Welcome to part 9 of our Buy Property in Australia from Overseas Series. This week will look at completing the process of buying property in Australia. (To start at the beginning of the series, read Part 1: Real Estate Industry Professionals Foreign Investors Should Deal With).
Once you’ve found the perfect Australian home, it’s only a matter of time before everything’s completed and you’re able to possess the property. While you’re waiting, your agent, solicitor, and lending institution will be busy tying up loose ends in anticipation of settlement day. Part of completing the process is letting a conveyancer or solicitor handle the legal aspects of completing the sale. You can do your own conveyancing, but licensed conveyancers are covered by insurance that you can’t get, so if you make a mistake you will be liable for all of the costs.
The Conveyance Process
Conveyance is simply the term used in Australia to explain the legal process of tying up all loose ends so a real estate contracts can be settled. When you hire a professional conveyancer or solicitor you are agreeing to their fees, so make sure you get an itemised list of exactly what services they’ll provide and how much they charge. Some of the common duties of a conveyancer include: organising inspections, handling any issues that crop up with financing, discussing with you and arranging for payment of stamp duties, reviewing all contracts and agreements between you and the seller and you and the mortgage company, administering the change of land title with the council if needed, handling deposit payments, and visiting the property for a final walk-through before the settlement. As an overseas buyer, it’s much easier to hire an Australian conveyancer to handle these tasks, and your agent can help you locate one.
Last Minute Things that May Come Up
The biggest hassle of waiting for settlement day is not knowing if something unexpected is going to crop up at the last minute. Last minute contractual changes sometimes occur if both parties agree, such as a change in the closing date. Other times you may be waiting on an inspector to finish and send in his report before you can move forward with the closing. If there were certain parameters set up in the contract that the seller had to meet before the closing and they haven’t, you may find yourself having to contact the seller or their real estate agent before the closing to make sure the contractual terms are met.
The Day of Settlement
Once all of the loose ends are tied up, there will be a meeting to sign the final documents and pay the final fees. This is the day you become the property owner. Most settlements go smoothly, as all parties are eager to finish the process. Your conveyancer or solicitor should be at the closing to handle any legal matters. Once you settle, the property is your and you’re free to move into it or start building a new home.