Useful Information & Links


Getting accurate information can be difficult, that's why we've got it all here in one place. The Conveyancing Guide below covers all the essential information you need to know before having us undertake conveyancing for you. To the right you will find links to useful resources to make your life easier.


Conveyancing Guide

 What is Conveyancing, and why is it necessary?

Conveyancing is a legal term which refers to the transfer of the legal title to a real property from one party to another. A mortgage or lien can also be transferred in this manner. When the time comes in the selling process to transfer this title, most sellers choose to work with a conveyancer like Safe as Houses Conveyancing who have the experience and specialised knowledge necessary to help navigate the specific council regulations, laws, and processes.

Many small details are involved in property transfers, but it is at heart a legal transaction. Conveyancing is an important part of any real estate transaction, involving the transfer of a title from the vendor to the buyer.

 Conveyancing Terminology

Whether you are in the preliminary stages of a real estate transaction or have already started the conveyancing process, you may not be familiar with the legal terminology used. Safe as Houses Conveyancing can help explain these terms to you.

It’s important to ask questions as you proceed with the conveyancing process, to help gain a greater understanding of your rights and how the process works. One source of information is your real estate agent, who may be involved in preparing the Contract of Sale. This is an example of a time when it’s important to clarify any terms you don’t understand, so that you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign this contract. It’s a good idea to choose a real estate agent who you feel comfortable discussing these terms with.

You should also be able to ask your conveyancer for clarification if you don’t understand any legal terms which appear in the contract or other legal conveyancing documents. It’s important to remember that this is part of the reason why most people hire conveyancers. The following are a few common legal terms used during the conveyancing process:

 Contract of Sale

This document is required in order to list the property for sale. It is prepared by the seller’s conveyancer or solicitor and lays out all of the property details, including the title particulars, current ownership, council zoning, etc, and terms upon which the Vendor is proposing to sell.

Once a price is negotiated the Contract is amended to include the purchaser’s details and price agreed. Copies of the Contract in this form are considered by both parties and any further negotiations entered into, such as inclusions or settlement period. Once all parties are satisfied with the terms of the contract, each party will sign their copy in readiness for exchange and a deposit is paid.

 Exchange of Contracts

Representatives for the seller and the purchaser meet to go through the respective Contracts and ensure that both copies are in identical form. If so, the Contracts are physical exchanged, and dated. Subject to any cooling off period, the contract is now legally binding.

 Cooling Off Period

Once Contracts have been exchanged, there is a minimum 5 business day cooling off period, primarily to enable the buyer to obtain any pre-purchase inspections they require and/or finalise finance. During this period the purchaser is entitled to terminate the contract without risk of being sued by the seller for breach of contract.

Many sellers will request that this period be waived so that the contract is immediately binding from exchange. If agreed, Safe as Houses Counveyancing would advise that any pre-purchase inspections are obtained and finance unconditionally confirmed prior to exchange taking place. Otherwise, there may be financial penalties for backing out of the contract. Safe as Houses Conveyancing can help you understand how this works.

 Preparation for Settlement

Following exchange of Contracts the buyer’s conveyancer will conduct a number of search and enquiries in relation to the property, particularly relating to current council rates and water charges owing, and land tax applicable. These enable the appropriate adjustments to be made on settlement so that the purchase only pays expenses relating to the property from the date of settlement. The purchaser’s conveyancer will also ensure that the relevant documents, such as the Transfer document, are properly prepared and signed.

During this period representatives for each party will continue to liaise with the banks to ensure the necessary financial documents are prepared and ready for settlement. The seller’s bank will usually need to provide documents including the original Title and Discharge of Mortgage, while the buyer’s bank will need to have the payments ready for settlement.

The necessary arrangements will be made in regard to the date, time, and venue for settlement to occur. You won’t necessarily need to be in attendance at this meeting, but you should be aware of when it is, as well as any other information that pertains to the settlement. If you are selling, you’ll need to know when you are expected to vacate the property or, if you are purchasing, you’ll know when to pick up the keys.

 Settlement Day

The property settlement will usually either occur at the seller’s conveyancer office, or at their bank. The parties’ representatives will attend this meeting. Documents and any relevant payments exchanged, and parties notified.

 Completion

After the settlement has taken place, there are still more tasks to address. The purchaser’s conveyancer must send a Notice of Sale to council and water authorities, so that they are aware of the new property owner. If not already attended to, stamping and lodging of the Contract and Transfer must also take place, before being registered with the Land Titles Office so that a new title deed can be issued in the name of the new owner.

Safe as Houses Conveyancers can assist with everything from finance approval to building inspections, and will ensure that all legal documents are in the right order once settlement is reached. It’s important not to cut corners on any of these services which help prevent sales from falling through at the last minute and potential financial loss. This is why it’s strongly recommended that anyone in need of conveyancing services consult with Safe as Houses Conveyancing.

 How long does the process take?

In most cases, the full conveyancing process takes around 6 to 8 weeks. This will depend on several factors, including the settlement date specified in your Contract and whether there are banks or financial institutions involved. Some conveyancers will charge more depending on the complexity, amount of time spent on the matter, and variables such as whether there is a bank involved. This can see your costs rocket is something unexpected arises. Safe as Houses Conveyancing operate on a fixed price, including legal advice and standard disbursements.

 What Can Go Wrong during Conveyancing?

Although selling a property may seem like a straightforward transaction, there are numerous that can go wrong if you’re not careful. Property boundaries can be difficult to identify when selling a strata title unit, titles may be lost over the years, and the measurements of the home may differ from what’s on the original title. Issues can come up during an inspection such as structures that haven’t been approved by the council, or damaged or missing property discovered during the inspection process.

If you built your home, there may be problems when you try to transfer the title. These are just a few examples of common complications that could lead to you needing the assistance of a professional conveyancer. You will need someone who knows all the ins and outs of real estate law to help you avoid these pitfalls.

 Common Problems when Selling a Property

 Your bank is not able to settle on time

Many sellers have a mortgage which will have to be discharged. Safe as Houses Conveyancing can help make arrangements with your bank to ensure the necessary documents are prepared in readiness for settlement. At which time the bank will receive funds from the proceeds of sale to payout the mortgage, and hand to the buyer a Discharge of Mortgage and Certificate of Title.

The discharge process can be lengthy, and it’s possible that we won’t be able to book settlement with the bank if they are not ready. This could happen if the appropriate bank department hasn’t received all of the documents they need for other banking departments.

 The purchaser isn’t ready to settle on time

The bank plays a central role in the settlement process for both buyer and seller when there is a mortgage. The purchaser will also be relying on their bank to be ready to settle on time if they are obtaining a mortgage. If the bank’s not ready due to a delay in mortgage documents, the purchaser won’t be ready either. It’s up to the Safe as Houses Conveyancing to inform you of your rights should this happen, such as the potential to charge penalty interest.

 The purchaser refuses to settle

Before settlement day, the purchaser will need to undertake a final inspection of your property. If they notice faults which they didn’t see the first time around, they might refuse to settle unless these are taken care of. Safe as Houses Conveyancing will help you should this happen. We can help enforce the rules of the Contract and have the experience necessary to handle any issues of this nature. To prevent this from happening in the first place, it’s a good idea to discuss any possible flaws in the building with your real estate agent when you are first thinking about selling your property.

 Common Problems when Buying a Property

 You are not able to obtain finance

Most buyers need to obtain some level of financing in order to make a purchase as large as a house. You may exchange Contracts, only to find that the bank or lender will not be able to give you the approval by the expiry of the cooling off period. In this case, you’ll need to decide whether to terminate the contract altogether or continue with it. If you wish to continue with the initial Contract, Safe as Houses Conveyancing would ask for an extension of the cooling off period. If you fail to negotiate an extension and are ultimately unable to secure finance, you may end up unable to settle and in breach of contract.

 The bank is unable to settle on time.

If the loan cannot be processed by the date of settlement, you will be unable to meet your settlement obligations on time. This will cause you to be in breach of your Contract and you may incur penalty fees, interest, or termination of the contract in some cases. Safe as Houses Conveyancers will work with you to help ensure that all of your loan documents will be able to be processed in a timely manner. We may also be able to apply for a settlement extension.

 The property is not in the same condition as when you signed your Contract

If you notice flaws or maintenance issues when you conduct a final inspection of the property, we will discuss your rights with you. You have certain rights under the Contract should you wish to dispute the condition of the property. When any of these issues arise, it’s vital to have Safe as Houses Conveyancing on your side to assist you. We can help you navigate each problem according to your specific situation and needs.

 The Role of Safe as Houses Conveyancing

Unlike many forms of investment, real estate is permanent. After a sale has been made, it can’t easily be destroyed, moved, or otherwise hidden. This makes it a valuable investment for the owner. If a bank has given out a loan, the bank assumes an interest in the property. If the owner defaults on their payment, the bank will still hold this interest and are legally able to sell their stake in the property so that they may recover the cost of the loan.

Safe as Houses Conveyancers steps in to ensure that the property’s ownership is transferred without being bogged down in petty legalities. We make sure that there are no other interests that can impede your title transfer; such as covenants, easements, or caveats. We have up to date knowledge regarding real estate procedures and legal details and will be able to anticipate and prevent potential problems.

Multiple names on the sale contract. This could lead to problems if there is a death or divorce before the property is sold. There may be tax or liability issues that the owners had not considered, or survivorship implications in some cases. This is where Safe as Houses Conveyancers can help you make decisions.

Hiring a professional to take care of the conveyancing process ensures that you will have a knowledgeable professional taking full responsibility of this important legal transaction. You will not need to worry about bearing the brunt of any tricky situations that arise.

 Do I Have to Meet With a Conveyancer?
Online Conveyancing Has Arrived.

The internet has changed the way that most of us do business, and this applies to the real estate industry in particular. As you search for a new home or prepare to sell your house, you will most likely turn to online listings to help you in your search. When the time comes for conveyancing, you may also wonder whether you can go through this process online. With online conveyancing, you may not need to meet with a conveyancer in person at all.

As you get in touch with a conveyancer online, you will learn more about the documents that you need to complete. Your conveyancer or solicitor should be able to send you all of the necessary conveyancing documents that you must read and/or sign in order to complete your transaction. In today’s business climate, these documents could be sent by email, or surface mail. The best method will depend on how sensitive the document is and whether or not you must work with the original document.

Important documents such as Transfer documents, statutory declarations, and affidavits will only be accepted by the Title Office in your State or Territory if they are originals. As a result, these types of documents must be sent by surface mail. Your conveyancer or solicitor will most likely wish to use registered or express mail for this purpose, so that you sign for them and avoid any potential loss of these valuable documents. Another factor to consider is that some documents require a witness for your signature. When you meet with a conveyancer or solicitor in person, they usually act as this legal witness. Yet if you correspond at a distance, you’ll need to find another suitable witness before you can sign the documents.

 The agent wants me to use his conveyancer,
is that a good idea?

Many real estate agents have local conveyancers to whom they refer work from properties they are selling. This is perfectly appropriate if based on the professionalism and expertise of the conveyancer and can be helpful if you don't know of a conveyancer yourself. Remember, though, that your conveyancer is there to protect your interests; the choice of conveyancer is yours.

 Can my conveyancer help me get a home loan?

No, conveyancers are not allowed to give specific financial advice unless additionally licensed. That said, Safe as Houses Conveyancers have good contacts in the finance industry and will be able to put you in touch with people or institutions for you to talk to about your requirements.

 I'm selling my house privately - do I still need a conveyancer?

A Contact is required by law before a property can be advertised for sale. Safe as Houses Conveyancing can ensure you fulfil this and other legal obligations.

 I just want to transfer my property to the children?

Transferring a house to friends or family entails changing the registered ownership in exactly the same way as if you are selling. Safe as Houses Conveyancing can do this for you and ensure your meet your legal obligations.