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Property Law and Conveyancing Lawyers

Services

Newcastle-based Conveyancing Lawyers

As professional conveyancing lawyers, we offer streamlined, diligent service to clients who are buying or selling property, delivering exceptional results for every client, every time. We have assisted thousands of clients in the sale or purchase of all types of property.

Our Property Law & Conveyancing Services

Our expert team of conveyancing lawyers can assist you in all aspects of buying, selling, off-the-plan contracts, non-contract transfers and the preparation of by-laws – anywhere in New South Wales and Queensland.

We have one of the largest conveyancing teams in the area, providing the capacity to cater to a wide range of clients. Not only do we act for first home buyers, mums and dads and property investors, we also act for small and large developers.

Property law transactions can be complex and each transaction is unique. We make the process as smooth as possible with our hassle-free, plain English approach, which ensures the process is as stress-free and smooth as possible.

We believe regular, clear communication is the key to a successful property transaction. Most importantly, we pride ourselves on outstanding communication, which ensures our clients are well informed throughout the progress of their conveyancing matter.

Conveyancing Lawyers Who Put You First

Our clients are our number one priority, so we provide a flexible approach to client service. We understand that the traditional 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday approach doesn’t suit everyone. That’s why we tailor our approach to suit our clients’ needs, whether that means handling the matter electronically and via email and phone, meeting you at our office during business or meeting after hours in certain circumstances.

To enhance the level of service provided by our conveyancing lawyers and make things easier for our valued clients, we tap into the latest technology and innovation. Because we understand how time-sensitive these matters can be, we introduced a system called Perfect Portal, which allows our clients to track their conveyancing matter every step of the way. With this App (which can be downloaded from the App store on your device), clients always know the status of their matter with regular updates directly to their smart phone or computer. This innovation is just one way we strive to make things easier for our valued clients and referrers with our new age approach.

We also use PEXA Key, which is a new settlement App for buyers and sellers. It offers high level settlement tracking from the palm of your hand and, most importantly, a secure way to communicate bank account details. It removes the vulnerability and high risk associated with emailing such details.

Let us help you by:

  • Taking Your Detailed Instructions and Providing You With Expert Advice Specific to Your Situation
  • Advising You in Relation to the Stamp Duty Payable and Any Grants That May Be Available
  • Advising You in Relation to the Contract
  • Negotiating the Terms of the Contract
  • Advising You in Relation to Cooling Off Periods or Finance Clauses of the Contract
  • Advising In Relation to Lending Requirements and How to Meet Those Requirements
  • Arranging Searches
  • Preparation and Checking Settlement Figures
  • Attending Settlement on Your Behalf
  • Advice In Relation to Building Contracts
  • Preparation of by-Laws.

The most common questions we are asked:

Is the conveyancing process different if I am purchasing a property at auction?

Buying a property at auction is very different to other property purchases. The bidding process is public and if, at the falling of the hammer, you are the highest bidder, you must sign the contract on the spot, to which you will be legally bound. You do not get the benefit of a cooling off period or finance clause. This means that you must have attended to your pre-purchase enquiries and attended to your due diligence prior to attending the auction, including having a solicitor review the contract, having an independent pest and building inspection carried out, ensuring your finance is in order and having the 10% deposit available on the day of the auction.

Why is it important to get your own pest and building report if the agent has already provided these reports?

Always commission your own pest and building reports and never rely on reports provided by a third party. Why? If an agent provided you with a pest and building report, they may have a connection with the inspector and the report may not cover all the issues with respect to the property. Also, if an issue were to arise, you will have no claim as you did not commission the report and there is no legal relationship between you and the report writer. If you are relying on a pest and building report provided by a third party, make sure the report is transferred into your name/s after you are successful at auction and you have an agreement with the report writer directly. However, it is always advisable to commission your own reports.

What is the difference between purchasing an existing dwelling as opposed to purchasing off the plan?

Due to the recent boom in property development in the Newcastle area and across the state, buying off the plan has and will become increasingly common. It is important that buyers are aware of the increased risks associated with off the plan purchases.

Buying off the plan means you are purchasing a property that is yet to be constructed and the purchase decision is based on proposed plans.

Some of the risks include:

  • Delays in construction: This can be very frustrating for purchasers and can mean that a buyer may not be able to move in when anticipated, resulting in the need for temporary accommodation for owner occupiers or a loss of income for investors. The standard timeframe of 1.5 years to 2 years for construction can suddenly stretch to 3 or 4 years. During this time, lenders can tighten their lending criteria and interest rates can increase. Even worse, on completion, the bank valuation may be less than what you contracted to pay. So, it is important that your legal representative advises you of the relevant dates included in the contract. It may also be beneficial to ask the developer for their track record for delivering projects on time.
  • The end product may not be as advertised: When the property is completed, buyers can be dissatisfied with the functionality or appearance of the property purchased. It is important to note that developers are commonly entitled to substitute fixtures and fittings of similar quality to those specified in the contract. It is therefore important to specify quality brands for fixtures and fittings, so as to set the benchmark. Buyers must be notified when changes are made and if something is substantially different to the plan, such as the removal of a car space or balcony, it may grant a right of rescission. Keep in mind, it can be difficult to rescind a contract. Furthermore, there is often a shrinkage clause in the contract which allows the developer to reduce the size of the lot by up to 5%. It is important that your legal representative requests that this percentage be deleted from the contract or at the very least request this percentage be reduced.
  • Incomplete works and potential defects: Developers are required to take out home warranty insurance to compensate a buyer if the building works are incomplete, there is defective building work, or the developer becomes insolvent. However, there are some exceptions, in particular, if the building is more than three stories and was or is constructed after December 2003, then home warranty insurance is not required. It is important that your legal representative advises you of the associated risks of a developer not having home warranty insurance.

Whilst we have focused on the negatives, there are also positives buying off the plan including tax benefits and the potential increase in property value.

What is title insurance and what is the value of it?

When purchasing a property, there are many inherent risks which may cause loss or affect your ownership to the property. Title insurance is a relatively new and specialised type of insurance. Title insurance offers home buyers protection against certain unknown and hidden risks which may be present at the time of purchase.

Title insurance covers issues such as:

  • Planning and Title Defects
  • Survey and Boundary Defects
  • Illegal Building Works and Structures
  • Fraud, Forgery and Identity Theft and
  • Unpaid Rates and Levies

You may be thinking “Isn’t this what I pay my solicitor for – to protect my interests?” In short, it is not cost-effective for your solicitor to cover everything, as this would add several thousand dollars to your conveyancing costs. This is where title insurance is invaluable.

A title insurance policy has a minimal fee and is prorated depending on the purchase price of the property. It is a one-off premium, with no excess payable if a claim is made and the policy offers protection for the lifetime of ownership of the property. For example, if you are purchasing a residential title property at a cost of $500,000, a title insurance policy will cost you a one-off premium of approximately $575.61. If you are purchasing a residential strata property at a cost of $500,000, a title insurance policy will cost you a one- off premium of approximately $431.71.

A real life example…

Following settlement of the purchase of their home, the insured noticed building irregularities with the pergola. The insured applied for a building certificate with their local Council. Following the inspection, it was revealed that approval for the pergola had not been obtained by the previous owner and no final inspection had been carried out with respect to the carport and tool shed. Council ordered that the structure be demolished. The title insurer paid for the demolition and reconstruction of the pergola, carport and tool shed. All correspondence with Council and the final inspection by Council was handled by the title insurer.

Our preferred title insurance company is Stewart Title.

What is a deposit bond?

No cash deposit to purchase a property? No worries! We are finding many of our clients have their cash tied up and don’t have access to a cash deposit to secure their purchase. Deposit bonds are a smart alternative, contact our team today for more information.

Our preferred deposit bond issuer is Deposit Assure.