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Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs ) about the conveyancing industry and Robbins Conveyancing. 

FAQs

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of real estate from one person or entity to another. This process involves preparation, execution, verification and lodgement of several documents.  Investigating the title of the property is one of the most important elements of conveyancing, as well as searching for anything that may affect the property such as proposals by government, illegal structures and outstanding rates.

What does a conveyancer do?

Buying a property can be an exciting time, but it can also be a very nervous time as it is often one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. A conveyancer will inform you of the steps to take in the transaction and guide you through the process of purchasing real estate.  A conveyancer will assist you to meet your legal obligations and to protect your rights and interests. A conveyancer’s work will include, but not be limited to:

  • Certificate of Title Searches
  • Government department and local authority searches
  • Contractual advice
  • Preparation and certification of legal documents
  • Document stamping
  • Calculating adjustments of rates and taxes
  • Preparation of settlement statements
  • Liasing with mortgagees and financiers
  • Settlement attendance
  • Verification of identity
  • Document storage
  • Services relating to buying and selling commercial & industrial property
  • Commercial and retail leases
  • Contracts for the sale and purchase of business
  • Subdivisions and new titles

What do I need to know before I sign?

Before you sign any contracts and legal paperwork, it is important to understand your rights and obligations. There are some important factors that you need to be aware of:

  • Form 1 (Section 7 Disclosure Statement): This is a formal statement by the vendor (seller) about details relating to the property under the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act (SA) 1994. The statement must be complete and accurate when served on the purchaser. Ensure that you are aware and understand all of the terms and conditions that are applicable, and ask your conveyance if you are unsure of anything contained in the statement.
  • Cooling Off periods: Most purchasers have a statutory right to terminate the Contract of Sale, also known as ‘cooling off’. The ‘cooling off’ period is usual two clear business days after the later of either receiving the complete and accurate Form 1 or entering into the Contract.

It is important to note that the ‘cooling off’ right does not exist if:

You have a certificate from an independent legal practitioner stating that you have waived the right to cool off;

The purchase was made through an auction and your bid was successful or you purchase later in the same day (note that the Form 1 must be available for inspection at the agent’s office at least three business days prior to the auction and at the place of auction at least 30 minutes before the auction commences);

A company is the purchaser;

In certain circumstances where the sale involves a tender or option to purchase; or

The purchaser is buying a business plus the property.

  • Capital Gains Withholding: New rules for foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW) apply to vendors disposing of certain taxable property under contracts entered into from 1 July 2017. The changes will apply to real property disposals where the contract price is $750,000 and above (previously $2 million) and the FRCGW withholding tax rate will be 12.5% (previously 10%).
    • Australian resident vendors can avoid the 12.5%  withholding by providing a clearance certificate obtained from the ATO, to the purchaser prior to settlement.
    • Foreign resident vendors may apply for a variation of the withholding rate.
    • Purchasers must pay the amount withheld at settlement to the Commissioner of Taxation.
  • Special Conditions: Your conveyancer will offer independent advice on any special conditions that are included in your Contract, for example, ‘subject to’ clauses such as loan approval and sale of an existing property.
  • Property Insurance: Usually, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to organize insurance on the property from the moment the Contract is signed. Hence you should organise insurance as soon as possible and obtain a Certificate of Currency with your mortgagee listed as an interested party.
  • Title Insurance: Title insurance is a one off premium for claims against unknown and undisclosed risks that threaten ownership and use of the property until settlement.
  • Building and Pest Inspection: Any inspections of the building should be conducted as soon as possible and preferably within the cooling off period. If it is not possible to do so within the cooling off period, the Contract should include a ‘subject to’ clause to that effect.
  • Costs involved: Talk to your conveyancer about any fees and charges that may be applicable to your transaction. Some fees and charges will include, but are not limited to:
    • Stamp duty
    • Registration of Transfer:
    • Government search fees- SA Government Property Interest Report (PIR) and Local Council searches
    • Strata and Community Title search costs
    • Rate and taxes adjustments
    • Conveyancing fees which will vary depending on complexity of the transaction
    • Disbursements- Lands Title Office (LTO) lodgement fees, SA Water meter readings, bank cheque fees, and file fees.

Your conveyancer will provide you with a reconciliation statement at the end of your settlement which will include a detailed summary of all amounts payable on the day of settlement.

What can my conveyancer advise me on?

Your conveyancer can provide advice on the following matters:

  • Types of title and forms of ownership;
  • Cooling off periods;
  • Circumstances that may affect settlement;
  • Available grants, concessions and rebates (for example, the First Home Owners Grant);
  • Fees and charges, including rates and taxes;
  • Change of ownership;
  • Legal obligations;
  • Insurance responsibilities;
  • Caveats and encumbrances; and
  • Special conditions and “subject too” clauses.

What are the costs of buying a property?

It is important that you are aware of all the costs associated with buying and selling property. Some costs may be unexpected so it is important to prepare yourself for all possible expenses, including, but not limited to:

  • Fees and charges payable on mortgages: Your mortgagee may charge fees, you should contact them directly to find out.
  • Stamp Duty: Stamp Duty is usually payable on the purchase of property. You will be notified of an estimate of this amount in due course. Alternatively you can access the stamp duty calculator at RevenueSA.
  • Registration fees: Registration fees are paid to the Lands Titles Office (‘LTO’). You will also be notified of these in due course. The registration fee calculator is available from Land Services Group
  • Rates and Taxes for the period that you will own the property: An adjustment will be calculated for rates and taxes from the date of ownership until the date they are paid up to. 
  • Removalist costs
  • Title Insurance: Title Insurance is a specialised insurance which provides protection to both home buyers and existing owners of residential property for certain unknown & hidden risks which may exist at the time of purchase. Some examples may be illegal buildings works, survey & boundary defects, fraud and identity theft. If you have selected yes, further details will be provided to you. The cost of title insurance is based on the purchase of the property. Robbins Conveyancing support First Title insurance. For a full schedule of premiums you can click here.
  • Conveyancing fees: 

Professional Fee: This is the fee which applies to the usual tasks undertaken for transactions of this type and includes checking the Contract and other documentation and advising of any implications, checking Statutory Searches, attending to the preparation of documents usually required to transfer the property, liaising with the Real Estate Agent and Purchaser’s Conveyancer, liaising with your financial institution in relation to your mortgage, preparing a Settlement Statement and undertaking all relevant financial calculations, coordinating and attending settlement at the Lands Titles Office, advising you once settlement has occurred and notifying the real estate agent that settlement has taken place. Robbins Conveyancing can provide you with a detailed quote for your transaction. This fee also includes the costs of disbursements that will be incurred as part of our service to you, for such things as postage, file storage (for a minimum of 7 years), courier costs, faxing, telephone usage, etc.

Government prescribed searches: Often there will be a need to order government prescribed statutory searches where enquiries need to be made on your behalf to prepare the appropriate forms to transfer ownership of the property. These costs are additional and your conveyancer can advise you further what cost will apply.

Verification of Identity and Authority: New legislation now requires your conveyancer (or an agent appointed by the conveyancer) to verify the identity of each client through a face to face interview and must certify each document lodged with the Lands Titles Office. They must also verify that you have the authority to enter into the transaction. The cost of your verification of identity and authority is included in the fixed fee unless you require a visit from a mobile Agent, Robbins Conveyancing utilise the services of IDSecure, who will charge you $79 inc GST for a one personal verification, $99 inc GST for a two person verification and $40 for any additional party thereafter.

E-conveyancing: National Electronic Conveyancing (NEC) provides a single system for online completion of real property transactions and lodging LTO dealings within Australia. It is a fast, accurate and efficient method of conducting transfers. Electronic settlements via PEXA are $107.80.

It is always best to ask your conveyancer if you are unsure of the costs, as there can be unexpected fees and charges associated with your transaction.

What are the costs of selling a property?

Just as with buying property, there are costs associated with selling property, which can include, but are not limited to:

  • Loan repayments: Your mortgagee will provide your conveyancer with a final payout figure on the day of settlement. 
  • Fees and charges to discharge any mortgages/encumbrances/caveats: If you have a mortgage, encumbrance or caveat on your title that needs to be removed, the Lands Titles Office will charge a fee for this to be discharged.
  • Agent sales commissions and advertising costs: If you are using a real estate agent, they may be entitled to commission and advertising costs. You should contact your agent for full details.
  • Search charges: Government prescribed enquiries may need to be made on your behalf to prepare the appropriate forms to sell and transfer ownership of the property. 
  • Rates and Taxes for the period that you will own the property: An adjustment will be calculated for rates and taxes until the date of settlement. If you have outstanding amounts these will be paid at settlement. 
  • Removalist costs
  • Conveyancing fees:

Professional Fee: This is the fee which applies to the usual tasks undertaken for transactions of this type and includes checking the Contract and other documentation and advising of any implications, checking Statutory Searches, attending to the preparation of documents usually required to transfer the property, liaising with the Real Estate Agent and Purchaser’s Conveyancer, liaising with your financial institution in relation to your mortgage, preparing a Settlement Statement and undertaking all relevant financial calculations, coordinating and attending settlement at the Lands Titles Office, advising you once settlement has occurred and notifying the real estate agent that settlement has taken place. Robbins Conveyancing can provide you with a detailed quote for your transaction.This fee also includes the costs of disbursements that will be incurred as part of our service to you, for such things as postage, file storage (for a minimum of 7 years), courier costs, faxing, telephone usage, etc.

Government prescribed searches: Often there will be a need to order government prescribed statutory  searches where enquiries need to be made on your behalf to prepare the appropriate forms to transfer ownership of the property. These costs are additional and your conveyancer can advise you further what cost will apply.

Verification of Identity and Authority: New legislation now requires your conveyancer (or an agent appointed by the conveyancer) to verify the identity of each client through a face to face interview and must certify each document lodged with the Lands Titles Office. They must also verify that you have the authority to enter into the transaction. The cost of your verification of identity and authority is included in the fixed fee unless you require a visit from a mobile Agent, Robbins Conveyancing utilise the services of IDSecure, who will charge you $79 inc GST for a one personal verification, $99 inc GST for a two person verification and $40 for any additional party thereafter.

E-conveyancing: National Electronic Conveyancing (NEC) provides a single system for online completion of real property transactions and lodging LTO dealings within Australia. It is a fast, accurate and efficient method of conducting transfers. Electronic settlements via PEXA are $107.80.

It is always best to ask your conveyancer if you are unsure of the costs, as there can be unexpected fees and charges associated with your transaction.

What do we charge?

One of the costs involved in your transaction will be the fees that you pay to your conveyancer. Your conveyancer’s fees at Robbins Conveyancing reflect their professionalism and the complexity of your transaction. In South Australia and Adelaide fees are not regulated and are reflective of the amount of time and specialized skill required for your particular transaction. We will provide you with a quote for your transaction which will be based on the work that is required. If additional work is required we will contact you prior to commencing any work to explain why there will be an additional charge.

Where are we located?

Robbins Conveyancing are located in the Blackwood, near the Adelaide Hills. However, we services all areas of South Australia and Adelaide and specialise in meeting with our clients at times and locations that are convenient for them. 

Can I do the conveyancing work myself?

Whilst it is not against the law to do the conveyancing work yourself, it is not recommended. Conveyancing requires highly technical legal work and if an error is made it may cause settlement to be delayed and cause substantial additional costs or even termination of contract by the other party.

Do I need a solicitor?

No, registered conveyancers are skilled in this area of legal work and you do not need to use a solicitor. Whilst some conveyancers are qualified solicitors, there is specialized teritiary education available for non-solicitors to qualify them to act in this area.

Do we use E-conveyancing?

Robbins Conveyancing are “E-ready” and able to transact with other conveyancers who are also “E-ready”. This is the fastest and most efficient method of conducting your transfer. There is an additional fee of $107.80 (payable by the client) to transfer a title electronically and we will need to obtain your consent before we conduct an electronic settlement on your behalf.

Can you recommend a reliable removalist?

Yes, Robbins Conveyancing recommend the services of Complete Removals. You can check out their page here

Should the buyer and seller use the same conveyancer?

Whilst is would seem convenient to use the same conveyancer, it is not recommended to do so. If a conveyancer acts for both parties there is a potential for a conflict of interest to arise, resulting in the conveyance being forced to cease to act, which can cause delays and additional costs.

Do we have indemnity insurance?

Yes, Robbins Conveyancing holds Professional Indemnity Insurance through MARSH up to a limited of 1.5million liability. This is to protect the client in the unlikely event that an error is made.

Are you protected by Australian Consumer Law?

A conveyancer is providing a professional service and is therefore liable in negligence for work that is not done to a particular standard. The Australian Consumer Law sets out guarantees that relating to the supply of services. These guarantees provide that a client will be provided with due care and skill, fit for purpose and completed within a reasonable time frame. For more information visit the ACCC website.