Conveyancing explained – Part 1

Conveyancing explained – Part 1

Buying or selling a property may be one of the biggest decisions you will make. This article will address any queries you might have, in general terms and in plain English.

In Part 1 of our two part Conveyancing explained articles we define the conveyancing process and common terms.

The team at Steele+Co are always available to provide you with more detail and comprehensive advice specific to your circumstances.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of title or an interest in title, of property and some other assets, from one person or entity to another.

A typical conveyancing transaction consists of three stages:

  • before contract
  • before completion
  • after completion

In most cases the conveyancing process will begin before you even enter into your contract. It includes you entering into the contract and all relevant steps through to settlement of the transaction, where the final part of the purchase price is paid and ownership is transferred. It concludes with the administrative tasks that follow settlement.

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional whose job it is to provide advice and information about the sale of a property, prepare the documentation and conduct the settlement process.

You might commonly engage a licensed conveyancer when you are:

  • buying or selling a property
  • subdividing land
  • updating a title (ie registering a death)
  • registering, changing or removing an easement

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

Both a conveyancer and a solicitor can help you with a straightforward property purchase or sale. However a solicitor can provide advice with more complex legal issues that sometimes arise during the process.

What is the definition of exchange?

The exchange of a contract is when a binding legal contract to buy and sell land, or sometimes to record other agreements, comes into existence. A deposit of 10% of the purchase price is usually paid at this time, and is usually held by a third party such as the vendor’s real estate agent, solicitor or conveyancer until the contract is completed and the transaction settled.

What is settlement?

Settlement is the day on which the representatives of all parties, including any financiers, meet to finalise the transaction. Final document checks are performed to ensure accuracy and completeness, the legal and administrative documents are exchanged, usually stamp duty and other payments are made, and the balance of the purchase price is paid.

Shortly following settlement the land registration details are transferred to the new owner, whereby the conveyancing process concludes.

What are the costs of conveyancing?

Every transaction is different. At Steele+Co you are informed at the outset of the expected costs to complete your conveyance. Our cost estimates include a fixed professional fee as well as anticipated searches, and any additional requested services, and are provided to you in writing before we commence any work.

Why choose Steele+Co?

We believe we offer four key points of difference from our competitors:

  1. Prompt handling of each stage of your matter;
  2. Communication throughout, with you and the associated parties involved in the transaction;
  3. Proactive solutions to matters arising throughout your transaction, such as contract negotiations, building reports, timing issues and dealing with your financier; and
  4. We understand the importance of getting to exchange of contracts and settlement as soon as possible to secure your transaction, whether you are a buyer or a seller.

With a broad base of experience, our responsive team offers availability to answer your questions promptly.

Do I need to come into your office during the conveyancing process?

For the most part, we can take your instructions and complete the conveyance via phone, email or post. We do request a face-to-face appointment with you at our office once the contracts are prepared, to take you through the contract and to answer any questions you may have at this point.

How long does a conveyance take?

As there are so many parties and variables involved in the conveyancing process, it is sometimes impossible to provide a definite timeframe. However a common conveyance by a licensed conveyancer or solicitor usually takes 4–8 weeks.

What are the key dates/stages to be aware of in the conveyancing process?

There are several key dates and stages to be aware of, including:

  • Signing the contract – the time when all parties sign the contract and agree to its terms.
  • The exchange date – when contracts becoming binding, subject to the terms and conditions contained within it.
  • The end of the “cooling off period” where applicable – the period during which buyer can terminate the contract without having to rely on a term of the contract, and with limited potential for the seller to charge a penalty.
  • The finance approval date – the date by which a buyer must advise the seller that finance approval has been obtained. In some states, finance approvals are often arranged before the contract is signed and this date may not be applicable.
  • The building and pest inspection date – the date by which a buyer must indicate to the seller their satisfaction (or otherwise) with the inspections they have obtained. You should get a licensed building inspector to perform the inspection as quickly as possible to meet this date. As with the finance condition, in some states this is finalised before the contract is signed and therefore this date may not be applicable.
  • The settlement date – the date on which settlement of the transaction is scheduled to occur.

Contact us today to talk through how we might assist in making your sale or purchase a stress free reality.

Our Team Can Help

02 6331 7666