Conveyancing refers to legal work that entails the preparation of the sales contract, mortgage and other documents relevant to this field of law. While it is possible and legal to handle your own land title needs, it is best to get in touch with a qualified solicitor. Basically, it is when the legal title of real property is transferred from one person to another. If you are still somewhat confused, then don’t be alarmed. This area of the law is often very confusing to a lot of people, primarily because there are so many different parts involved.

The process

The conveyancing process involves several important steps. As an outline, these tasks include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Assessing the sale contract
  • Arranging for the building to be inspected (e.g. pest inspections)
  • Examining report from strata inspection
  • Arranging necessary finance (e.g. bridging finance)
  • Exchanging the sale contract
  • Handling the payment of the deposit
  • Validating swimming pool compliance reports (if applicable)
  • Assisting with stamp duty payments
  • Completing any final settlement checks
  • Discerning any new information about illegal building or other information not previously disclosed
  • Attending the settlement

Which laws are applicable?

When it comes to conveyancing law, the sale of land is governed by the jurisdiction in which the land is sold. For example, in New South Wales, state legislation, such as the Conveying (Sale of Land) Regulation 2017 governs the rules relating to the exchange of legal title and property from one party to another. This law is derived from English common law because of our heritage and historical affiliation with the British.

In Australia, most privately-owned land is regulated in accordance with the Torrens system. In line with the Torrens system, the state creates a register of land holdings, which ensures there is conclusive evidence as to the proprietor of land. The system was first introduced in South Australia in the Real Property Act 1858 and the system has since been adopted by many other countries throughout the world, including New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Russia.

Getting legal help

Conveyancer and client shaking hands.

In these matters, it is advised that you hire trained conveyancing lawyers to handle the sale of your property. The reason why doing it yourself can be very risky is because you will be personally liable if there is a serious problem with the sale of the house, even if you believed you followed all the provided instructions. As a result, it’s best to just steer clear of guidance packages and get trained, legal help.

How much will they charge me?

Conveyancing costs vary from solicitor to solicitor. It can be recommended that you scrutinise your fees and clarify any concerns you may have about payment with your solicitor before proceeding. Generally, you will be charged a legal service fee and then you will be charged for other disbursements, such as the following:

  • Mortgage registration
  • Registering the transfer
  • A title search
  • Photocopying
  • Certificate fees
  • Other

What else do I need to know?

If you have decided to do some of the conveyancing work yourself, then you’ll want to do as much research as you can to ensure you don’t miss anything that could make you liable for financial penalties. In New South Wales and Queensland, residential contracts have a 5 day “cooling off” period, which essentially means that the purchaser can reconsider their purchase during this time, and if they change their mind can cancel the contract. In Victoria, the cooling off period is 3 business days, while in South Australia it is only 2. In 2012, the Electronic Conveyancing National Law was introduced, ensuring that all Australian states move to electronic exchanges of land title.