Conveyancing & Property Law

Whether you are buying your first property, building an investment portfolio, selling the family home, or getting involved in a development project, we can help you make informed decisions to ensure that the transaction runs as smoothly as possible.

Buying and selling residential property

Buying and selling property usually involves one of the largest financial decisions a person ever makes. It is essential to understand your legal rights and the implications of entering a binding contract for the sale of land.

A written contract containing the terms and conditions of sale with prescribed disclosure documents must be available before selling a residential property in New South Wales. The vendor must also give certain warranties about the property. Purchasers, however, still need to make their own enquiries to ensure that the property meets their needs and that any potential defects or adverse interests are uncovered.

Our clients benefit from the combined knowledge of our experienced property and conveyancing team. If you are selling, we can prepare a compliant contract that meets the prescribed regulations but is also tailored to your individual property and needs. If you are buying, we can step you through the contract, negotiate conditions to help protect your interests and recommend investigations to ensure you know what you are buying. We will liaise with relevant parties and attend to the various steps required to ensure that your property transaction is completed in accordance with the contract terms and your expectations.

Completing your property transaction using e-conveyancing

Traditionally, property settlements involved the physical meeting of lawyers and bankers to check and swap documents and bank cheques. Documents were then lodged with government authorities to transfer the title and change ownership details of the property.

E-conveyancing has transformed this process through an electronic platform which enables lawyers, conveyancers, and financial institutions to transact online. Online settlements remove the location and time barriers of physical settlements and provide faster access to sales funds. Each stage of a transaction can be visually tracked, and documents lodged online with land registries.

The online property exchange known as Property Exchange Australia (PEXA), operates nationally to provide a standardised platform for the completion of online property transactions. We conduct numerous conveyancing and property related matters for a range of clients and are conversant with all aspects of e-conveyancing.

Buying off the plan

Buying a property ‘off the plan’ involves arrangements to buy property that has not yet been registered as a single lot with the relevant land titles registry. The transaction may involve the purchase of vacant land forming part of a subdivision or a ‘house and land package’ for the construction of a new house or unit to be built on that land.

Contracts for off-the-plan purchases are generally more complex than contracts for the sale of an existing dwelling. They are usually lengthy and contain various conditions and variables, and flexible completion dates providing a buffer to allow developers additional time to finish the project and complete the contract. The contract usually also provides a right for the vendor/developer to make variances in the design, size, and finishes, subject to permissible limits.

To deal with the uncertainty in timelines, purchasers buying off the plan should have a contingency plan. They will also need to carefully monitor their financial circumstances – with most loan approvals only lasting a few months, they will need to ensure that their lender is kept informed of progress and finance will still be available when it is time to complete the transaction.

Buying or selling at auction

An auction occurs when interested purchasers register to bid publicly for a property. The person or entity with the highest bid, subject to a reserve price, becomes the purchaser on the day of the auction. Contracts are immediately binding (there are no cooling-off rights), and the deposit is payable.
Auctions are regulated by legislation and the agent conducting the auction must maintain specific records and conduct the auction in accordance with the regulations.
If you propose bidding at an auction, it is important to have the contract reviewed and carry out any due diligence well before the auction date.

Commercial and retail leasing

A commercial lease governs the relationship between a landlord and tenant regarding the tenant’s right to occupy premises owned by the landlord. Commercial leasing disputes usually arise because of poorly drafted, ambiguous, or non-existent lease agreements, and/or the failure of the parties to properly understand their obligations under the lease.

Retail leases are commercial leases regulated by specific legislation which typically applies to premises within shopping centres or that are used wholly or predominantly for conducting a retail business. Retail leasing legislation aims to enhance consumer protection by stipulating minimum terms and conditions and limiting certain provisions deemed unreasonable for a tenant. The legislation also imposes certain disclosure obligations upon a landlord.

Landlords and tenants should obtain appropriate advice to ensure their negotiations are properly reflected in a lease agreement, and the provisions comply with relevant legislation.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call (02) 4987 3344 for expert legal advice.