Conveyancing is a branch of legal practice. It is the act of preparing documents for the conveyance of real property. Real property is defined as land and all the structures built on, or that are in some way attached to it. This includes but is not limited to residential buildings, factories, and crops. It is also known as immovable property or real estate.
In law, conveyance of a property is the process of transferring the legal ownership of a said property from one person to another. Conveyance could also be concerned with the handling of a mortgage, or with the modalities of using land as collateral or as a security interest.
A lawyer that handles the conveyance process is called a conveyancer. He has a license specifically for the activity of conveyancing. A solicitor could also be called upon to handle a conveyance. He is a lawyer that is qualified to deal with most legal matters in a jurisdiction.
Where it Starts
Generally speaking, a caveat emptor is always at play in the purchase of real estate. That means that it is the buyer’s responsibility to make sure that he is getting a good deal on a legally owned and rightfully occupied item of land from the seller.
He also has to ascertain that the vendor not only owns but actually has the right to sell the property. He has to ensure that there are no restrictions that are obtained. This is where the choice of a good conveyancer becomes very important for the buyer.
In Australia, it is possible for the buyer to complete a conveyancing process himself. However, this is not advised due to the legal complexities of the council and state laws.
When the buyer has signed a contract to purchase real estate, in some deals he is allowed a period in which he can change his mind and decide not to proceed. He would be expected to pay a small percentage of the cost price as damages. This is usually in the range of 0.2 to 0.25%.
This right to back out of a deal is called a cooling-off period. The length of time varies from place to place; 3 days in Victoria and 5 days in Queensland. It can only hold on to some stipulated conditions. Such conditions include the property being a residential one. Another could be that the property would not have been purchased at an auction.
Getting Help With a Conveyancer
A conveyancer may charge a fixed fee or work on an hourly basis. Even though it might be an initial lump sum that has to be paid, fixed fees are generally much cheaper in the long run than hourly rates.
It’s important to pick the right conveyancing lawyer if you’re in search of one, as they have to prepare all the necessary legal documentation and to give appropriate legal advice to an adequate degree. It is also his/her responsibility to ensure that all the conditions stipulated in the contract are met.
It falls on them to make due diligence on the property in question and to make all necessary searches. Knowledge of the legal status, important history, and any restrictions on the land is to be ascertained by them too.
The conveyancer has to check at all levels of government; local, state, and federal, that the seller has the rights to the property in question. As a part of their duty they also have to ensure that this title is valid across all its various relevant legal jurisdictions in these levels.
It is also the conveyancer’s responsibility to ensure that any recurrent expenses on utilities are to be made by the required party involved and ensure the satisfaction with both sides of the buyer and seller, as well as working with the financiers of both parties to achieve this.
When the mortgage is paid off, they record the mortgage discharge with the Registry of Deeds to clear the title of the property.
As a final step, they also have the duty of setting up the final agreement between the parties.
The entire process of running searches to drawing up documents, giving legal advice, and down to final settlement could take a period of up to six weeks.
It’s also important to find the right conveyancing lawyer or solicitor to get the right advice through each of these stages. For reputable legal advice in the Sydney area, KDA Legal Services are the firm you can trust. It does depend on where you’re based as to what firms are available to you but if you’re a Sydney local, it’s worth giving them a call.
As stressful as buying and organising property can be, save yourself some of the stress and spend the time finding the right conveyancing lawyer or firm that can individually help you.