Buying property can be a stressful, confusing challenge that is filled with loopholes, rules, and regulations you may not quite understand. If you do something incorrectly, you could lose the sale and it could cost a lot of moneyor worse, you could lose your dream home.  

This is why using the services of a property conveyancer is necessary when selling or purchasing property in Australia. But what is a property conveyancer and how can they help when you’re navigating the property-buying maze?

Property Conveyancers act as advocates for buyers as well as sellers. They help navigate the title transfer process and settlement, then verify all legal obligations are met and fulfilled in the Contract of Sale. The property conveyancer also prepares all legal documents and ensures both the buyer and the seller understand their obligations. By making sure everyone understands the process, this protects everyone from any later conflicts.

Most states require that the parties use a property conveyancer during the property sale process. Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales require the seller to hire a property conveyancer prior to putting their property on the market; however, in Western Australia and in Queensland, when an offer is accepted, a property conveyancer is required. 

So, whether you are the property buyer or the seller, a conveyancer will be able to conduct any searches or inquiries and let all parties know of outstanding issues that need attention.

Prior to hiring a conveyancer, it’s important to research their qualifications and verify they can legally represent the parties. He or she should be licensed or registered in the same state where the property is located and should carry professional indemnity insurance. You should also ask for and contact his or her references. 

Additionally, you may want to clarify the charges and fees the conveyancer bills you, as well as who (buyer or seller) is responsible for those costs. Making sure that everything is agreed upon in writing will make the process much smoother.

 Questions that the buyer or seller should make clear are:

  • What are the qualifications of the property conveyancer?
  • How many years of experience does the conveyancer have?
  • What are the fees and charges and the maximum amount to be paid?
  • What services are included in the cost?
  • What are the additional services and their cost?
  • How long will the process take?
  • What are any government or local fees and charges that are required to be paid?
  • What is their process for communicating the progress of the sale?

Although property conveyancers are responsible for much of the legal paperwork involved in the property sale, it is also incumbent upon the buyer to make wise buying decisions. Things to look for prior to and upon final purchase are:

  • What charges or encumbrances are on the property and how will these be handled?
  • What appliances are included in the sale and are they in good working condition?
  • What is included in the sale?  (ie TV antennas, alarm systems, security cameras)
  • Is the plumbing and electrical wiring in proper working order?
  • Is a final inspection allowed prior to settlement?
  • Does the purchase price include GST?

How do you locate a trustworthy, reliable property conveyancer? It can be as easy as searching online for a reputable firm that handles property sales, then contacting that firm to make an appointment. You can also ask friends or family members for recommendations. 

Although there are no hard and fast rules when hiring a licensed and registered property conveyancer, purchasing or selling a property is not something that should be left up to chance. Doing your due diligence by checking references and making sure everything is properly agreed upon will help your sale go smoothly.   

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