Why you need a lawyer when you buy a property

Buying a property is a huge milestone and likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it pays to have your wits about you.

The process of buying a home can be exciting, but scary to navigate. There are plenty of things that you can do yourself, like a title search, but how do you know what you’re looking for or in fact where to find it? A lawyer can gather the right documents, recommend the right connections to make sure your finances are in order and review the contract when you buy. Here’s some things a lawyer can do to support your next property purchase.

  1. Conducting a title search

There are many reasons why you may need to conduct a title search such as buying or selling property, proving ownership or refinancing your mortgage. A Certificate of Title (CT) is a public and legal record of land ownership, including interests and restrictions on the land. In Australia, state land registries hold the title information. It can be viewed by doing a Title Search through an authorised provider, like InfoTrack. A title search includes the names of the property owner(s), restrictions on the land, mortgage details, lease details and other relevant information associated with the property.

  1. Alerting you to environmental hazards and upcoming development applications (DAs)

A property lawyer or conveyancer knows where and what to look for when it comes to what may impact your property of choice. For example, does the land have a history of contamination? How will that affect your purchase today and in the future? Similarly, is there any applications for development in the area that will affect the value of your chosen property. A good lawyer will do their due diligence to ensure you feel secure making your property purchase.

  1. Contract and tax advice

Recently, the NSW Government updated it’s stamp duty requirements as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan to encourage first home buyers into the market. A lawyer can help you get your calculations right to ensure you maximise your deposit funds.

  1. Safely exchanging contracts and funds

Don’t fall for bullying tactics of real estate agents who say the seller will move on to another offer if you don’t sign the contract right away. There is always time to call your lawyer and securely share with them a copy of the contract.

Sadly, the property industry is a prime target for hackers purely because of large amounts of funds and private information being electronically transferred. Software like Securexchange can help. This is a complimentary service that allows lawyers, conveyancers and real estate agents to communicate safely when it comes to sharing contract information and transferring funds between buyers and sellers.

  1. If your purchase is off the plan, is it still correct at time of settlement?

As development and construction of an off-the-plan property goes ahead, the plans can change. While although some changes are okay, it’s important you get them checked out. A lawyer can use planning software to help understand the property lots being developed. A lawyer can also go through the contract before settlement to confirm any change is reasonable.

  1. What do you need to do to settle?

In different states across Australia, the process for property settlement is different. Some states have mandated electronic conveyancing while others have not. So, if you’re buying interstate, it pays to have a lawyer on your side who understands the legislation and what to do.

When you buy a property, it pays to seek professional advice. Property lawyers and conveyancers know all the steps required in purchasing a property, so no stone is left unturned meaning less chance your new purchase falls through. If you read the contract yourself, you risk misunderstanding important elements of the contract or missing clauses. A lawyer will make sure you are protected during a purchase, checking for the right inclusions and exclusions and any unfair clauses in the contract.

Protect yourself and your clients with Securexchange