Conveyancing is not well understood by most people, unless they are buying and selling properties regularly. Here are some of the home buyer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that are common:
When is the right time to talk to a conveyancer?
Believe it or not, but the earlier you engage your conveyancer, the more you will benefit from advice and experience that can really help transactions avoid the many pitfalls that each property sale faces.
We are often engaged after problems occur, to help sort out the legal issues involved, which could have easily been avoided if we were engaged from the start.
What questions should I ask my conveyancer?
One of the most important things you can ask your conveyancer to explain is what they can and CANNOT do for you.
We think you’ll be surprised by how many aspects of a sale we can support you through.
Furthermore, we encourage you to share with us anything that might possibly affect you meeting your obligations in a transaction.
These might relate to funding arrangements, time pressures or even family issues.
It is better to ask up front, than find out the consequences later.
What should I do before I sign the contract?
It is a prudent move to seek your conveyancer’s advice before you sign a contract.
As your conveyancer, we can provide you with advice about what your contract means.
We can also provide advice as to whether any special conditions in your contract give you sufficient protection.
We can provide you with advice about the things that you should check or organise before you sign the contract such as:
- Measuring the boundary of the property to check that the fences are on the boundary to avoid ugly disagreements with new neighbours in future
- Looking over the title search for the property and making enquiries with the real estate agent or the seller about any encumbrances like caveats that might cause delays
- Checking the property carefully to make sure that you are happy with its current condition and if not, making sure that the contract includes a special condition that requires the rectification of your specific concern before settlement can occur
- Getting your insurance organised
- Arranging a full building inspection and making sure that the contract gives you and you only, the right to terminate the contract if you are not satisfied with the building inspection
What do I do after I sign the contract?
Signing the contract is not the end of the story.
As a buyer, you have a contractual duty to get busy working on your obligations. Time is of the essence.
Subject to finance – If your contract is subject to finance, then you must immediately contact your financier after signing your contract and do everything necessary to try to obtain the finance that you require. If you do not do this, you could be in breach of your contract.
Building inspection – If your contract is subject to a building inspection being obtained, then you are required to arrange this promptly and to consider it promptly. If you have any questions or concerns about the inspection report, then you should investigate those concerns as soon as you can. Once you have had the opportunity to do that, you must advise the real estate agent and your conveyancer without delay.
Quotes for rectification work – If the building inspection identifies some work that will be required to the property if you buy it, and you decide to proceed with the purchase anyway, then you should get quotes for the cost of any remedial work as soon as you can, because your best option might be to increase the funds that you are borrowing to finance this work.
Arrange the removalist – If you are moving into the property that you are buying, then you may need to arrange a removalist to help you. It is worth considering booking the removalist for two or three days after settlement, just in case the settlement does not happen on time for a reason outside of our control such as the Seller failing to comply with completing rectification works prior to the settlement date in the contract.
Can I move in before settlement?
You can move in before settlement if the Seller gives their consent. We can prepare a licence agreement between you and the Seller which sets out the terms of you moving in before settlement. These terms can sometimes include you paying rent for the period in which you live in the property prior to settlement.
Although sometimes there are good reasons why you might want to move in before settlement, we generally recommend that people avoid doing so as it can be very difficult if the transaction falls through for reasons outside of our control. This could happen for example if the Seller died before the transaction was completed.
When and where does settlement happen and do I have to be there?
Settlement usually occurs at the Lands Titles Office in Adelaide between 11am and 12pm on the day set for settlement.
We meet with a representative of your bank if you are obtaining finance and with a representative of the Seller and we exchange the necessary documents and funds required to complete settlement.
On the settlement day, you just need to wait for our telephone call early in the afternoon to let you know that settlement has been completed and you can go and collect the keys from the real estate agent.
What if something goes wrong?
Things can go wrong with a conveyancing transaction for reasons that are outside your control or our control. This could include the death of the Seller, the Seller failing to conduct rectification work to the property by the date required by the contract or the Seller failing to declare everything about the property that they should on their Form 1.
If anything goes wrong, we have our legal team ready to provide you with immediate legal attention when you need it. This prompt attention to your matter can make all the difference.
What costs will I incur when buying a property?
There are many facets to each transaction, and our Registered Conveyancer is ready to guide you through them.
However, here is a short summary of the most common expenses:
- Bank fees including application fees and mortgage fees and charges
- Stamp Duty
- Lands Titles Office Registration Fees
- Search costs – for title searches, Council searches, SA Water searches and Emergency Services Levy searches
- Pro rata rates and taxes for the period that you will own the property
- Conveyancing fees and disbursements
- Moving costs – which could include the cost of a removalist, the cost of cleaning your previous property (such as cleaning carpets) and the cost of hiring any equipment required such as a trailer.
Each transaction is unique, so start chatting with us sooner rather than later to get a handle on the likely costs and expenses you’ll incur.