Q: What is a conveyancer?
A: An attorney who specialises in ensuring that the exchange of money and property, and the lodging of property title deeds at the Deeds Office, happens smoothly and on schedule. He or she steps into the picture once the estate agent has finalised the purchase agreement and has obtained approved financing from the relevant financial institution.
Q: Is only one lawyer involved?
A: No. There are usually two, the Seller's conveyancer and the bank, or financial institution financing the purchase, has its own conveyancer.
The seller's conveyancer takes the lead in driving through the transfer process, taking full responsibility for finalising the transaction. He or she calls in the purchaser and seller to sign the transfer documents and obtains payment from the purchaser of transfer duty and all transfer costs.
Q: What else do they do?
A: The conveyancer requests the property's title deeds from the seller's bondholder, who cancels the bond, and also requests rates clearance on the property from the local authority to determine the amount the purchaser need pay for the balance of the year. A valuation certificate is also requested for transfer duty purposes.
Q: How long does this take?
A: The entire transfer process takes about six or seven weeks. About three weeks before the property is transferred to the purchaser the conveyancer pays over the transfer duty so the process of lodging the transfer documents with the Deeds Office can begin.
About 10 days before transfer is due the conveyancer lodges with the Deeds Office all deeds associated with the transaction – the bond cancellation, transfer and new bond. This is when the final account for all money outstanding is sent to the purchaser.
A few days before transfer date the papers are inspected at the Deeds Office and, if anything is wrong with any one of the papers, the entire batch is rejected. This means the conveyancer must make the necessary corrections and begin the process again.
On the morning of registration the purchaser or the purchaser's conveyancer pays the seller's conveyancer whatever is owing, collects the proceeds of the new bond from the bondholder's conveyancer and ensures that the whole batch of documents is registered at the Deeds Office, and signed by the registrar.
Q: Can a transfer date be guaranteed?
A: No. There may be complications in checking the paper work, such as delays in getting the correct information from the local authorities on rates due, or last minute financial issues.