Buying property is a complex process that results in serious legal implications. When purchasing a property, it's important to familiarise yourself with the conveyancing process so you can appreciate the legal complexities involved with property transfer. While the stages of conveyancing will vary from case to case, there are three main stages: the pre-contract stage, contract to settlement stage, and post-contract stage.
The conveyancing process starts when you express an interest in purchasing a property. You should consult your conveyancer before you approach the seller. Your solicitor will guide you in making an offer based on your goals and plans for the purchase.
Once you place an offer, you'll be required to pay a deposit. Paying a deposit doesn't mean there's a binding contract; it only shows that you're serious about buying the property. The transaction is binding once you sign a contract. You should ensure your conveyancer is involved in the creation and review of the contract of sale.
Contract to Settlement
After you've paid a deposit, your lawyer and the seller's solicitor will exchange contracts. There's a brief cooling-off period within which you can choose to rescind the contract. During this time, your solicitor will investigate the title of the property, perform searches and conduct a survey.
This is also the time when your lawyer arranges for things like stamp duty, mortgage agreements, and inspections. Your solicitor will also make calculations of land tax, water rates and other local council charges. After these considerations, your conveyancer will meet the seller's solicitor to exchange stamp duty forms, transfer documents and all relevant documents. At this stage, you'll be required to pay the remaining balance and other legal fees.
At the post-contract stage, your solicitor will oversee the registration of the property transfer documents. This process involves the removal of caveats on the title and discharging of existing mortgages. After the registration, you become the legal owner of the property.
Your solicitor will notify the relevant government authorities about the change of ownership. This may be the ideal time to pay your conveyancer. The seller will hand over the keys to the property, marking the end of the conveyancing process.
Conveyancing may seem like a simple and straightforward process, but it's crucial to involve a conveyancing solicitor. Many buyers overlook issues in the contract that lead to costly expenses in the future. A solicitor will help you with all the formalities, drafting of the agreement and also ensure all the legal requirements of property transfer are met. Reach out to a professional who practices conveyancing to learn more.