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What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing  is the term for the legal processes to transfer the ownership of real property from one person to another. There are usually two stages in a conveyancing transaction:

The sale of land is governed by the laws and practices of the jurisdiction in which the land is located. For example, if the property is in Queensland (which is the jurisdiction) then the sale of the property will be governed by the laws and practices issued of the Land Titles Practice Manual. It is a legal requirement in all jurisdictions that contracts for the sale of land be in writing.  

The signing of contracts involves two copies of a contract of sale being signed, one copy of which is retained by each party. When the parties are together, both would usually sign both copies, one copy of which is retained by each party, sometimes with a formal handing over of a copy from one party to the other.  

However, it is usually sufficient that only the copy retained by each party be signed by the other party only. This enables contracts to be “exchanged” by mail or email. Both copies of the contract of sale become binding on the parties. 

Conveyancing in Queensland:

A solicitor or conveyancer usually carries out conveyancing in Queensland; however, some people prefer to ‘self-act’ and complete the process themselves, but due to the complexity of varying council laws and processes, this is usually not recommended. 

The usual process in Queensland for a Sale conveyance is short and simple. It usually involves ensuring that the sale price will cover the mortgage over the property (if there is one recorded on Title) and for the seller to start the process of instructing their mortgagee to release the recorded mortgage at settlement. 

For a buyer in Queensland, the process is usually more thorough and involves satisfying the contract’s standard conditions such as Building and Pest, and Finance. The buyer is also required to order searches. Standard searches for a purchase include Land Tax, Council Rates and a Special Water Meter Reading. However, there are various additional searches that a buyer may instruct their solicitor or conveyancer to order. Additional searches are not used for settlement calculations but rather provide the buyer with further information relating to the property which can be used under specific conditions benefiting the buyer’s rights such as a Due Diligence Condition. 

Once the above has been completed, settlement can proceed either as a manual settlement (paper settlement) or an electronic settlement on the Property Exchange Australia platform also commonly known as PEXA. In Queensland we have the best of both worlds – we can proceed with settlement in either form because PEXA is not mandatory in our state; however, it is highly recommended as PEXA is a faster method of settling the transaction. Most banks and law firms will offer PEXA if they are subscribers; this is usually identified and agreed between the parties in the transaction’s initial stages. 

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