Conveyancing refers to the process through which title of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
A typical transaction will involve three stages:
- Before contract
- Before settlement
- After settlement
Most of our work as conveyancing lawyers is done in the second stage, but there are still important steps to be taken in the first and third stages and in during which we can assist.
It is important to know that the conveyancing process varies from state to state. The information on our website only relates to conveyancing as it is conducted in Queensland.
An Overview of the Conveyancing Process
In Queensland, the conveyancing process is usually as follows:
- The parties negotiate and sign a contract for the sale of a property. In most cases this will involve a real estate agent that has been retained by the seller. In some cases it may involve a buyers agent as well who assists the buyer.
- Each party retains a lawyers to handle the conveyancing process on their behalf. Although it is possible to self-act, the process is complicated and you are best protected by securing the services of a law firm with specialist conveyancing lawyers.
- The lawyers for the buyer will conduct searches on the property to ascertain whether there are any matters affecting the property which may concern the buyer. If there are any adverse findings, the buyer may have rights against the seller or be able to terminate the contract.
- In the meantime, the buyer, if obtaining finance, will also need to liaise with their bank in order to complete their finance application. If the contract is subject to finance, then the buyer will be eagerly waiting on the bank’s approval of their finance application.
- If the contract provides, the buyer may also obtain a building and pest inspection of the property to ensure any structure on the land has no significant defects. Depending on the contract, if defects are identified, the buyer may have a right to terminate.
- The parties’ lawyers will prepare and exchange the formal documents that will change the title once lodged and also liaise with their respective banks over finance required by the buyer and any release of mortgage required by the seller.
- The buyer’s lawyer will ensure that the correct amount of stamp duty (now called transfer duty) is paid by the buyer.
- The parties’ lawyers will attend settlement to exchange the purchase price (less any deposit paid by the buyer) for the documents to change the title.
- The documentation to transfer the title will then be lodged with the Land Titles Registry and within a few days, the title will be updated to reflect the new owner.
Each of these steps has many parts within it and there are numerous legal considerations and conventions that are followed in carrying out the process. Importantly, by engaging a specialist conveyancing lawyer who knows how conveyancing works, you hand over much of this responsibility to a professional who can handle it for you.