ones:

  1. You still need to meet all your legal obligations.
  2. Conveyancing, which can be a complex process, is guided by the laws of your state or territory. “You still need a conveyancer to prepare the contract of sale, a statutory disclosure statement (often referred to as ‘Form 1’) and the other documentation required by law for the sale to proceed,” explains the SA branch of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC). Managing this process on your own could see you overlook or skip essential steps in the process, which could result in delays or added expenses.

  3. You need someone to help you remain impartial.
  4. When we’re dealing with people we know, we can sometimes be hesitant to act as forcefully as we normally would with an unknown third party. A conveyancer helps add some impartiality back into the deal, to ensure you don’t unwittingly agree to unfair terms or conditions, and gives you a legal grounding to fall back on if you wish to negotiate with the other party.

  5. You need a check-and-balance.
  6. A conveyancer can play the highly important role of objectively checking through title transfer agreements made between yourself and your buyer, protecting your best interests in the process.

  7. You need someone to help you see the selling process to the end.
  8. A property transaction, especially one that involves your home, doesn’t just end with a turnover of keys. You have to liaise with the bank regarding your mortgage, inform the government of a change to ownership in the property and calculate the necessary adjustments. A conveyancer can help you care of these details, and offer guidance and support on any areas you’re unsure of.

To save money, you and your friend or family member may consider hiring one conveyancer to act on behalf of both of you. There are some serious risks here – for instance, a conflict of interest is quite possible, since the conveyancer will have to juggle the best interests of two competing parties.

As a result, very few conveyancers are willing to agree to such arrangements, and those who do require the parties to sign release forms freeing the conveyancer of any liability.

Our recommendation? When it comes to mixing business with pleasure, do your best to keep the process as independent, straightforward and stress-free as possible. For the sake of a relatively small fee, you can engage a legal professional to act on your behalf and ensure your best interests are prioritised, every step of the way.

At Think Conveyancing, we’re always happy to help you with any aspect of your conveyancing requirements. For more information on what we do and how we could help you, please contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

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