Buying a house is one of the most important contracts to enter into, and you need to ensure that your interests are properly safeguarded. Whilst residential property transactions are usually on standard contracts, and the procedures are mostly routine, it is important that the conveyancing process is carried out in a thorough and systematic manner.
Depending on which state you live in, you have up to three choices in this regard:
- Employ a Solicitor to act for you;
- Use a specialist conveyancer (not an option for residents of Queensland or Tasmania); or
As with most things, you tend to get what you pay for, and the cheapest option is not always the best. The bottom line is that you need someone with the necessary experience to do the job properly should problems arise. Ideally you want a solicitor who works for a specialist conveyancing firm, or a solicitor with considerable conveyancing experience.
Conveyancing usually includes the following tasks:
- review of contract of sale
- review of vendor's statement
- completion and follow up of property searches
- review of requisitions on title
- examination of mortgage documentation
- arranging and attending to settlement
- ensuring proper title to property is obtained
Despite the availability of “Do-it-Yourself” kits, we do not recommend that you complete the conveyancing work yourself unless you are qualified to do so. It is not just a question of reading the contract and doing the searches; it is important that you know how to deal with any unusual problems or circumstances that may arise (sometimes at the eleventh hour!). For example, would you know how best to deal with the following issues if they arose?
- there is an easement shown on the title deed that was not disclosed in the sale contract;
- there is a caveat on the title;
- the neighbour’s garage encroaches on the property you are buying;
- no Council approval has been obtained for the extension;
- the property is noted on the Contaminated Land Register.
It is generally considered that 90% of all conveyances run smoothly, and only 10% are problematic. Unfortunately, you don’t know if yours will be one of the 10%. That is why it is important to get sound legal advice.