When you are buying property, engaging a solicitor or conveyancer will protect you from costly mistakes. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one person to another and there is a lot of your money at risk!
Typically, a solicitor will have a number of conveyancing staff to arrange searches, prepare documents, correspond with clients and organise settlements. But property transfers in Queensland must be performed under the direct supervision of, and signed off by a Queensland registered solicitor.
Do I Use a Conveyancer or Solicitor?
Most solicitors who do conveyancing usually also practice other areas of law. But conveyancers are only permitted to practice conveyancing and cannot practice other areas of law. If a property transaction becomes litigious or falls outside the scope of conveyancing, they must refer the matter to a solicitor for assistance.
If your sale is likely to be complex, or if advice is needed on other related areas of law, like family or tax law, then you are probably best to use a solicitor.
When you are buying a property in Queensland you need to insure it no later than 24 hours after the contract is dated. If the house is destroyed before you become the owner, you are still bound to buy the land and pay the full price.
After the contract becomes unconditional your conveyancer will do searches including: council rates and water, land tax, transport authority (land resumptions for road widening).
Your bank will want to know that when they hand over the money that they are getting what they need to register the mortgage. Your conveyancer will meet the bank’s conveyancing requirements.
Building & Pest Inspection
It is recommended to do a building and pest inspection on the house you intend to buy. These reports will highlight any structural or termite issues.
Paying Transfer Duty on the Contract (also known as Stamp Duty)
Transfer duty is a state government tax and must be paid on the contract within 30 days of the contract becoming unconditional or at settlement.
The transfer is a legal document which is lodged at the Department of Natural Resources & Mines. It is prepared by your conveyancer and the details on it must exactly match the contract and the details on the mortgage otherwise there will be issues at the Stamp Duty Office and the conveyancing process stops until the problems are sorted out. For example, spelling Elisabeth not Elizabeth could stop the conveyancing process.
Handing over the money to pay for the home and getting the legal documents so you have ownership of the house can be transferred to you (the Buyer) is called ‘Settlement’.
To work out how much to hand over at Settlement, all council rates, water usage, body corporate levies (in the case of a unit) and taxes on the home will be divided fairly between the Buyer and the Seller based on the number of days that each own the home. These amounts are called ‘the adjustments’.
The Seller’s conveyancer will notify the real estate agent that the sale has gone through and authorise them to release the keys to you as the buyer.
Your conveyancer will get in touch with you to let you know that settlement has gone through. They will also send you a settlement statement showing how all the monies have been dealt with.
This is where you can begin drinking champagne.