For many people, buying (and selling) their home is the largest legal transaction they will deal with. Often it is their only dealing with a law firm.
Conveyancing is the area of law dealing with the legal aspects of buying and selling property. While conveyancing is a commonly practised area of law, many people make the mistake of assuming it is simple, or do not appreciate the disasters that can occur if it not dealt with correctly.
1. Conveyancing in Queensland must be handled by a lawyer
Some Australian states allow licensed conveyancers to undertake conveyancing work. In Queensland, however, paid conveyancing work must be undertaken by a properly qualified (and insured) solicitor under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld).
Many ‘bulk conveyancing’ practices use paralegals for the majority of a conveyance, under the supervision of a solicitor. At Ballantyne Law Group, conveyancing is solicitor led from start to finish, so you know you will always be able to contact a qualified lawyer if you have any questions or problems.
2. Fixed price conveyancing isn’t always fixed price
Many firms offer ‘fixed price’ conveyancing, but be sure to read the fine print as to what the offer entails. Generally, conveyancing costs comprise a professional fee component (which is for the work undertaken by the firm) as well as expenses (which will generally cover searches, agent’s costs etc) and GST. Some firms will charge additional for postage, petties, photocopying and other costs, or will charge a fee even if the contract is terminated under the building/pest/finance conditions. Others charge a ‘service fee’ for searches on top of the fees charged by the service provider.
Ballantyne Law Group offers a genuine fixed price conveyancing service with no hidden extras
3. Electronic conveyancing has arrived
The long awaited e-conveyancing regime has commenced in Queensland, and the Ballantyne Law Group is able to provide this service.
While electronic conveyancing is still in its infancy, it has the potential to reduce costs and stressors for buyers and sellers alike.
At this stage, we do not always recommend our clients engage in the e-conveyancing process – it will depend on the specific circumstances (and those of the other party), but we are happy to discuss the opportunities with you if you wish.
4. Special conditions should be drafted by a lawyer
Most residential conveyances in Queensland utilise either the REIQ or ADL standard terms contract. We are familiar with all of these contracts and their standard terms. In Queensland, the contract is generally prepared by the real estate agent acting on the sale.
It is often necessary due to some particular circumstance, for a buyer or seller to request special conditions be included in the contract. In such cases, these special conditions should be drafted by a lawyer (and not the parties themselves or the real estate agent). The Ballantyne Law Group regularly assists agents in preparing such special conditions.
5. A purchase transaction is generally more expensive than a sale transaction
Because a purchase transaction generally requires additional complex searches and additional work including the preparation of transfers and stamp duty, the professional fee for a purchase is generally higher than that of a sale, and additional expenses are generally incurred.
6. Foreign buyers seeking FIRB approval must now pay an application fee
Non-resident foreign purchasers generally need to apply for (and receive) approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before purchasing residential property in Australia. Since 1 December 2015, a non-refundable fee is payable on applications, with the fee dependant on the price of acquisition (starting at $5,000.00 for a price of $1,000,000.00 or less).
Before entering into a contract, non-resident foreign purchasers should consult with the Ballantyne Law Group to assist in drafting appropriate special conditions and preparing the FIRB application.
7. Commercial conveyancing is substantially different from residential conveyancing
Generally, the lower cost fixed fees offered for residential conveyancing cannot be replicated for the sale or purchase of commercial property. Additional considerations, such as Goods and Services Tax, Capital Gains Tax, leases and service agreements, mean that there are additional complexities to commercial conveyancing with greater professional fees applying.
Ballantyne Law Group can still offer cost-effective fixed commercial conveyancing, and we are happy to provide quotes on request.
How can the Ballantyne Law Group assist you?
Ballantyne Law Group offers cost effective, lawyer-led fixed price conveyancing service starting from $580.00 for a residential sale and $1,150.00 for a residential purchase (including expenses and GST*).
Please Contact us on (07) 5606 7332 to discuss this or any other matter.
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