Answers to some common conveyancing questions:

What is Conveyance of property?

Conveyancing is the transfer of land ownership from one party to another.

What is a Contract for Sale?

In NSW a Contract for sale is a copyright document authorised by the Law Society of NSW and the Real Estate Institute of NSW that is required at law to transfer property ownership.

What are Special Conditions to the Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land?

These are additional clauses that are ‘added’ to the standard Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land that are agreeable between the purchaser and the vendor and cover specific matters relating to the property in the best interest of the purchaser and the vendor that may not be covered in the standard conditions.

What is a Deposit?

The deposit is a portion of the purchase price and usually this is payable to the real estate agent’s trust account.  If there is no agent, then it is paid to the vendor’s conveyancer.  The deposit is held by the agent until settlement of the matter and then released to the vendor.  The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price but often 5% by agreement.

What is Exchange of Contracts

In NSW exchange of contracts takes place when both vendor and purchaser agree to buy and sell, they sign separate identical copies of the contract for sale, contracts are swapped and issued to the other party and the deposit is received as paid.

What is Cooling off?

In NSW, residential property purchasers have a five (5) business day cooling off period after an exchange of contracts, this expires at 5pm on the fifth business day following the exchange.

A cooling off period will not apply when the property is:

  • purchased at auction;
  • purchased and exchanged contracts on the same day the property is auctioned for sale;
  • vacant or developed land used exclusively for non-residential purposes; and
  • larger than 2.5 hectares in area.

If you withdraw from a residential property contract during a cooling off period, you will have to pay 0.25% of the purchase price to the vendor anyway.

What is a section 66W certificate?

In NSW, a 66W refers to a section of the Conveyancing Act where the cooling off period after buying property in NSW can be waived if the purchaser’s solicitor issues a section 66W certificate. The 66W provides that there is then no cooling off period and makes the contract unconditional.  If no certificate is issued, under the Conveyancing Act, the cooling off period is 5 business days.

What is Stamp Duty?

In NSW stamp duty is a State government tax payable on most land transactions based on the value of the property or the purchase price. Stamp duty is assessed by NSW Revenue on the purchase price and payable by the purchaser within 3 months of the date of exchange of contracts or at completion if the buyer is obtaining finance to purchase. Please click here for stamp duty assessment.

Joint Tenancy or Tenants in Common?

Where there is more than one purchaser, it will be essential to ensure that the type of ownership registered is the right one for you.   The two common property ownerships are joint tenancy or tenants in common. 

Joint tenancy means that every individual named on the title will own the property together or jointly.  Each owner will have an individual equal interest in the property.  An important feature of this type of ownerships is the right of survivorship, whereby if one of the joint tenants dies, that person’s interest passes to the surviving joint tenant.   

Tenants in common, unlike joint tenancy, does not provide for the right of survivorship.  Under tenants in common, every individual named on the title will own a share in the property and this share can form part of the estate upon their death and distributed in accordance with their last will and testament.

What are settlements adjustments?

Settlement adjustments are the calculation of the exact amount of money to be handed over at settlement. The standard conditions of the contract provide for adjustments required to be made. As a general rule, the vendor pays for all expenses, such as council rates, water rates, strata levies and are entitled to any rent income, until settlement. The purchaser is responsible for payment of expenses and entitled to any rent income, after settlement.

Settlement adjustments allow the parties to compensate one another for expenses that may be paid in advance or maybe in arrears, or for rent the vendor may have received which relates to a period after settlement.

What is PEXA?

PEXA, means Property Exchange Australia and it is the electronic settlement platform that co-ordinates online settlements, including the transfer of funds and the registration of transfers for the ownership of land.   Australia is the first in the world to use the electronic platform!

What is VOI

VOI, means verification of identity and is required before we can conduct any transactions on your behalf.   This is designed to prevent any fraudulent activities.    We require you to provide your identification through our VOI method.  In addition, we require a client authorisation form to be completed which authorises us to complete your conveyance electronically on your behalf.   This allows us to sign documentation electronically and allows us to direct your bank how to pay monies on your behalf.