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Buying residential property

Do I need a lawyer when buying a residential property?

You should consider seeking the assistance of a conveyancing lawyer when you are looking to purchase a residential property.

This is because a conveyancing lawyer can assist you with completing each stage of the process in purchasing a residential property. A conveyancing lawyer can provide assistance by reviewing contracts, negotiating with the seller, assisting you in property disputes and can also provide you with advice regarding issues in other areas of law.

Purchasing a residential property can be stressful and confusing, a conveyancing lawyer’s professionalism and expertise can assist in alleviating this stress and confusion.

The Process of Buying a Residential Property

A conveyancing lawyer can provide you with assistance and advice through the major stages of buying a residential property. The process of conveyancing typically takes 6 weeks to complete, but this length can be shortened or extended. The process of buying a residential property can be understood through reference to four main stages of the conveyancing process.

1. Preparing for Purchase

Before you purchase a residential property, there are various things that should be considered.

Firstly, you should have the contract for sale of the property reviewed by a conveyancing lawyer. By reviewing the contract, a conveyancing lawyer can ensure that you understand all of the rights and obligations that arise under the contract. In addition, a lawyer can advise you in relation to whether there are any problematic terms in the contract. A conveyancing lawyer can then help you negotiate amendments to the contract according to your instructions. Doing this also mitigates the potential for future disputes between the parties to the contract.

Secondly, if you need a loan in order to purchase a residential property you should seek to have it pre-approved. Obtaining pre-approval on a loan is essential to making sure your purchase of the property goes smoothly. In addition, prior to purchase of the property you should prepare to pay the other costs that are associated with the purchase of property such as transfer duty.

Thirdly, you should consider having the property inspected for structural defects or pests. Our conveyancing lawyers can help you organize building and pest inspections.

2. Exchange of contracts

During the exchange of contracts, both parties will come to an agreement regarding the purchase of the residential property. Once the relevant contracts are signed by both parties, they will be bound by their terms. Following the exchange of contracts, the deposit on the property will become payable.

After the contracts are exchanged and signed, you typically will be allowed a cooling off period. This is usually 5 business days, unless otherwise provided by the contract, during which the purchaser has the right to withdraw from the contract.

Please note that if you have purchased a residential property at auction, there will be no colling off period.

3. Preparing for settlement

Prior to settlement a conveyancing lawyer can assist you by making various inquiries in relation to the residential property. For example, this may include determining whether the property is heritage listed or whether there is existing money owing on the land.

A conveyancing lawyer can also assist you in preparing relevant loan documentation.

You also must pay the transfer duty on the property, which must be paid on or prior to settlement.

Prior to settlement you may also wish to make a final inspection of the property being purchased in order to ascertain whether the property is damaged.

4. Settlement

Settlement is the final step in the conveyancing process.

Upon settlement you will become the owner of the residential property you have purchased.

It is now common for settlements to be completed electronically.

A conveyancing lawyer can assist you in negotiating a simultaneous settlement. A ‘simultaneous settlement’ refers to situations where the sale and purchase of property occur at the same time.

A conveyancing lawyer can then assist you with lodging the relevant documentation relating to the transfer of property in the NSW Land Registry Services.

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert property and conveyancing lawyers can provide you with advice and assistance in relation to the entire process of purchasing a residential property.

For more information on the process of purchasing a residential property, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

What can I do if the contract has been breached?

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert property lawyers can provide you with assistance in relation to circumstances where a party has breached a contract for the sale of property prior to settlement.

Our lawyers can assist you with resolving a dispute and enforcing the contract through alternative dispute resolution. Resolving a dispute arising from a breach of contract outside of court can save both parties money and time.

Alternatively, our lawyers can commence legal proceedings against a party who has breached a contract and seek either compensation for the breach or seek to have the contract performed.

For more information on the consequences of breaching a contract for the sale of property, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.

Why BSM Lawyers?

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert conveyancing lawyers are experienced property and conveyancing lawyers.
Our team of conveyancing lawyers can assist you in all your conveyancing matters and appreciate the importance of property transactions to our clients.

This is why our conveyancing lawyers strive to provide you with efficient and personable services.

Our lawyers are experienced with various kinds of title including Torrens and Old System title.

Most importantly, our conveyancing lawyers understand the anxiety and stress that property matters can bring about in out clients. Our conveyancing lawyers work diligently to alleviate this stress and anxiety by keeping you well informed throughout your property matter and explaining to you each stage of your property matter in clear and simple English.

We provide a fixed fee professional conveyancing service provided by lawyers. We do not use conveyancers.

For more information on Brander Smith McKnight’s conveyancing and property services, you can contact us on 02 8539 7475.

Brander Smith McKnight has offices conveniently located in Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong, and Sydney CBD.

FAQs

chevronWhy is it important to have my contract reviewed by a lawyer when buying a residential property?

When buying a residential property, you may want to consider having the contract of sale reviewed by a property and conveyancing lawyer. By reviewing your contract, a conveyancing lawyer can ensure that you understand all of the rights and obligations that arise under the contract. In addition, a lawyer can advise you in relation to whether there are any problematic terms to your contract. We can then negotiate amendments to your contract according to your instructions. Doing this also mitigates the potential for future disputes between the parties to the contract.

chevronDo I need a lawyers help when buying a residential property?

You can do your own conveyancing, but it may not be a wise to do so.

The process of conveyancing is complex, time consuming and can be very stressful for people without experience with conveyancing.

This is why you should consider having a conveyancing lawyer assist you in order to avoid having to deal with these issues.

Before deciding whether to do your own conveyancing you should consider seeking legal advice.

chevronWhat happens if I do not pay my transfer duty on time?

If you fail to pay transfer duty on time you will receive a penalty.
The amount of transfer duty that you will need to pay is dependent on the characteristics of the property you buy.

Transfer duty was once known as stamp duty.

To avoid penalisation, it is important that you pay transfer duty on time.

chevronWhat costs arise in relation to the buying of a residential property?

Before buying a property, it is important to be aware of the various costs that may arise throughout the transactions, these costs include, but are not limited to:

The purchase price of the property

  • Stamp duty
  • Title search fees
  • Lawyer fees
  • Fees associated with mortgage and loan documents
  • Registration fees
  • Insurance
  • Removalists fees
  • Property inspections

chevronCan I buy a residential property that is not built yet?

Yes, this is known as buying ‘off-the-plan’ property, ‘off-the-plan’ property refers to property that does not exist yet.

chevronWhat is a cooling off period?

In NSW, a cooling off period is a period of time that commences after the making of a contract for the sale of certain kinds of property.

During the cooling off period the purchaser can decide to rescind their contract for the purchase of a property.
The length of a cooling off period is set under law by default but a shorter or longer cooling off period can be negotiated in your contract for the sale of property.

chevronWhat is the Transfer?

The Transfer is a legal document that swaps the ownership of property from one party to another. A property and conveyancing lawyer can prepare this document for you.

chevronWhat if I cannot settle on time?

If you cannot settle on time, you may want to request an extension of time.

You are not guaranteed an extension of time.

It is best to avoid not settling on time by setting an appropriate date of settlement in your contract.

A conveyancing lawyer can assist you negotiating an appropriate date for settlement.

chevronIf I am looking to purchase a residential property at auction, should I have a lawyer review the contract of sale prior to the auction?

You should consider having a lawyer review a contract of sale for a residential property before bidding at an auction. This is because there is no cooling off period for properties purchased at auction and you will be bound to the terms of the contract immediately.

By having a conveyancing lawyer review a contract prior to bidding at an auction you will be afforded valuable knowledge as to your potential rights and obligations under the contract. In addition, a conveyancing lawyer can negotiate the terms of the contract on your behalf prior to the auction.

chevronWhat are special conditions in a contract of sale?

Special conditions in a contract of sale refers to terms agreed between the parties to the contract that must be satisfied or waived before the contract can be settled.

chevronWhat is a Certificate of Title?

A Certificate of Title is a document that provides evidence of an interest in property.

A Certificate of Title provides various details regarding property, including who owns the property, the boundaries of the property and any mortgage on the property.

chevronWhy should I use a lawyer and not a conveyancer when buying a residential property?

Property lawyers and conveyancers are not the same. You should use a property lawyer to assist you when buying a residential property.

A property lawyer is a lawyer who can provide you not only with assistance in relation to conveyancing, but also with other legal issues you may have. This is because property lawyers also typically practice in other areas of law. For example, our property lawyers can also provide you with commercial and contract law advice and assistance. In addition, property and conveyancing lawyers can identify other legal issues outside of the area of property law as they arise in your matter and provide you with advice and assistance accordingly. Therefore, knowing that a property lawyer can assist you with handling complex legal issues can give you a level of confidence that cannot be provided by a conveyancer alone.

A conveyancer is only permitted to practice and assist people with conveyancing. As such, conveyancers only specialise in the sale, purchase, transfer and leasing of property. Thus, conveyancers are limited in their ability to provide clients with advice in relation to legal issues outside of conveyancing. At Brander Smith McKnight we do not use conveyancers.

chevronWhy should I obtain inspection reports if I am buying a residential property?

Whilst it is not compulsory to have a prospective property inspected before you purchase it, it may be advisable to do so. This is because if the property has pests or building defects you will not be protected following the transfer of the property. Obtaining inspection reports regarding a residential property you intend to purchase can assist you in avoiding these problems. A property and conveyancing lawyer can assist you in organising these inspections of a residential property you intend to purchase.

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