Buying (or selling) a property is one of the biggest and most important financial decisions you will make.
As exciting as it is, however, it can be extremely complex, involving a pile of paperwork filled with complicated wording that inevitably grows as each stage of the transaction takes place.
Conveyancing is the term for the legal and statutory processes required to effect the transfer of ownership of real estate from one person or entity to another.
It involves preparing, executing, verifying and lodging numerous legal documents.
It is not compulsory to engage a conveyancer to guide you through a transaction, but conveyancing work is highly technical and specialised, so a do-it-yourself approach can certainly be a minefield.
... a do-it-yourself approach can certainly be a minefield.
Indeed, errors can cause delays to settlement (requiring you to pay default interest) or even enable the other party to terminate the contract. Engaging a conveyancer is like having your own personal guide through what can be a complicated process.
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Using plain English instead of legal jargon, a conveyancer can explain clearly the meaning and importance of each document so you know exactly what you are signing.
Drawing upon your instructions, your conveyancer will assist you to meet your legal obligations and protect your rights and interests. This includes investigating the title of the property, which is one of the most important elements of conveyancing.
Whether buying or selling, you need to be aware of anything affecting the property in question, such as proposals by government departments, illegal buildings, or outstanding rates.
Your conveyancer can conduct the appropriate searches and inquiries on your behalf. To ensure you are fully informed prior to taking this step, consult a registered conveyancer.
Many real estate agents have local conveyancers to whom they refer work. This is appropriate if your choice is based on the professionalism and expertise of the conveyancer, and can indeed be helpful if you don't know of a conveyancer yourself.
Remember, though, it is your right to choose a conveyancer you are comfortable with that you believe is there to protect your interests; and if you would prefer to select your own then you can visit the Australian Institute of Conveyancers SA Division Inc to see the member directory.
Simplifying settlements: What is e-conveyancing?
Computers and the internet have revolutionised many industries and brought new ways of working faster and smarter.
The conveyancing industry is no different, with one of the biggest transformations having taken place in recent years to bring benefits to property buyers and sellers.
Electronic conveyancing (or e-conveyancing for short), was rolled out in South Australia in 2016 as part of a national framework to allow property transactions to be completed online.
It enables registered agents (such as conveyancers) and financial institutions to lodge documents and complete financial settlements electronically via an online platform known as Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).
Not only is e-conveyancing designed to streamline the transaction, it can also remove many of the worries clients have about what can potentially be a complex and stressful process.
As of April 2018, more than one million property transactions had taken place using the PEXA platform.
Traditionally, buying or selling a property has meant signing a range of paper documents, and given the significance of a property transaction, ensuring your signature matches across all documents is important.
Indeed, if the signature on any of your documents does not match it could be delayed while new documents are drawn up and all the relevant parties re-sign them.
PEXA simplifies this process, whereby clients sign a client authorisation form enabling their conveyancer to complete all other document signing electronically on their behalf, reducing the chance of any mismatched or missing signatures.
A conveyancer’s role has also traditionally included making sure signed documents are posted to the other parties involved in the property transaction, and unfortunately delays could occur if those documents were lost or destroyed in the post.
The settlement was postponed while anxious buyers and sellers waited to have new documents put together.
PEXA streamlines the process – all documents are created electronically and shared amongst the parties online, providing greater confidence they will be prepared and signed in time for the scheduled settlement date and time.
E-conveyancing also eliminates the need for cheques – they are replaced with online funds transfers, reducing the wait for funds to be cleared.
An app known as SettleMe also means clients can track each stage of the settlement process via their phone or tablet.
They are provided with a personalised checklist and information on each step of the process, and can receive instant alerts as their settlement progresses, or view up-to-date settlement information on a customised dashboard. Clients are notified as their conveyancer adds tasks for them to complete.
- Source: sa.gov.au, AIC SA Division Inc, PEXA.