Caution in cutting conveyancing corners
Anchor Conveyancing has been helping Docklands clients to safely navigate the legal difficulties of buying or selling a property for more than 10 years.
In this article we would like to give an insight into an often-overlooked aspect of a conveyancing transaction – the relevance and importance of property searches.
A conveyancing quote for a sale or purchase will comprise professional fees and an estimate of outlays.
It is tempting for consumers to save a few dollars by choosing the cheapest quote, but of all the choices in life to chase a bargain, it is not recommended doing so when buying or selling your most expensive asset.
Property searches are the important documents that describe the relevant information about condition of the property as of a particular date. Searches in the Contract of Sale are often compared to a “photograph” of a property condition as it exists at the day of sale.
Among other items, it shows the fees and charges, debts, legal action, zoning and recent status of permits. That photograph must be an accurate representation of the property.
When you are selling, S32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962 specifies what items and information must be in the statement provided at the time of signing.
Where a seller knowingly or recklessly fails to provide the information or provides false information, the current fine is $11,538.60 for an individual.
You will sometimes see unit sales where a vendor refuses to provide owners’ corporation certificates in the statement at the time of signing, wrongly trying to special condition their way out.
Aside from potential fines, a seller faces the risk of a buyer having the right to end the contract at any time. Therefore, it is essential that your conveyancer is ordering the correct full range of searches.
When representing a buyer, it is vitally important that your conveyancer orders a new set of searches prior to settlement. You need to take a “photograph” of the property just before it settles and compare it to that at the time of sale to make sure things have not changed.
Among the myriad of risks, the buyer is at danger of inheriting property debt if not paid out at settlement. We’ve seen a debt for thousands lodged by an owners’ corporation for vendor damage to common property that could have been missed, council fines and orders – the list is endless.
At Anchor Conveyancing we offer free pre-purchase advice where we talk about this in detail. Buying or selling a property is one of life’s most expensive financial transactions, make it safe. •
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