March 1, 2017

Frequently Asked Conveyancing Questions – Part 2

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the commonly used description for the transfer of legal ownership of a property from one party to another.

Lawyers set out to make the legal side of conveyancing as efficient and hassle-free as possible.

If you are intending to sell your property then the process will generally start with you contacting a Real Estate Agent. Once the Agent has a Buyer for your property and then there will generally be negotiations as to the sale price and the terms and conditions of the sale.

Lawyers can assist during the negotiation phase of the sale, but this will be a matter for you. It is always wise to have a lawyer check the contract before you sign it.

If you are buying a property, then again lawyers can help during the negotiation phase and the contract preparation stage. This is a matter for you, but the terms and special conditions which are set out in the contract are in effect the rules which will govern the purchase of the property.

Lawyers in Queensland generally follow the Queensland Conveyancing Protocol. This is a very structured approach to the process but it has all been designed to protect the interests of the parties to a property sale and purchase.

Why should I use a Lawyer to do my Conveyancing?

Let’s put it this way. If you needed a surgical operation would you ask your motor mechanic to do the surgical operation? The answer is quite straightforward really.

So you’re about to make one of the biggest financial transactions of your life and you need to trust the deal to a trained professional.

With fixed fees which are always competitive, it is just plain bad business not to trust your transaction to a lawyer.

Attempting to save a few hundred dollars might pale into insignificance if a rates adjustment is messed up, there is a delay in settlement and penalty interest applies and the list goes on.

The saying ‘penny wise pound foolish’ has never been more appropriate.

Lawyers see this kind of behaviour on a regular basis. It’s not smart and it’s not a good look. Be wise and always engage a lawyer to look after your interests.

What is the real difference between Conveyancing Quotes?

Buyers and Sellers have to work through a maze of issues, not the least being which lawyer should they engage, what will be their costs for the purchase or sale and what are the add-ons?

So, the savvy Buyer or Seller decides to call a lawyer or go to the lawyer’s web page. But is this really a savvy approach?

Remember, quotes are not often complete quotes and you need to make sure that nothing is left out. Reputable lawyers will tell you of all of the charges and costs that will apply to the sale or purchase.

So let’s deal with the issues which might confront a Buyer or Seller.

A Buyer will want to know:

  • The costs of searches
  • Stamp Duty charges and any possible concessions which might apply
  • Sundry charges [such as titles office fees, search fees and the like]
  • Legal fees [the lawyer’s professional fee]

If the Buyer is correctly advised, then generally the only variant will be the legal fees to be charged by the lawyer. Sundry charges might vary but probably not in any substantial way.

Stamp Duty is discussed later but it is a tax set by the State Government and is not negotiable. The only benefit a Buyer might get will be if there are concessions available. These will be discussed later.

Lawyers will probably quote different values for search fees. Always remember that making proper search enquiries will underpin the purchase. Skimping and being underquoted on search fees does not necessarily work in favour of a Buyer. Saving a few dollars might well work against a Buyer if there is an issue with the title of the property being bought.

A Seller will want to know:

  • The costs of searches
  • Sundry charges
  • Legal fees [that is the lawyer’s professional fee]

More or less the same considerations apply for the Seller as they do for the Buyer with the general exception being that there will not be any stamp duty to be taken into account.

Searches will generally be much reduced for a Seller but it will be necessary to find out if a Seller has a mortgage or other charge on the property. These searches need to be done to make sure that the sale settles on time and that there are no unforseen events which are likely to delay the settlement.

What are the legal terms for Buyer and Seller?

Most contracts which deal with the sale and purchase of land now make reference to Seller and Buyer.

Previously terms such as Vendor and Purchaser applied but lawyers now tend to use the more modern terms of Seller and Buyer.

Check out more Frequently Asked Questions About Conveyancing – Part 1 for more answers.