First Home Buyers

What your conveyancer wishes you knew about property transactions

“Isn’t a Settlement Agent just filing paperwork?” — Absolutely not!

In the high-stakes world of real estate, there are unsung heroes – settlement agents – working tirelessly behind the scenes.

Our commitment as your settlement agent (also known as conveyancer) goes beyond the obvious paperwork. It’s about ensuring a seamless and stress-free process for buying or selling.

Let’s dive into just some of the common tasks that we are working tirelessly on behind the scenes.

1. Communication
We facilitate communication between all parties involved—real estate agents, banks, and legal representatives—ensuring everyone is on the same page throughout the transaction.

2. Property Inspection Support
Conveyancers stand by buyers and sellers alike, providing invaluable support during property inspections. Whether it’s navigating through the intricacies of building and pest assessments or managing unforeseen issues that may surface during these inspections.

3. Reviewing the Contract of Sale
The cornerstone of any property transaction lies in the Contract of Sale, and conveyancers take the reins by thoroughly reviewing its contents. Our meticulous eye for detail ensures that all terms are crystal clear, identifying any aspects that might require clarification or negotiation to facilitate a fair and transparent deal for our clients.

4. Title Searches and Due Diligence
Securing a property with a clear Title is the key, and conveyancers rise to the challenge by conducting title searches and due diligence.

5. Verification of Identity (VOI)
This important process isn’t just about compliance with legal requirements; it’s a crucial step to prevent any fraudulent transactions that might cast a shadow on the property deal.

6. Coordinating with Mortgagees
Liaising with the seller or buyer’s mortgage provider is a key aspect of the conveyancer’s role. We secure necessary pay-out figures and ensure a timely discharge of the mortgage post-settlement.

7. Financial Settlement
Coordinating the financial elements of the settlement is no small task. We manage the transfer of funds from buyer to seller, handling any adjustments that may arise.

8. Title Insurance
One valuable recommendation often made by conveyancers is to consider Title Insurance. This safeguard provides an added layer of protection against unforeseen title defects or issues that may arise after settlement, offering peace of mind to both buyers and sellers.

 The journey doesn’t conclude on Settlement Day, and neither does the conveyancer’s commitment. Post-settlement, we continue to serve our clients by handling essential tasks which may include updating ownership details with the Land Titles Office and facilitating the smooth transfer of utility services to ensure a seamless transition for both parties involved.

As you go through your property journey, rest assured that we as professionals and experts are actively working to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Understanding the roles in property transactions: The difference between conveyancers and real estate agents?

The Role of a Conveyancer vs. a Real Estate Agent

When navigating property transactions in Perth, two essential professionals come into play: the conveyancer and the real estate agent. Each serves distinct but complementary roles, offering unique expertise and guidance crucial to a successful property transaction.

Conveyancer’s Role

A conveyancer, also known as a settlement agent, is responsible for the legal procedures required to transfer property ownership. Typically engaged after an Offer and Acceptance (O&A) is signed, it’s wise to have one on hand prior to buying or selling, as they can offer valuable guidance on contract conditions. Working on behalf of the buyer or seller, a conveyancer handles a range of essential tasks. These include identity verification, document preparation, title searches, and expert advice on contract implications to ensure a seamless settlement process.

Diving deeper into the conveyancer’s role:

Offering Peace of Mind: Managing the preparation, execution, verification, and submission of legal documents, conveyancers provide clarity and guidance, explaining the significance of each document in the conveyancing process.

Documentation and Compliance: Ensuring that all legal documentation meets the state’s laws and regulations.

Title Verification: Conducting comprehensive searches to confirm property ownership and identify any associated legal issues, ensuring a clear title for the buyer.

Settlement Coordination: Overseeing the entire settlement process, including fund transfers and ensuring all legal obligations are met on settlement day.

Dispute Resolution: Assisting in resolving disputes and safeguarding clients’ interests, at times involving a property lawyer when necessary.

Real Estate Agent’s role

The role of a real estate agent extends far beyond the initial property search or listing. While their primary function involves assisting in finding the ideal home or facilitating a successful sale, their work continues even after an Offer and Acceptance (O&A) is secured. Acting as a central communication hub among various parties, including buyers, sellers, mortgage brokers, and inspectors, they ensure all involved are updated on the transaction’s progress. Representing clients in negotiations and disputes over prices is also part of their responsibility.

However, post-O&A, their role expands:

Addressing Potential Issues: Resolving any issues arising after the contract is signed, which might involve renegotiations, addressing repair matters, or navigating unexpected challenges to ensure a smooth transaction.

Communication with the Settlement Agents: Serving as a liaison between parties to minimise stress and unnecessary involvement, ensuring a cohesive process.

Coordinating Inspections: Assisting in scheduling and managing property inspections, such as building or termite inspections, by the specified due date in the O&A.

Key Handover: Facilitating the final step, once the settlement is successful, by providing the keys to the new owners, concluding the transfer in an efficient manner.

Crucial differences between your conveyancer and real estate agent

Expertise: Conveyancers focus on the legal aspects and documentation of property transfers, ensuring legal compliance. Real estate agents specialise in property marketing, negotiation, and facilitating sales.

Client representation: Conveyancers primarily represent the legal interests of both buyers and sellers, while real estate agents chiefly represent the seller’s interests in marketing and negotiating the sale.

In partnership, conveyancers focus on the legal intricacies, ensuring the legal compliance and documentation necessary for a smooth property transfer. On the other hand, real estate agents excel in property marketing, negotiation, and overseeing sales, bridging buyers and sellers for successful transactions.

Collaboration between these professionals stands out as crucial for a seamless and successful property transaction in Perth. Their synergy covers legal and sales aspects, ensuring that the needs of both buyers and sellers are met.

By engaging both conveyancers and real estate agents, clients can rest assured of a well-rounded approach that leads to a smooth and successful property transaction experience in Perth.

Building Inspections: Your Property’s Best Friend

Before you decide to buy a property, we highly recommend that you obtain a building inspection from an experienced, reputable, and registered building inspector.

These inspections are more than just a formality; they’re your safeguard against unforeseen problems and unexpected costs down the track.

In this article, we outline why building inspections are so essential, including an important reminder that the seller’s obligations may vary. While major structural defects are typically covered, it’s crucial to note that sellers are generally only obligated to rectify items they are contractually required to address. For instance, issues like roof plumbing are unlikely to be included in their obligations.

Additionally, most contracts include a clause regarding the “good working order” of electrical, gas, and plumbing fixtures and fittings, but this isn’t always guaranteed.

Understanding property building inspections

Have you ever wished you could take your potential home for a test drive before making the big purchase? Unfortunately, unlike a car, you can’t do that with a house. That’s where pre-purchase building inspections come in.

They’re your window into what’s happening beneath the surface. These inspections primarily focus on identifying major structural issues like building subsidence, as well as other critical defects that could impact your comfort, such as plumbing problems or troublesome roof leaks.

Choosing the right time for an inspection

The ideal moment for a building and pest inspection typically arrives after you’ve submitted an offer for a property. It’s essential that both the building and pest inspections are included as conditions of sale in the Offer and Acceptance document.

As a buyer, you’ll be responsible for arranging both inspections. Once you’ve identified a building inspector or inspection company you trust, they’ll liaise with the selling agent to schedule a convenient time to assess the property. Your appointed settlement agent can assist with recommending a reputable building inspection company.

Exploring the costs

The cost of a pre-purchase building inspection can vary significantly, ranging from $300 to $1,000. Several factors influence the price tag. It depends on who conducts the inspection, their qualifications, and their experience.

Keep in mind that a seasoned inspector with an extensive track record may charge a bit more, but their reputation is often worth the investment. Additionally, the complexity of the inspection itself can affect the cost.

If the property has numerous rooms, features like a pool or sheds, multiple levels, or holds heritage status, these factors may increase the overall expense. On the bright side, many building inspectors offer fixed-price options, so don’t hesitate to inquire about this when scheduling your inspection.

How long does an inspection take?

If you opt for a building inspection with a pest inspection included, it may extend to approximately 2 to 3 hours. Several factors influence the duration, including the property’s size, style, and most importantly, the number of defects that need attention.

Upon receiving the inspection reports, our team will swing into action. As your appointed settlement agent, we take the time to review the reports meticulously. Our goal is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the property’s condition and any issues identified during the inspection.

Uncover hidden issues

An inspection can reveal the true condition of the property, bringing hidden issues to light. Sometimes, even the property owner may not be aware of existing problems. By having an inspection, you gain the advantage of knowing the property’s actual state, enabling you to negotiate more effectively. You can request necessary repairs or adjustments to the purchase price before settlement.

Detect termite activity

In Perth, where the climate is conducive to termite activity, detecting termite infestations early can save you from significant damage and expenses. Building inspections are a crucial tool for identifying current and previous termite damage. Plus, they provide valuable insights into conditions that may attract termites, such as low-lying pathways, water pooling, garden beds close to the dwelling, or the use of timber sleepers in gardens and paths.

Common issues uncovered in building inspections

Here are some of the most common issues our experienced inspectors have encountered during building inspections in Perth:

    • Rising damp
    • Termite damage (current and previous)
    • Leaking showers
    • Roof leaks
    • Footing failures
    • Structural issues
    • Stormwater drains not properly connected

Beware of unqualified inspectors

Not all building inspectors in WA are created equal. Shockingly, some individuals can complete a two or three-day course and then start working as a “building inspector.”

As a settlement agency with three decades of experience, we’ve seen our fair share of subpar reports that have caused significant distress to buyers and sellers.

Don’t cut corners on building inspections

We understand that buying or selling a home can be a costly process, and keeping your expenses down is crucial. However, when it comes to building inspections, this is one aspect where we strongly advise against choosing the cheapest option. Avoiding or cutting corners on a thorough inspection can lead to costly surprises down the road, putting your purchase and peace of mind at risk.

We’re committed to ensuring that your property transaction is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Building inspections are your best defence against unforeseen property issues, and they provide invaluable peace of mind.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in your property journey.