Conveyancing refers to the procedure where title of a plot of land is transferred from the buyer to the seller, strictly following the laws laid down in this respect.
There are two types of land ownership in Australia. The first is privately owned land that is registered and regulated by the Torrens system of land registration, the roots of which go as far back as 1858. The other which is more of a rarity than the usual is the unregistered parcels of land commonly referred to as general law land. Laws relating to property in Australia have been developed based on the English common law.
Property conveyancing is quite a complex activity with legal ramifications that are usually outside the comprehension of the common man. Hence it is always advisable to take help of professional lawyers with specialisation in conveyancing and property laws. This is more so since laws relating to property conveyance varies between States in the country.
The key difference in State laws pertains to the “cooling off” period. This is the time that a buyer may legally avail of to cancel the contract should there be a change of mind. However there is a penalty that is imposed on the potential purchaser who has to pay 0.25% of the contracted price to the seller. This amount is 0.20% for the State of Victoria. There is a flip side to this stipulation. The cooling period is not applicable for property that is bought at an auction.
This “cooling off” period is 2 days in South Australia and 3 business days for private sales in Victoria. For residential contracts, New South Wales and Queensland stipulates a period of 5 days. Purchasers of property who want to negate a contract should seek professional advice. For example those wanting to know the legal aspects in Victoria should get in touch with a property conveyancer in Melbourne.
The usual time taken to go through a conveyance process by a property lawyer is 4 to 6 weeks. This might vary and depends on the time taken to complete a large number of tasks that has to be taken care of before the final deal is settled and completed. These include but are not limited to-
- Preparing legal documents and drawing up the contract
- Ensuring that stipulated dues such as taxes and water and electricity consumption charges have been cleared by the concerned party
- Arranging clearance and payment of all fees and charges
- Carrying out searches to know whether the property in question is free from all encumbrances and has clear and marketable title
- Ensuring that any specific and special clauses in the contract have been fulfilled
The charges for conveyancing rest on a number of factors and vary between jurisdictions, prevailing property legislation, the complexities of title search and the costs of legal documentation.