Step 6: Legal Legwork

With your finances under control, it's time to find a suitable partner to perform the eventual transfer of property from one person to another, through the process of conveyancing.

Once you've found the property you want to purchase, the agent looking after the sale (or vendor themselves) will provide you with a contract of sale. It's important that this document be looked at carefully to ensure that everything about the property is understood and that there will be no legal surprise after you have purchased it. Signing a contract without having an experienced person look at it first is madness - and if you want to make any changes to the contract, now is the time to speak up.

While the legwork is typically performed by solicitors or professional conveyancers, you can also conduct your own conveyancing, although you need to be aware of the risks involved.

The most obvious consideration when determining how to choose the method of conveyancing is the cost. While most solicitors and conveyancers offer a fixed price, you need to determine exactly what is included in the price, and what isn't. Some people simply want the appropriate forms completed and lodged, while others require a more comprehensive service, such as assisting in negotiations for a private sale. With additional services come additional fees and it pays to know what these are likely to be.

One of the key benefits of using a solicitor or conveyancer is the peace of mind that they provide. Both should have sufficient indemnity insurance to cover them if something goes wrong with the transfer. Another benefit of using a professional is that they provide this service on a regular basis. Experience is an added bonus, and you should ensure that if a junior clerk is assisting with your conveyance, the person who signs off on the process knows what they are doing.

Some people prefer to complete their own conveyancing. A number of do-it-yourself kits exist for this very purpose. The main reason for performing your own conveyance is to save money, but there are a number of important issues that should be considered first. choose, but can be time consuming and difficult to resolve without professional help. The most common are:

  • Caveats and covenants attached to the property,
  • Illegal extensions which have not been approved by local council,
  • Actual property size differing form the measurements in the title, and
  • Finding the property is damaged (or something is missing) when you conduct the final inspection.

Most conveyances are performed without any difficulty, but like insurance, using a professional conveyancer could save you heartache if difficulties are encountered. Remember - the professionals carry indemnity insurance while you, as an individual, do not.

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