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What to look for in a conveyancing transaction?

Lindsay McGregor, Avant Law - Partner, Head of Property

The process of buying a property is known as conveyancing. Whether it be your principle place of residence or a residential or commercial investment, it can be a difficult and stressful experience as there can be a lot of things going on at once. Dealing with the property agent, obtaining finance, obtaining quotes for works that may be required, relocating… it can leave you overwhelmed.

We know doctors love property and we share this passion. The following information will explain some key concepts and identify important issues to look out for when buying real property.

Who is who?

There are usually several parties involved when purchasing property.

First there is the agent. This is the person advertising and showing the property to you. The agent acts for the vendor and any information or statement they provide you must be verified.  

Then there is the vendor (or seller). This is the person who currently owns the property and is disposing of their interest in it.  

Finally there is the purchaser (or buyer) of the property. As the purchaser you must obtain a transfer of the title and become the registered proprietor in order for the conveyance to be complete.  

There may also be lenders, tenants and property managers but we can explain all of this to you.

Location, location, location

Everyone has a favourite suburb or place to in mind when they think of buying property. Once you have identified an area or perhaps the property you want to buy, there are some key things you need to consider.  

What is the current zoning? What developments are going on nearby? Are these likely to increase or decrease the value of this property in the future? Are there any pubs or clubs nearby that might operate late at night? Does your car fit in the garage? How is the phone signal? NBN? Are there proposals in place to install new telecommunications equipment that might interfere with your enjoyment of the property? Are there schools and transport hubs nearby?

We recommend thoroughly researching your preferred location and to visit at different times of the day. Take a look at other FAQ, What searches do I need in a conveyance” where we explain in more detail the searches that can help answer some of these questions.

Reaching agreement

Once you have agreed on a price with the vendor, they will present you with the contract for sale. This is the document that sets out all the terms and special conditions of your purchase.

Before signing the contract for sale please contact us so that we can review it for you and make sure it contains nothing detrimental.

Key terms to consider

There are a number of key terms to consider:

  • Are you buying at auction?  If so, you must make sure you have finance in place and register as a bidder.  Prior to the auction, we can review the contract for you and submit any changes that may be required so that it is ready to be signed should you be the successful bidder.  
  • Do you need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval?  A foreign person must make an application to the Australian Government if it wishes to purchase certain categories of real property in Australia.
  • Are you willing to waive the cooling off period?  Purchasers are entitled to a cooling off period after signing a binding contract for sale.  This benefit can be (and is often waived) as a term of the contract.  Before signing any contract or waiving any cooling off rights, you should contact us first for advice.
  • What size of deposit is required? A 10% deposit is usually required but often this will be reduced to 5% where the parties agree. The deposit is normally held by the agent. We recommend never agreeing to release the deposit to the vendor, particularly where the vendor is a company.
  • What due diligence do you need to do? In NSW there are vendor disclosure obligations that require the vendor to provide you with information about the property. This normally includes any restrictions on title or a copy of any by-laws for example. In Queensland the conveyancing process is very much ‘buyer beware’ so further due diligence is required. You will, at the very least, obtain an independent building and pest report and obtain a strata title or body corporate search. We can help with all these searches. Depending on the nature of the property, further due diligence may be required, for example, reviewing any leases on title or checking warranties for equipment that is included as part of the sale. You may also require specialist tax advice from an accountant.
  • Are there any guarantees required? We recommend not providing personal guarantees to secure the contract performance. If you are guaranteeing or registering a second mortgage against your property for the benefit of a family member, notify your bank well in advance.
  • Check what insurance you need. In Queensland, for example, it is the buyers’ duty to insure the property from the time the contract for sale is signed.
  • Stamp duty - once you have agreed a price, contact us and we can confirm the stamp duty payable.

The Process

Buying a property can be a stressful process, but at Avant Law we have experts in this field who can guide you the entire way. We aim to make things easy for you. We can help with all the points described above and more. We can also help advise on and negotiate a contract on balanced terms that protect your best interests. This will make the settlement process simple and get you, or your proposed tenants, into the property as quickly as possible.

We can help you

If you have any questions, or would like more information about how we can assist you or your practice, please call 1800 867 113, or to organise a confidential discussion at a time that suits you, please click here 

About the author

Lindsay McGregor

Lindsay McGregor is a lawyer and the Head of Property in our Avant Law team. He has been working in property related matters for over 20 years. He was previously a partner at a highly regarded national firm and has considerable experience in property transactions across Australia. He has previously acted for some of the country’s biggest property investors and developers and can use this experience to your advantage.

Disclaimers

The information in this article does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of this content. The information in this article is current to 15 July 2022.  Legal services are provided by Avant Law.  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by Avant Law Pty Limited are members of the scheme. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2024

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