Legal Services

When you buy property in Victoria, under all circumstances, you require the assistance of a property lawyer or a qualified and experienced conveyancer. It basically means that when buying a property, you will need to be advised of exactly what the conveyancing process entails.

Generally, a conveyancing transaction consists of three main stages:

  1. Pre-contract
  2. Pre-completion
  3. Post-completion

Experienced property lawyers have specified and detailed knowledge about property conveyancing and a broad knowledge of property law, such as consumer law provisions, and the various legislation that applies to buying and selling land. Generally, it is advantageous to have a legal firm and solicitor working in your best interests.


Caveat Emptor – ‘Buyer Beware

When buying real estate, the buyer assumes all risk. It is up to the purchaser to make any and all investigations in regard to the contract, the property, and to conduct all due diligence enquiries before they sign the contract. It is solely their responsibility. As signing the contract deems that you have understood the contract and you will be held to its contents.

However, this does not give the seller the right to provide misleading or fraudulent information. A purchaser can rely on Australian Consumer Law provisions to terminate the contract, if the information relied upon to purchase the home, is misleading and/or false.

Things that the buyer should investigate but are not limited to are the following:


Our top 5 tips when purchasing property to protect yourself

1. Make your own enquiries

Remember the real estate agent has been hired by the vendor and they do not act for you. They are required to disclose certain information to you by law, but they may miss providing important details that could affect you after settlement. Don’t solely rely on what the agent or seller tells you. You need to understand the price you should be paying for the property given the area, council rates, stamp duty, transfer fee, government fees, and other fees that may be involved if you purchase the property. Whether the bank will lend you enough money, do you have pre-approval and what are the estimated repayments for the loan. You need to be well-versed in all areas of the process to make sure you fully understand what you’re entering into, not just what you’ve been told by someone not invested in the future ownership.


2. Arrange for a building and pest inspection

These are essential and can be added to the contract as a special condition or arranged for in the Cooling Off period (usually 3 days after contract signing). These inspections will come at a cost but will be well worth it for your peace of mind. They will reveal if the property has any defects or requires any type of work. The inspection reports should also be able to provide an indication of what it would cost to fix the issues. If there are defects found, this can provide you with the opportunity to cancel the contract if a major structural defect or a major pest infestation is found, you could also negotiate and check to see if the vendor will complete the repair works prior to settlement or give you the opportunity to renegotiate the contract price if you want to do the works yourself.


3. Employ a property

There is no substitute for using an experienced conveyancer or a property lawyer to act on your behalf. Given your primary goal when buying property is to increase your wealth, it makes sense to pay for professional advice to protect yourself and your investment from any mistakes or things that you didn’t consider or turn your mind to being a key aspect of your purchase (for example, rental possibilities or surrounding developments). Your conveyancer will be able to do all the necessary statutory searches and then be able to go through these documents with you, as they understand it all, and see if there are any issues or things to note. It’s during this process that you may discover that the Council has the right to widen the road or take part of your land or that the sewer is on your property, and they will be digging up your entire front yard.. There’s a lot involved in reviewing a contract and conducting due diligence investigations. Making enquiries and engaging a lawyer upfront is going to be well worth your money down the track and it could end up saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars from a simple oversight.


4. Title insurance

Another way you can protect yourself is to take out title insurance. This form of insurance is the most comprehensive protection against risks that may affect the legal ownership of your property and your right to occupy and use the land, and it’s good for the entire period of your home ownership. It protects you from future events like finding out that your boundaries are in the incorrect place, and the previous owners built on a part of your neighbour’s property. It also protects you in instances like if the Council sends a notice saying you have a structure on your property that did not get approved with permits and must be pulled down. Your conveyancer will be able to give you more advice about the merits of this type of insurance.


5. Ask questions

Lastly and importantly make sure you ask every question you can think of. Your conveyancer never actually goes to see your property. So, it is up to you as the purchaser, the one signing the contract and being held to the agreement, to ask all the questions. Ask the agent, ask the Council, ask your conveyancer. It’s best to have asked the question than to think it doesn’t matter and later have it be an issue and cost you lots of money, it could be a very expensive lesson to learn! There are so many things to understand, and you should utilise all the resources you have to make sure you understand everything before your sign on the dotted line.


Bellarine and Surf Coast Conveyancing

If you’re interested in knowing more about what is required when buying real estate, speak to our expert property lawyer at The Hrkac Group.

A smooth property settlement depends on all legal and financial obligations being met, and that can require liaison between a number of different parties including solicitors, lenders, and real estate agents – even representatives of local councils.

Our lawyers and conveyancers’ expertise and experience in facilitating a stress-free settlement can help ensure a positive outcome for you. So, whether it’s a change of name or transfer of title, an application for subdivision, or any matter regarding commercial or residential conveyancing, you can rest easy knowing it can be handled under one roof at the Hrkac Group. If you’re looking for conveyancing/property law services, look no further. To make an appointment to meet one of our friendly team at HG Legal Services today, feel free to contact us via email at legal@hrkacgroup.com.au or phone (03) 5224 2366.