RMB Galland Elder Lawyers answer questions about conveyancing

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Cooling-off: An interval of five or ten business days, during which the buyer may elect not to proceed with the purchase and only forfeit a nominal amount.

Cooling-off: An interval of five or ten business days, during which the buyer may elect not to proceed with the purchase and only forfeit a nominal amount.

In simple terms, conveyancing is "The process of transferring title in land from one person to another," says Huw Edwards, Partner at RMB Galland Elder Lawyers.

You generally need a conveyancer, or a lawyer, to either draft your contract of sale if you are selling, or to look over the contract of sale for you if you're buying and advise you on any matters within it that may affect your decision to go through with the purchase.

Importantly, conveyancers and lawyers are different, but overlapping, professions.

"Conveyancers practice exclusively in the field of conveyancing, whereas a lawyer is qualified to advise in respect to conveyancing and other legal matters," Mr Edwards said.

"Conveyancers only operate some property matters [whereas] solicitors must hold law degrees and are highly qualified in property law and other areas of law, many of which relate back to property law."

So having access to a lawyer can have its advantages in some circumstances.

Some of the most common terms you hear in real estate are 'gazumping' and 'cooling off period'.

"Gazumping is the acceptance by the vendor/seller of another offer - generally a higher offer - from a purchaser/buyer after the vendor had earlier accepted an offer from a third party, resulting in the third party losing the purchase."

This can make the task of buying a hotly-contested property tricky, because mere acceptance of an offer is not binding on the seller.

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Once you've signed the contract, the cooling-off period "is an interval, generally five or ten business days, during which the purchaser/buyer may elect not to proceed with the purchase and only forfeit a nominal amount." Your conveyancer or lawyer will illustrate this amount to you, before signing. It's generally a small percentage of the deposit.

Also on the contract of sale, if you want to take things with you that would normally be included in the sale, you can have those put in the contract. That said, it is also generally advisable to remove them before the agent takes pictures, or at the very least make it clear to the agent what it is you're taking so they can accurately represent what remains for sale to prospective buyers and avoid a dispute later.

Inspection reports are another common stage of the buying process.

"Generally the agent [will arrange these], but at times the solicitor or conveyancer can arrange the building and pest inspection on behalf of the buyer. These reports are not mandatory in NSW, which differs significantly from the position in the ACT where the vendor/seller must obtain these reports for inclusion in the contract for sale."

Auctions are also a popular way to sell, and that changes the order of proceedings slightly for buyers.

You'll commonly speak to a lender of some kind to assess your borrowing capacity before bidding. But "you should [also] have the contract of sale reviewed to be certain of the terms and conditions of the sale."

Lastly, be aware that at property auctions in NSW, "Yes, the vendor is allowed one bid," to keep the auction climbing.

Before an auction: You should also have the contract of sale reviewed to be certain of the terms and conditions of the sale. Photos: Shutterstock.

Before an auction: You should also have the contract of sale reviewed to be certain of the terms and conditions of the sale. Photos: Shutterstock.

This story Conveyancing is transferring title in land first appeared on Goulburn Post.