Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of real estate from one party to another, whether it be residential, commercial or rural property, a house, unit or vacant land.
We understand that buying or selling property is a big decision and an important milestone for most people. It is essential you have the help of an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the complex process and ensure your legal rights are protected every step of the way.
We provide fixed-fee conveyancing services and can assist you with:
- Residential and commercial sales and purchases
- Strata, rural and vacant land sales and purchases
- Auction purchases and sales
- Off the plan purchases
- Mortgages and refinancing
- Commercial and retail leasing
- First Home Owners Grants
- Property developments
- Property division
Buying a home can be stressful and property will likely be the most expensive asset you will acquire, so it’s vital that you seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law and who knows the area.
In Queensland, the usual process when buying property is to make an offer to the real estate agent who showed you the property, who will then provide a standard form of contract containing details of your offer. They will require you to execute this offer with the intention of presenting it to the seller. If the seller executes the contract with no changes a contract is formed.
You should always have the written offer you present reviewed by a lawyer prior to executing it as once accepted, you are bound by the terms.
If you intend to buy at auction, you should contact a solicitor prior to bidding and signing a contract as there is no cooling off period for auction sales.
Your local lawyer will be aware of any pitfalls regarding your purchase and may recommend including additional special conditions and review any existing conditions to ensure your interests are protected. Often, special conditions are drafted by parties with no legal experience, leading to potential disputes.
Once the contract conditions are satisfied the contract will then be ready for settlement.
Preparing for settlement
After the contract has become binding, your lawyer/conveyancer has a number of tasks to perform including:
- Arranging payment of stamp duty
- Liaising with the lender regarding the mortgage
- Checking with various government authorities to see if they have a vested interest in the property
- Checking to see if there are any outstanding debts to local council
- Calculating adjustments for council, water, and strata rates
- Making final checks on the title
Traditionally, on settlement day your lawyer/conveyancer met with the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer and any lenders, and the funds were handed over in exchange for the title and the keys to the property. With the introduction of electronic conveyancing, most settlements now take place on-line.
Selling a property
The decision to sell a property, whether a family home or an investment, is a big one and we understand can be a stressful time.
When selling residential property, you must ensure that a compliant contract for sale of land is prepared setting out the terms of the sale. Certain disclosures must be made in the contract, which is usually prepared by the real estate agent, however our conveyancing team can review this to ensure your obligations are met and explain your position as a seller.
Preparing for settlement
After a buyer’s offer is accepted, the contract is signed by the seller. The deposit is usually paid to the agent and held in a trust account. The contract may be subject to conditions such as finance approval or building and pest inspection reports. Once these conditions are satisfied and any cooling-off periods have expired, the contract becomes binding, and the buyer is obliged to complete the purchase.
Leading up to settlement, your lawyer/conveyancer carries out various tasks to ensure the sale is completed as efficiently as possible. These include:
- if there is a mortgage, providing the correct form to notify your lender to prepare for the mortgage to be released at settlement;
- liaising with the agent to confirm the amount of deposit held;
- liaising with the buyer’s lawyer to ensure that their legal obligations are met;
- handling enquiries from the agent/buyer’s lawyer regarding the property;
- checking transfer documents and witnessing signatures;
- checking settlement figures prepared by the buyer’s lawyer;
- confirming the balance of loan with the lender;
- preparing for and attending settlement.
Conveyancing involves an intricate knowledge of property law and an understanding of all the processes involved from contract review through to completion. The complexity of such transactions is often under-estimated and while most matters proceed without issue, there are some that do not.
Signing a contract to buy or sell property creates binding legal obligations with significant legal ramifications if the terms of the agreement are not met. It is essential to understand your legal position before entering such a transaction.
All our conveyancing work is carried out by experienced lawyers/paralegals who have years of experience in conveyancing in Queensland. Our clients include first home buyers, property developers, real estate agents, banks, mortgage brokers and surveyors.