Frequently Asked Questions About Conveyancing


What is conveyancing?
Why should I use a conveyancer?
What is the cooling off period and how does it affect me?
What is a disbursement?
What happens if either party cannot settle on the due date?
What happens at settlement time?
Who notifies the authorities that I have purchased a property?


What is conveyancing?

Put simply, conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title of a property from one person to another.


Why should I use a conveyancer?

Buying or selling property is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. Due to the financial and legal aspects of transferring property, the consequences of making a mistake can be both costly and heartbreaking.

By having a licensed conveyancer take care of your property transfer, their qualifications and experience can help protect your assets.

A licensed Conveyancer has an in-depth understanding of the law concerning property transactions, they are required by law to carry professional indemnity insurance and fidelity insurance, and unlike certain solicitors that offer conveyancing, they can focus solely on property.


What is the cooling off period and how does it affect me?

A cooling off period is the right of a purchaser of property to cancel the agreement within 5 working days. It offers some protection to purchasers that may have rushed into a contract to purchase property and can be used to finalise financial arrangements, and carry out building, pest and strata inspections. Canceling the agreement (or rescinding, as it is known) will cost the purchaser 0.25% of the total purchase price.

The cooling off period does not always apply (at auction, for example) and can be waived providing a 66W certificate is signed by a conveyancer who has briefed his or her client with regard to the implications involved of waiving the cooling off period.


What is a disbursement?

A disbursement is one of the expenses incurred during the process of searching and obtaining a certificate from local government authorities or local councils.



What happens if either party cannot settle on the due date?

The vendor or purchaser can issue a 'Notice to Complete' which means the vendor or purchaser has 14 days (including weekends and public holidays) to settle the matter. If left unsettled, the purchaser has the right to terminate the contract and is eligible to receive their deposit back. The purchaser may also apply to the Court to have the vendor complete the agreement and hand over possession.

The vendor is entitled to charge the purchaser interest for the number of days that the settlement is delayed. The contract usually stipulates the applicable interest rate. When a 'Notice to Complete' is issued, the vendor may terminate the contract after the 14 days has expired and keep the deposit, and can legally place the property back on the market for sale.


What happens at settlement time?

Settlement is the finalisation of the sale or purchase process. There are usually four parties involved - the vendors and purchasers conveyancers and the banks for the vendor and purchaser.

On settlement, the purchaser's bank will exchange cheques, as per the instructions of the buyer's conveyance, and in return receive the Certificate of Title and 'discharge of mortgage' (if applicable) from the seller's bank.

If, prior to settlement, the property in question has been damaged, there is a sufficient amount of time to take care of discrepancies prior to settlement. Once the settlement date arrives, the keys can be handed over to the purchaser and the deposit is released (from trust) to the seller. At this stage, the buyer's bank registers the change of title and mortgage, and notifies authorities (such as the water company) of the change.


Who notifies the authorities that I have purchased a property?

When your transfer papers are lodged for registration after settlement, the council, water and Registrar General are automatically notified of the new purchase. Other providers, however, will need to be notified by the purchaser.