In many ways, buying a house is even more complicated than selling one. After all, rather than trying to find someone to take a property off your hands, you are looking to take physical and financial responsibility for somewhere you have never lived before. While the current owner should disclose all relevant information, good and bad, the onus is ultimately on you as the buyer to ensure that you fully understand what you are getting into. Then, of course, there are the concerns everyone knows about like getting financing, reviewing the contract, and finally changing the registered owner on the title. The sheer number of complex tasks required to buy a house is one of the reasons there are so many specialised professionals you can hire to lend a hand.
Your Real Estate Retinue
Many people in Australia hire the full retinue of professional assistance from the real estate agent to find the right house to the conveyancer to ensure that the final transfer goes over a smoothly. However, knowing when to hire each professional for the best possible results can be challenging, especially if this is your first time buying property. The conveyancer, for instance, is often thought to be someone you hire at the end of the process but it’s also quite common to ask your conveyancer to help with the investigation and negotiation phases of the buying process as well. As someone planning on buying a home in the near future, it’s important to understand how to build your real estate support team to ensure that you both find the perfect property and successfully navigate the complex financial and legal obstacle course of property acquisition. Hiring your conveyancer at the right time is a big part this process
What Exactly Is a Conveyancer?
If you don’t know exactly what a conveyancer is or does offer the top of your head, that’s okay, not a lot of people do. Most understand that it has something to do with real estate and titles but not the precise details. A conveyancer is someone who is intimately familiar with the complex laws of Australian real estate. Conveyancers don’t have to be solicitors, but it makes their job easier and many come from legal backgrounds in order to help home buyers and sellers with the legal side of real estate. Those who are not solicitors often have contacts who are.
As for what they can do for you, a conveyancer is there to ensure that your home purchase is completely above board, arranged in your favour, and can be legally completed. You might be surprised to discover just how many ways a property sale can go wrong. The first duty of a conveyancer is to check the status of the title, allowing them to ensure that it belongs to the person selling and that there are no undisclosed problems with the property like liens, easements, use limitations, or subdivision. They can also put your deposit in a trust account to keep it safe, calculate rates and taxes based on local laws, review the contract for clarity and fairness, and represent your interests in negotiations.
When to Hire a Conveyancer
When you hire a conveyancer depends on you, the specific property deal, and how early you want the information they can provide. On one hand, many people think of the conveyancer as an end of deal professional, someone who can smooth over the final sale procedures. However, the information on the title they can provide is also an important part of determining if a property is even viable to consider. If there is something wrong with the title that makes the property unsuitable for your plans, you will want to know that before spending any time or money on negotiations.
The best time to get your conveyancer involved is actually about when you’re ready to hire an inspector, as they serve a very similar purpose. Once you find a home or property that you really like, can afford and think has potential as your future residence, it’s time to discover more about it. The inspector will tell you the true physical state of the house like the quality of the pipes and foundation while the conveyancer can tell you the true legal state of the house like if it is owned free and clear or if there are building restrictions that would clash with your plans.
Transfering the Title
If a house passes the inspection and title investigation phase, this means that it is both structurally sound and legally acceptable. Then you enter the negotiation phase in which you and the owner settle on a price and sign the contract. Your conveyancer can help here too by reviewing the contract to ensure that it comes out in your favour and representing you in negotiations on house price and contract terms. When all this is finished, hands are shaken, and papers are signed, the conveyancers (both yours and the sellers) have one final task: transferring the title. This complex legal process is the number one reason you hired a conveyancer in the first place so that when you’re done, the land will be legally yours by way of your mortgage and completely out of the hands of the previous owner.
Conveyancing is a complex set of real estate legal tasks and it’s in your best interest to hire a professional who can guide you through this process. From investigation to negotiation to the final title transfer, your conveyancer is your partner and advocate while you are buying your new home.
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Want to learn more about conveyancing? Download our free conveyancing guide here.