Conveyancing Business and Property law
each year we help thousands of queenslanders with their conveyancing
A snapshot of what we do for you
Our conveyancing team at Mudgeeraba will assist you both before and after you enter into a contract. As part of our conveyancing service, we will review your contract before you sign to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We will identify and explain any potential legal problems with the contract to you.
There will often be “special conditions” to your contract that you should be properly advised on by a legal professional. Even if these conditions are in the contract for your benefit, you need to be sure that the wording used achieves what you intended it to. We take the time to ensure that the contract you sign achieves what it is that you expect it to. Further, we will explain any obligations that arise when you sign the contract, and the steps required to be taken by you throughout each part of the conveyancing process. Taking five minutes to have one of our conveyancing lawyers look over your contract may save you hours of time and much heart-break.
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What you can expect as our client
Our team will provide you with the highest standard of legal conveyancing advice in a personal and friendly manner.
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Our conveyancing service is provided on a competitive, upfront, fee basis. Give us a call on (07) 5530 5700 and we will be happy to discuss our fees for this service with you.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process by which ownership of property is transferred from one person (the seller/ vendor) to another (the buyer/ purchaser).
Under a standard contact of sale, transfer duty (also known as stamp duty) is payable by the buyer of a property. How much stamp duty is payable is determined by the purchase price of the property, taking into account any stamp duty concessions or exemptions that may apply. We calculate your stamp duty for you and advise you of exactly how much duty you can expect to pay.
What is Settlement and what happens?
Settlement refers to the finalisation of the conveyancing process. There are usually four parties involved:
- the seller’s lawyer or representative;
- the seller’s bank representative;
- the buyer’s lawyer or representative; and
- the buyer’s bank representative.
At the time of settlement, the Seller’s mortgage (if any) will be discharged and relevant documentation delivered to the Buyer’s representative. The Buyer’s representative checks the documentation to ensure it is all correct and delivers the same to the Buyer’s bank representative. The Buyer’s bank will then release cheques, which allow the transaction to settle.
Directly following settlement the Estate Agents are authorised to release any deposits held and deliver the keys to the property to the new owner.
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What happens if either party can't settle on the due date?
It is a reasonably common occurrence that for one reason or another a Buyer or Seller may not be able to settle as planned. In this case, an extension of time will likely be sought. This is of particular importance in Queensland as ‘time is of the essence’ which means that as a particular obligation (Settlement) has been set down for a particular day/ time, it must be done according to the agreement. An extension of time is usually granted, though not always. If an extension of time is refused, it may leave a party in breach of the agreement, which can result in forfeiture of any deposits paid, as well as other penalties. We have an in-depth understanding of the law concerning property transactions and will negotiate these (and other) conveyancing pitfalls for you!
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What is the cooling off period?
Some agreements for the sale of real property in Queensland are subject to a statutory cooling-off period to afford the Buyer some extra protection. Statutory cooling-off periods and disclosure requirements have been established under the Property and Motor vehicle Dealers Act (PAMDA).
A cooling-off period is the right of a Buyer to cancel the agreement for any reason within 5 working days from the date the accepted contract is delivered back to the Buyer.
Cancelling the agreement may cost a Buyer 0.25% of the total purchase price and so we recommend that you seek our expert advice in relation to this before you cancel an agreement under cooling-off provision.
The cooling-off period does not apply to all transactions, such as Auction, and can be shortened or waived by completion of a certificate by your Solicitor.
What's the difference between Queensland and New South Wales contracts?
Queensland Law is different to the other states, including New South Wales. In Queensland for example, time is of the essence. This means parties must settle on the agreed date unless both agree otherwise. In New South Wales, it is not, which means settlement can be extended without penalty.
It’s a tough outlook for residential property – but there can be opportunities for the serious long-term investor at times like these.
Auction clearance rates have also fallen dramatically over the past year, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, where they were above 80 per cent this time last year. Recent figures suggest that auction clearance rates have fallen below 50 per cent in Sydney and 60 per cent in Melbourne.
When you get to the heart of what’s been happening in residential property, the trigger for the squeeze has been the tightening in prudential lending standards and the banks raising interest rates on investment and interest-only loans. In my experience, most peoples’ borrowing capacities have been reduced by 20-40 per cent or more over the past 24 months, which is the most severe contraction in credit policy in the 16 years I have been in business.
Typically, experienced property professionals consider an auction clearance rate of about 60 per cent to represent a balanced property market. That is, a market that is neither dominated by buyers nor sellers. To put it another way, the balance of power probably rests slightly in favour of property buyers, not sellers. Also, it appears that prices are relatively stable for Sydney, which has experienced a small price correction.
Most property buyers don’t appreciate that property prices tend to move in a non-linear fashion rather than incrementally over time. As economist Don Stammer has mentioned in these pages, the history of property prices is closer to a “step-like-path”.
For example, the price of an average two-bedroom apartment in a particular suburb might consistently be around $500,000 as supported by several sales over many months.
Without any warning, due to market demand, the price of a comparable two-bedroom apartment might suddenly jump to say, $530,000 over the course of only one to two weekends.
However, property buyers tend to struggle to adjust their personal expectations in line with these market movements. That is, they struggle to reconcile why ostensibly the same property now costs $30,000 more than it did a week ago. But this is how the property market tends to behave.
That is, prices can jump significantly over very short periods of time and as such, set a new benchmark. If property buyers don’t quickly adjust their price expectations in line with the new market levels, they risk getting left behind.
Therefore, it stands to reason that operating in a cooler market or a market where prices are relatively stable makes it far easier for property buyers to assess the fair market value of real estate.
Understandably, a bullish property market tends to instil confidence in the minds of property buyers whereas a falling market can make property buyers feel uneasy and, as a result, delay or forfeit purchasing.
People think: “If everyone is out buying property, then it must be a good time to do so. “However, when it comes to investing, such social proof is often unhelpful. A contrarian approach typically produces superior investment outcomes. As Warren Buffet says: “Buy when offers are fearful.” That makes sense in the property market, too.
Interestingly, the Russell Investments/ASX Long-term Investing Report was released this week. It is typically used by investors to rank the best-performing asset class for the past 10 and 20 years. According to this report, residential property investment returns have compared favourably to other asset classes over the 20 years to the end of last year. Residential property has returned 10.2 per cent, Australian shares 8.8 per cent and global shares 7.4 per cent over the past 20 years.
This report suggests that, if you invest in an investment-grade property, you could enjoy very healthy investment returns if history repeats itself…and it invariably does in every investment class.
Contact Cholm at our office for all of your conveyancing and property needs.
Article by Stuart Wemyss – The Australian. July 2018
Stuart is an independent financial advisor and author of Investopoly: The 8 Rules for Mastering the Game of Building Wealth