Unless you’re a lawyer with plenty of free time on your hands, you will need a professional conveyancer to handle the legalities of purchasing or selling a property. When you hand over your hard-earned money to a conveyancer, what are they actually doing for you?
In broad terms, a conveyancer is responsible for making sure you meet all the legal obligations involved in your property transaction and that your rights are protected throughout the process.
The scope of work that a conveyancer covers varies depending on the complexity of the property transaction, but the following are just some of the jobs we take care of on your behalf:
• Documents, documents and more documents
One of the most important and essential responsibilities of a conveyancer is the preparation of all the documents needed in your real estate transaction.
Your conveyancer will manage the transfer documents to ensure the property is rightfully and legally transferred to or from your name. It’s the conveyancer’s job to make sure the documents comply with legal regulations in your territory or state.
They also conduct title and planning searches that are necessary for meeting the disclosure obligations set by your state or territory, and they might prepare other supplementary documents needed for the settlement process.
• Contract of Sale preparation
If you’re selling your property, your conveyancer prepares the Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement and makes sure all of your special requirements and conditions are included in the final contract. If you’re buying, your conveyancer can review the contract and Vendor’s Statement for you and look for any potential errors, unusual clauses or red flags.
• Conveyancing advice
Conveyancers can provide advice to sellers regarding any conditions that need to be included in the Contract of Sale. They can also advise you on other legal documents needed to complete the settlement, to avoid misunderstandings and delays.
Buyers can also use the services of a conveyancer in interpreting the terms and conditions stated in the Contract of Sale, along with the other searches they are running. Having your conveyancer read and explain this information before you commit to the purchase protects you from potentially expensive risks, such as buying a house with an illegal extension.
• Finance transactions
It is not the conveyancer’s job to tinker with your direct financing arrangements, but they do play a vital role in arranging settlement with your bank. A conveyancer can facilitate the financing process by making sure your bank receives all the required details and supporting documents for settlement.
If there are any adjustments and payments as part of the settlement, your conveyancer will calculate these amounts for you. For instance, if the vendor has already paid council rates up until December 20 and you settle the purchase on September 1, you will need to refund them the amount that covers that period (September 1 – December 20). Your conveyancer will calculate these exact amounts to make sure all payments are correct and final as of settlement date.
• Arranges settlement
Conveyancers coordinate the ideal time for settlement for both the buyer and the seller, depending on both parties’ mutual convenience. They will also contact your bank to make sure you can pay the seller on the appointed time without any delays.
While you can expect conveyancers to take care of most of the legalities for you, remember that not all of them are created equal. You should always screen your prospective conveyancer to find one with experience, expertise and a strong reputation.