Conveyancing & Property Law
We have extensive experience in conveyancing and property law including residential and commercial property transactions, off-the-plan sales and purchases, subdivisions and high-rise developments, commercial and retail leasing, and general advice regarding property-related matters.
Selling your property
Before marketing your property for sale, you will need to have prepared a contract of sale and a vendor’s statement (section 32 statement). The contract includes details about you, your agent, your lawyer or conveyancer, the property, and any relevant special conditions.
The vendor’s statement discloses certain information affecting the property that is not always apparent by physical inspection. A vendor’s statement is a legal document – it must be factually accurate and complete. If it contains false, incorrect, or insufficient information a purchaser may be able to withdraw from the sale or take legal action.
If the property is affected by an owners corporation, there is also the requirement to include an owners’ corporation certificate.
If you have done any owner builder works, you will need to include a defects report and potentially a certificate of insurance in respect of those works.
We can assist you with the entire process, from preparing your contract and related documents, to negotiating on your behalf and finalising the sale using the electronic settlement platform ‘PEXA’.
Buying a residential property
Before signing a contract to purchase property, we recommend you speak to somebody from our property team to ensure that you understand the provisions in the contract and the section 32 statement.
We will explain the terms and conditions of the contract, and go through the section 32 statement which generally includes important information about the property such as the title, encumbrances, mortgages or easements, council planning, contaminated land, etc.
We will recommend any additional searches and enquiries that may help protect your interests and explain your cooling-off rights.
We can assist with every step of your purchase, negotiating on your behalf and liaising with your bank to ensure settlement goes smoothly.
What happens after a property is sold?
Exchange of contracts triggers the countdown to the settlement date specified in the contract. This can vary but is usually between thirty to ninety days. During this period your legal representative will liaise with other parties such as lenders, estate agents, and the other side’s lawyers to organise settlement. Additional investigations are often carried out on behalf of the purchaser.
Rates and other recurrent outgoings regarding the property are adjusted between the purchaser and vendor which are reflected in a settlement statement. At settlement, the balance of the purchase price is paid in exchange for the transfer documents and the certificate of title.
Electronic Settlement through PEXA
The national electronic conveyancing settlements system, PEXA, is now part of the conveyancing process in Victoria. We have been members of PEXA since October 2015. PEXA operates nationally to provide a standardised platform for the completion of online property transactions. Online settlements remove the location and time barriers of physical settlements, visually track the progress of each stage of the transaction and facilitate online lodgement of documents with land registries and authorities. Completing the settlement of a property electronically via PEXA has many benefits, including:
- Funds are transferred electronically as part of settlement and depending on the vendor’s financial institution, may be available within hours.
- Lodgement of documents occurs in real time so the purchaser’s interest will be lodged against the title in a matter of minutes, rather than days or weeks. PEXA also provides cover, subject to conditions, in the event of any late, unforeseen activity (such as a caveat) impacting registration at the Land Registry. This comes at no additional cost to the purchaser.
- Reducing the risk of a delay in settlement due to documentation errors.
- Eliminating the need for some personal attendance by you in signing documentation.
- Avoiding the need to obtain or receive bank cheques.
A subdivision involves the partition of land into smaller parcels. Once the land is subdivided, a title is created for each new portion of land which can be separately sold and transferred.
Land subdivision is governed by a matrix of legislation, regulations, planning schemes and policies administered by councils and other government bodies. Subdivision developments are complex, and it is important to understand the overlap of the relevant laws, and the processes required to achieve the proposed objectives and minimise costly mistakes.
Collaborating with experienced lawyers to check off due diligence matters, liaise with relevant authorities, and to prepare and explain titling and legal concepts is invaluable throughout this process.
Commercial and retail leases
Commercial and retail leases set out the terms and conditions through which an entity may occupy premises to run its business operations. Lease agreements should be in writing and prepared and reviewed by an experienced lawyer to ensure the commercial terms agreed are correctly outlined, and that there is a balance of rights between the parties. Lease disputes can be minimised by having a clear lease document in place and ensuring that the parties obtain independent legal advice.
Many leases fall within the scope of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic), which imposes specific rights and obligations on tenants and landlords, including the provision by a landlord of prescribed disclosure documents.
We act for both landlords and tenants and can prepare and advise on leasing documents, disclosure statements, transfers, assignments and surrenders of leases.
We can help
For many of us property is usually one of our most significant financial investments. It makes sense therefore to get sound advice whether you are buying, selling, leasing, refinancing, subdividing, or developing property, or if you are involved in a property dispute.
Our knowledge of the local area and planning scheme is a huge benefit in relation to sales and purchases of properties situated on the Mornington Peninsula, but we have also been assisting clients with their property transactions in Melbourne (and beyond) for almost 40 years. We provide premium conveyancing and property law services to make your property transaction as stress-free as possible.