Buying a property is an exciting prospect, but it can also be frustrating when you’re faced with conveyancing delays.
After you have had your offer accepted on a house of your choice, the conveyancing part of the transaction begins. Conveyancing is when a professional will help you with the legal requirements of transferring the property to your name. The process usually includes include ensuring that your Contract includes provision for you to obtain a Building and/or Pest Inspection, including a Special Condition enabling you to check whether all necessary Council approvals and inspections have been conducted in respect of the improvements on the property, and determining whether the Seller owes any land tax to the Office of State Revenue as a result of the ownership of the property (land tax attaches to the property, not the Owner). Upon settlement, conveyancing provides the correct legal documentation to transfer the property into the buyer’s name.
Usually, the process of conveyancing is straightforward, but there are situations in which you might experience conveyancing delays. Conveyancing delays are not uncommon but they can be frustrating.
The speed of conveyancing usually relies on all parties being quick to respond and on the ability for all parties to work together. However, there are other reasons in which conveyancing delays may occur.
The Conveyancing Delays
1/ Being slow to plan
As soon as you place an offer on a property, you should offer your solicitor’s details to your real estate agent. Therefore, as soon as your offer is accepted, you can begin the process. It’s therefore important to select a conveyancing firm early on in your search for a property to avoid delays.
Also, not receiving documents on time can also impact the process. Some parties are slow to finish their end of the legal aspect and this slows down the transaction. A lack of communication and planning on when to hand over the documents can impact conveyancing.
2/ Different time scales
You may want a short settlement and the other party may want a long settlement. Trying to agree on time frames may also slow down the transaction. The other party may not sign or review documents quickly and this can cause significant conveyancing delays. For your part, ensure that you quickly return documents and are available for communication with your conveyancer.
3/ Completing searches
There are standard searches that occur with most property transactions, but you may require additional searches that can take longer than expected.
These searches may include checking with the Department of Main Roads and Queensland Transport to ensure that your property will not be affected by any road or transport infrastructure and check with the Local Council to ensure that all Council rates are paid up to date and to determine if there are any flooding issues affecting the property.
Other searches may even extend to conducting searches of the Contaminated Land Register and the Environmental Management Register to ensure that the property is not affected by any notices under the Environment Protection Act or Orders from a Court relating to environmental issues.
4/ Incorrect information
Nothing causes conveyancing delays like providing incorrect information! It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes incorrect information is provided to a solicitor or real estate agent; it just happens. You can put down the wrong financial information or personal information. Your head may be spinning after writing your address 20 times! Get someone to check your paperwork before you submit it, and make sure that you are available for communication with your conveyancer to fix any mistakes that are found.
Your conveyancer will ensure that the settlement of the property takes place. Settlement occurs where the seller receives money for selling the Property and the buyer receives a “clear title” to the Property. Subsequently, stamp duty is usually paid for the transfer and a written document known as a “Form 1- Transfer” signed by the parties is lodged in the land titles office to register the buyer as the owner of the Property with the Queensland Government.
If there are any issues with the documents or the settlement figures, conveyancing delays can occur.
It sounds crazy, but people sometimes sign a contract to buy a property and then go on holidays! Or you may buy your house just before Easter long weekend, and there is a series of consecutive public holidays. Make sure you make allowances for holidays or public holidays in your contract.
The conveyancing process can be quite difficult to navigate and is fraught with risks if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The process usually starts with the parties signing a Contract, with subsequent searches being conducted to ensure a buyer is happy with various aspects of the Property. The buyer will usually also need to arrange finance and have a building and pest report of the Property undertaken. If there is a mortgage over the Property, the seller will need to arrange for the mortgage to be released at settlement.
We always recommend that you engage the services of a conveyancing solicitor when buying and selling property. To find out more, contact us today.