Buying or Selling your home

We are experienced Illawarra conveyancing lawyers and can assist with all stages of New South Wales property transactions whether you are buying or selling a home, unit, vacant block, strata title, commercial real estate, or rural property.

Selling a residential property

Most vendors are anxious to get their property on the market once a decision to sell has been made. If you have engaged a real estate agent, they will be keen to start advertising your property. When selling a residential property in New South Wales you will need a complying written contract.

Preparing the contract

We can organise a contract quickly, but it is important that it contains the prescribed documents and is tailored to your property and circumstances. This will avoid delays in securing the sale once a purchaser is found and reduce the risk of having a buyer being entitled to rescind (cancel) the contract.

We will discuss your circumstances, obtain specific instructions about the property, explain your obligations as a seller and draft any additional conditions required to protect your interests. If you are selling and buying at the same time, we may need to coordinate a simultaneous settlement, or you may require a longer or shorter completion date than usual.

What happens when a purchaser is found?

Once a purchaser is found, your agent will send us a sales advice. We will create a contract with the relevant details and send one copy to the purchaser’s lawyers. The purchaser may arrange additional investigations such as a pest and building report.

When the parties are ready to proceed contracts can be exchanged and are generally binding subject to any cooling-off rights. Purchasers have a statutory five-day cooling-off period however if the parties agree this can be waived so contracts are immediately binding.

Getting ready to settle your property sale

The contract will have a specified date for completion. The purchaser’s lawyer prepares transfer documents and settlement figures showing the final balance owing to you on completion after taking into account the deposit and other relevant adjustments such as rates and strata levies.

If you have a mortgage, your lender will need to be notified so they can prepare a discharge of the mortgage in anticipation of the agreed settlement date.

Buying a residential property

Buying property is likely to be one of the largest financial decisions you will make, so it is important to be guided by experienced professionals who will protect your rights and keep you informed throughout the process. Generally, there is a 6 week period from exchange of contracts until completion of a purchase, however there is a lot of work to do during this time.

Contract review and pre-purchase inspections

There is often a sense of urgency when trying to find your ‘dream’ property with the perception that you will miss out if you do not act quickly. However, if you propose purchasing a property, you should always have the contract reviewed by an experienced lawyer before committing to the purchase.

We will go over the contract with you, discuss the disclosure documents and explain your rights and obligations under the contract. The contract will show any interests affecting the land such as easements or restrictive covenants. The planning certificate confirms the permitted use of the land and sets out matters impacting it such as heritage listings or flood zones. This information is important and not usually apparent from a physical inspection of the property. It may result in the need to make further enquiries. Obtaining pest and building reports from a reputable inspector will flag existing or potential pest or structural problems.

Exchanging contracts

Exchanging contracts is the formal process of committing the parties to the agreement. Traditionally, each party signs replica contracts and their lawyers swap and date the contracts. The agreed deposit is payable and subject to any cooling-off rights, the parties are legally bound to the contract.

Getting ready to settle your property purchase

Once contracts are binding, we usually carry out further investigations to ascertain whether the property may be adversely affected by matters such as government proposals for road widening, etc. We will discuss any issues that arise.

Stamp duty requirements need to be met, if relevant, and we will start liaising with your lender and the vendor’s lawyer in preparation for settlement.

Settlement statements are prepared to show the final balance owing on completion taking into account the deposit paid, rates and other adjustments. These are checked and agreed between the parties before notifying your lender (as relevant) how the loan funds should be processed.

You will be entitled to a final inspection just before completion and you should arrange this with the real estate agent.

Settling your property transaction using e-conveyancing

In the past, property settlements traditionally involved the physical meeting of lawyers and financial institutions to check and swap documents and bank cheques and the lodgement of documents with government authorities to transfer ownership. An error as simple as a misspelt middle name could cause settlement to fail and all parties would need to reschedule.

E-conveyancing has revolutionised this process through a national electronic platform known as PEXA. E-conveyancing enables lawyers and lenders to transact online, improving efficiency and streamlining old manual processes and paperwork. Online settlements remove the location and time barriers of physical settlements, visually track the progress of each stage of a transaction and facilitate online lodgement of documents and faster access to sales funds.

We are fully conversant with the e-conveyancing process providing our clients greater convenience and certainty regarding their conveyancing transaction.

If you are buying your first property, looking for an investment, or selling your family home, we can help. We are a well-established firm serving clients for all conveyancing transactions in Warilla, Shellharbour and Wollongong generally, and representing international clients who have interests in the Illawarra.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 4297 6066 for expert legal advice.