Selling or Buying a property can be super confusing. To help navigate the minefield, check out these FAQs...
Frequently Asked Questions
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another. If you want to buy or sell a home, land or investment property you’ll have to sign a contract. The legal work involved in preparing the sales contract, mortgage and other related documents, is called conveyancing.
What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?
Conveyancers are specialists who are educated and qualified to provide expert advice specifically in relation to matters of conveyancing and property law. Conveyancers do not handle other legal matters such as wills, divorces, family law and criminal matters. This means that we don’t get distracted by other matters and our attention is purely on the sale or purchase of your property.
Why should I choose a conveyancer?
Conveyancers are experts. Conveyancers are qualified practitioners who specialise in the legal aspects of buying and selling real estate. They are educated and qualified to provide expert advice in relation to matters of conveyancing and property law
Conveyancers are focused. A licensed conveyancer is solely focused on property transactions and will not be distracted by other legal matters.
Conveyancers are insured. Conveyancers are required to carry professional indemnity and fidelity insurance. In the unlikely event of an error or omission, clients can be assured that they are completely covered.
Do I need a solicitor as well?
No. We are able to look after all the legal matters in relation to your property transaction.
When should I contact a conveyancer?
The earlier you contact us, the better. If you’re planning on selling your home, you’ll need to speak to us before you can put your house on the market, so we can prepare the contract. If you’re buying, it is recommended that you contact us as soon as you’ve seen a property that you’re interested in. Request a contract from the real estate agent and either email it to us or submit it online here and we will review it for you for free!
How much does it cost?
Our conveyancing fees are very competitive. Please call us on (02) 9429 0000 so that we can discuss your individual requirements and give you an obligation-free quote. We will also advise on any additional costs that you may need to take into account, such as building and pest inspections or strata reports.
How long does conveyancing take?
The standard settlement period is 4 - 6 weeks after contracts have been exchanged. However, settlement terms can be negotiated by the buyer and seller prior to signing the contract. If you are both happy to settle within a week or two, we can certainly ensure that we have everything ready to make that happen.
Can I do conveyancing myself?
It is possible, but it certainly isn’t recommended. We understand that when you’re spending so much money buying or selling a property, you might be looking for ways to save money elsewhere. However, a small mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars. You need to use an experienced conveyancer who knows what to look for, and also carries insurance to cover you (in the unlikely event of an oversight). If you ‘do it yourself’ and make a mistake, then you are fully responsible and will not be able to get financial compensation. It’s just not worth the risk!
What happens if my conveyancer makes a mistake?
All licensed conveyancers are required to have professional indemnity insurance. This insurance provides you with cover in the unlikely event that we make an error that results in a cost to you. Conveyancers are licensed by the NSW Department of Fair Trading and are responsible to them in relation to matters of conduct and propriety.
What is a contract of sale and why do I need one?
Legally a real estate agent is required to hold a copy of the Contract for Sale before showing any potential purchaser(s) through the property. A contract outlines all the details of the property and exactly what is included with the property (dishwashers, window treatments etc.). There are also number of documents that are required (by law) to be included in a Contract for Sale. To start drafting a contract of sale all we need is the property address and we can begin the process for you.
What is the difference between buying a property at auction or a property that is “for sale" by private treaty?
If you buy a property at auction you are required to exchange contracts and pay the deposit right there and then. It is advised that purchasers who are really interested in buying a property at auction have all the necessary searches (building & pest, strata etc.) on the property carried out prior to the auction as there is no cooling of period.
Buying a property that is "for sale" by private treaty is where interested purchasers make a formal offer to the real estate agent. This is then either rejected and another offer can be put on the table, or accepted and contracts are exchanged with a cooling off period.
Who do I pay the deposit to?
Generally the deposit is payable by personal or bank cheque to the real estate agent. However there are some exceptions, so once the Contract of Sale has been reviewed, we can advise you as to who the deposit would otherwise be paid to.
What is the cooling off period and how does it affect me?
A cooling period gives the purchaser the right to cancel the agreement within 5 working days. It gives the purchaser some protection if contracts have been exchanged quickly and gives the purchaser time to finalise financial arrangements, undertake pre-purchase inspections or carry out title searches.
Cancelling the agreement (also known as rescinding the contract) will cost the purchaser 0.25% of the total purchase price (on a property costing $1,000,000 this would be $2,500). The cooling off period does not always apply and can be waived by providing a 66W certificate which is signed by the conveyancer who has explained to his or her client the implications involved with waiving the cooling off period. Cooling off periods do not apply at auctions.
What is a disbursement?
A disbursement is the name given to expenses incurred during the conveyancing process and may include (but not limited to) building inspections, strata reports, government searches, sundries, settlement fees, title searches etc. Disbursements are expenses that are separate to your conveyancing fee and are expenses that vary depending on the property you are selling / purchasing.
What happens at settlement time?
Settlement is the finalisation of the sale or purchase process. There are usually four parties involved – the seller's and buyer' s conveyancers and the financial institution (if any) for each party. On settlement, the buyer’s bank will exchange cheques as per the instructions of the seller’s conveyancer and in return receive the Certificate of Title and a number of other documents from the seller’s bank for registration. It is not necessary for you, as the buyer or seller, to attend the settlement.
Who notifies the authorities that I have purchased a property?
After settlement your transfer papers are lodged for registration at the Land Titles Office. The Land Titles Office will notify the local Council, Sydney Water and the Valuer General of your purchase. Other service providers such as electricity, gas and telephone etc need to be notified by you, the purchaser.
When do I collect the keys?
Usually the keys are collected from the real estate agent once we have notified your agent that settlement has been completed..
What happens if either party cannot settle on the due date?
If the vendor (person selling the property) can not settle on the due date, the purchaser can issue a ‘Notice to Complete’ which means the vendor has 14 days (including weekends and public holidays) to settle the matter. If left unsettled, the purchaser has the right to terminate the contract and is eligible to receive their deposit back. The purchaser may also apply to the Court to have the vendor complete the agreement and hand over possession.
If the purchaser can not settle on time, the vendor is entitled to charge the purchaser interest for the number of days settlement is delayed. The contract usually stipulates the applicable interest rate. In this case, when the ‘Notice to Complete’ is issued, the vendor may terminate the contract and keep the deposit, and can legally place the property back on the market to sell.