First Home Buyers Guide from Austral Mortgage
Step 5: Get Legal Representation
Purchasing a property is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you will make during your lifetime. It is important to protect yourself by getting the right legal advice for the process.
A Solicitor or Conveyancer will assist you with the buying and selling process by:
• Reviewing the Contract of Sale to ensure there are no onerous conditions.
• Explaining the terms and conditions of the contract of sale and the mortgage, and your obligations under them both.
• Organising the title search for the proposed property so that all the information required for the Contract of Sale are correct. This will also identify any easements or adverse encumbrances.
• Checking if there are any existing mortgages or caveats registered on the title of the property. (A Discharge of Mortgage Document or Withdrawal of Caveat will be handed over by the vendor’s solicitor before the matter formally settles.)
• Protecting your interests during the sale process.
• Calculating any adjustments to taxes, council and water rates.
• Instructing you to organise appropriate property insurance cover with the incoming lender’s interest noted on it.
• Arranging, attend and complete settlement on your behalf.
You can ask friends and family to recommend a reputable Solicitor or Conveyancer. If you don't have a recommendation, visit a few websites or offices to get a feel of their professionalism and experience.
Get a clear understanding of fees and what services are included. Beware of hidden costs such as photocopying and phone calls. Make sure they are a member of the Law Society and are covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance. This means that if a mistake is made on the part of the solicitor, you may be able to seek compensation.
If you require any assistance finding a Solicitor in your area, you can contact the Law Society in your State.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a Conveyancer, you can contact the Australian Institute of Conveyancers.