Conveyancing – What is it?

Conveyancing – What is it?

Put simply, we use the legal term “Conveyancing” to mean any legal transactions involving the buying and selling of real estate.

It is a property lawyers job to make sure that you meet all the legal obligations pertaining to your property purchase or sale. At Call Conveyancing Sydney, we will protect your rights throughout the property transaction process.

It can involve:-

  • Buying a property
  • Selling a property
  • Financing a property
  • Leasing a property
  • Subdividing a property

It is more than likely that you will need a property lawyer at some point in your life.

The level of complexity will depend on the type of property transaction that you need.

Australia originally inherited the land titles system from Britain, which involved checking previous transactions on the piece of land in question and making sure they were all properly documented. It could be a long, arduous and therefore expensive process.

Conveyancing – encompasses any legal transaction involving real estate.

Later in the 1860s, Sir Robert Torrens, a Scotsman who was the Surveyor-General of South Australia, invented what we know as the Torrens Title system.  It involves the issue of a government-guaranteed title Certificate of Title, which lists the owner, any matters affecting the title such as mortgages and leases.

Today the vast majority of land in New South Wales is Torrens Title, and simple conversion methods are available for land still under the old system – interestingly, still called Old System title!

The Torrens Title system offered both simplicity in conveyancing and certainty.  What Sir Robert did not know was how suitable for computerisation his invention would be. The New South Wales Land registry services are now highly computerised.

What does a Property Lawyer do for you during a typical transaction?

If you are selling a property your lawyer will prepare a contract, which must be available for prospective buyers to look at.  The contract has to have some searches and certificates attached, which can be prepared quite quickly. 

Once a buyer is found, the lawyer sends a contract with the specifics such as the buyer’s name and sale price to the buyer’s lawyer.  The buyer will usually have to obtain pest and building reports, and a final finance approval, and then contracts are exchanged.

Exchange is the time at which a binding contract comes into existence, with a deposit being paid.  The term “Exchange” is used because that is exactly what happens – the buyer receives a copy of the contract signed by the seller and the seller receives one signed by the buyer.

The buyer’s lawyer will make the remaining searches of various agencies to make sure the property is not adversely affected by some plan or zoning and will send a list of questions, called requisitions on title, to the seller.  The buyer’s lawyer will also attend to paying Stamp Duty and providing a lender with the details needed to prepare any mortgage.  At the same time, if there is an existing mortgage on the property the seller’s lawyer will make sure that the lender is ready to have that loan repaid, with the necessary documents signed.

The vast majority of settlements are now conducted via Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).