Conveyancing


Conveyancing There is much more to conveyancing at Graham Legal.

Unfortunately there is a wrongful perception in the community that conveyancing is a process that is the same everywhere the process is undertaken.

A branded litre of milk may be the same product wherever you buy it (with the price being the only distinguishing feature). Conveyancing is quite a different matter. Conveyancing is a process of legal advice and services to a large extent performed by humans. It will, consequently, be a process that is performed differently by each provider. At Graham Legal the process is performed by skilled and experienced personnel with high regard to care, efficiency and client satisfaction.

Conveyancing is the legal process by which title to a property passes from the Vendor to the Purchaser in return for payment of the price. A typical Contract of Sale binds parties to the most expensive financial transaction of their lifetimes.

Far too many parties (both Vendors and Purchasers) enter into conveyancing contracts with very little knowledge and understanding of the terms and conditions that will be binding upon them. Parties see that Contracts contain pages and pages of printed terms and conditions and, all too often, they simply do not read them. Parties believe that these terms and conditions are "standard". We find that many parties even complete a conveyancing transaction without ever knowing their rights and obligations.


Purchasers & Vendors


Vendors often sell a property and buy a second property with the expectation that the proceeds of sale of the first will finance in whole or in part the price agreed to be paid for the purchase of the second. But, what happens if those monies don't get paid because the first Purchaser has lawfully ended the first Contract?

There are many traps for inexperienced players (both Vendors and Purchasers). At Graham Legal we receive many calls from people asking for our "best price" for conveyancing. These callers are shopping around for the cheapest conveyancer. Graham Legal does not seek to compete with the cheapest conveyancer.

Every Graham Legal conveyancing client has entrusted us with responsibility for an extremely valuable transaction. We respect our client's trust at every stage.

Clients need conveyancing advice during three distinct stages:

  • before the contract is signed, and
  • before settlement, and
  • after settlement.

At Graham Legal we have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that we are able to provide clear and comprehensive conveyancing advice and assistance to guide our clients safely through these stages - from beginning to end.

A typical Contract of Sale is divided into three distinct parts.

  • Particulars of Sale
  • General Conditions
  • Special Conditions

In addition, there is a secondary document (a Vendor's Statement) also of very great importance.

A typical Contract of Sale and Vendor's Statement can comprise many pages of printed material. There are reasons why that material is comprehensive. Conveyancing transactions are complex.

One prominent Victorian conveyancing lawyer published a book entitled "1001 Conveyancing Answers" marketed as a practical guide to conveyancing for use by lawyers. The magnitude of that publication is testament to the complexity of the conveyancing process.

At Graham Legal we have worked (and continue to work) tirelessly to refine and improve our conveyancing service and efficiency.

We recommend that our clients engage us as soon as they decide to buy or sell. Problems are always best resolved by avoiding them in the first place.


Purchasers

Purchasers often don't know what they should be looking for in the Contract and Vendor's Statement. For instance:

  • What is the relevance of any easements or covenants encumbering the Vendor's title?
  • What is relevant information in the various certificates that are attached to the Vendor's Statement and what are the consequences if particular certificates are not even included in the Vendor's Statement?
  • What if a Purchaser is buying a property affected by an Owner's Corporation? What are the consequences if that Owner's Corporation has outstanding debts or liabilities or even if it is engaged in litigation?
  • What if a Purchaser buys a property with the intention of redeveloping it? Is the intended redevelopment even permitted in the zone?
  • Will a Purchaser require a Planning Permit before redeveloping?
  • What if a Planning Permit is not available for the particular redevelopment that is intended?
  • What if the Vendor's existing use of the property would only be permissible if a Planning Permit had been obtained and none was?

Purchaser clients, particularly first home Purchasers, should obtain advice before they fix their sights on their first property. At the same time, or even before making enquiries of their bank as to borrowing capacity, first home Purchasers should engage Graham Legal and avail themselves of our Conveyancing Advice Service (for Purchasers) (see link).

For those Purchaser clients who have some prior experience of conveyancing, advice should be sought once clients have identified a potential property and obtained the Vendor's Contract of Sale and Vendor's Statement (but before those documents are signed).

The Graham Legal Conveyancing Advice Service (for Purchasers) (see link) includes a face-to-face question and answer meeting of up to 30 minutes and a comprehensive letter of legal advice that is tailored to the particular property documents our clients have received.

Subject to some important exceptions, Purchasers may "cool-off" or withdraw from their purchase within 3 business days of the date of their signing the Contract of Sale. The purpose of the cooling-off period is to give Purchasers a last opportunity to obtain legal advice before it becomes binding.

However, it can be a dangerous and potentially expensive course to buy one day and cool-off during the next three. First, the contract will be binding if the circumstances of the purchase do not permit the Purchaser to cool-off. Secondly, even if the cooling-off laws are applicable, there is a cooling-off penalty of 0.2% of the contract price or $100 whichever is the greater.

ABC News reported on 20 April 2017 that the median house price for homes being sold in Melbourne hit a record high of $826,000. The cooling-off penalty for withdrawing from a Contract of Sale of that magnitude is a whopping $1,652. The Graham Legal Conveyancing Advice Service (for Purchasers) is extremely affordable by comparison.


Vendors


A Vendor should contact us even before they appoint their Real Estate Agent.

The law requires an Agent to hand a prospective Purchaser a Vendor's Statement before receiving a binding offer to purchase. Whilst a Vendor's Statement will be prepared by us with the least possible delay, a Vendor's agent cannot proceed with his or her job without a Vendor's Statement to show.

The Contract of Sale and Vendor's Statement must be carefully prepared. An error or omission in a Contract or in the Vendor's Statement can result in all kinds of adverse consequences. An error or omission in the Vendor's Statement can result in the sale being aborted without compensation at any time prior to settlement.

Graham Legal never takes any short cuts with the preparation of the Contract of Sale or the Vendor's Statement. Graham Legal documents are not generic. They are tailored for the particular circumstances of the sale.

Vendors often don't know in what circumstances a Purchaser may cancel a Contract of Sale after it has been signed. Vendors often don't know the implications of a hastily and wrongfully prepared Vendor's Statement (Section 32). For instance:

  • What are the Vendor's obligations if a Purchaser finds that owner builder works exist and are actually defective or that second hand materials were used?
  • What if there are building works on the property for which no Building Permit exists?
  • What if a Purchaser was induced to enter into the Contract of Sale by reason of a false or misleading representation made by the Vendor or by the Vendor's Agent?
  • What if the title measurements are found to be different from the property measurements as fenced?

Conveyancing is a legal process that is best handled by lawyers. We at Graham Legal are experienced conveyancers and, as stated above, there is much more to conveyancing at Graham Legal.