Canny Legal take a closer look at conveyancing with a few key things to make sure you go over when buying a home.

For many of us buying a house is the biggest financial transaction we will ever undertake. So it’s understandable that the conveyancing process can sometimes seem daunting, particularly for first home buyers. The size and nature of these transactions makes it essential that the purchase goes smoothly and that any issues are identified and resolved as early as possible in the process.

Some of the key things that you should be aware of when buying a property include:

  • Vendors statement – It is important to read this document carefully. Note the services connected to the property and the estimated annual outgoings, this includes council rates, to ensure these are acceptable to you.  Additionally, note the zoning and planning overlay requirements that will apply.  It is also important to make sure that all relevant planning and/or building permits have been obtained for any recent building works undertaken on the property.
  • Title and title plan – Check the certificate of title to ensure all property details are correct and that there are no unexpected charges or caveats over the property. Be aware of any easements or restrictive covenants that apply to the property. Check the plan of the property against the actual property boundaries to ensure they match. Any discrepancies should be immediately addressed with the vendor and/or their solicitor or conveyancer.
  • Contract of sale – It is critical to read this document and have a full understanding of all terms and conditions. If you are buying by private sale it is important for you to be aware of your cooling off rights. In most cases these will apply for three business days after the contract of sale is signed.  Make sure the property is properly described and additional items specified; if they’re not then you may not end up buying what you think you’re buying.  Where relevant, make the contract conditional on finance and/or an acceptable building inspection and that all dates in the contract (eg. date for payment of the deposit, finance approval dates, settlement dates) are acceptable to you and more importantly, achievable.  Don’t get trapped into an unrealistically short timeframe for settlement that doesn’t suit you.
  • Property inspections – It is crucial that you have a full understanding of the quality of the house you are purchasing. As well as your own personal inspections, you should engage an independent qualified building inspector to undertake a professional building and pest inspection to identify any structural defects, wiring and plumbing issues and other issues like infestation, rising damp and mould or the presence of asbestos.  Before settlement undertake a pre-settlement inspection, normally held one week prior, to ensure the property is being handed over to you in the same condition as when it was sold.
  • Owners Corporations – If you buy a unit, townhouse or apartment there will often be associated common property that will be covered by an owners corporation. Before buying it is important that you have an understanding of the rules of the owners corporation, the rights and responsibilities associated with it as well as the costs and fees involved.
  • Costs – Be aware and on top of all of the costs of the conveyancing process. In addition to the purchase price this includes; conveyancing fees, any pre-paid outgoings already paid by the vendor and stamp duty.

In most cases, your solicitor or conveyancer will identify and assist you with any serious issues that arise. However, if you are unsure of anything at any stage, it’s always worth clarifying with them. Their goal is to make sure the conveyancing process runs to completion as smoothly and stress free as possible for you.