When I commit to buying a property, who should I pay a deposit to?
The deposit for your new property is payable to the real estate agent, if there is an agent named on the front page of the contract.
If the property is being sold directly by a vendor and if there is no agent involved in the transaction, the deposit should be paid to the vendor’s solicitor or the vendor’s conveyancer trust account.
There may be a rare situation where the seller/vendor’s conveyancer or solicitor does not operate a trust account. If this is the case and if both parties agree, the deposit would be deposited in the trust account of the buyer/purchaser’s conveyancer or a solicitor.
And in a very rare situation, if neither vendor’s or the purchaser’s solicitor or conveyancer operate a trust account, then most likely the parties would agree that the deposit would be paid by a deposit bond so that there would be no physical cash paid.
In terms of who is the deposit payable to, if you are paying by cheque, you can use either a bank cheque or a personal cheque. It’s best to check with the real estate agent who to make the cheque payable to because sometimes the trading name they operate under can be different to the registered business name.
The most common way to pay the deposit these days is by an electronic funds transfer. In this case you should ask the real estate agent to provide you with the trust account details so you can make the deposit. You may need to allow a minimum of 24 hours for the funds to be cleared in the agent’s account.
After the settlement period, when do I collect the keys and from whom?
If there is a real estate agent involved in a transaction, the keys to your new property are usually collected from the real estate agents office. In terms of the timing, your keys should be made available to you as soon as settlement has taken place.
Here’s how it usually works: The purchaser’s conveyancer will notify the purchaser that the settlement is complete, then the purchaser will contact the real estate agent to arrange collection of the keys at a time that’s convenient for both parties.
You will only be able to collect the keys from the real estate agent’s office once the settlement is confirmed as complete. If there is no agent involved in the transaction, then the keys would usually be collected from the vendor solicitor’s office or—if both the purchaser and the vendor agree—the vendor will hand over the keys to the purchaser directly and meet the purchaser at the property to do so.
When during the process of buying or selling a property should I engage a conveyancer?
You should engage a conveyancer as soon as you decide to either sell or buy a property.
If you are selling a property, before you can advertise the property for sale and the agent can put the property on the market, the agent needs to hold a copy of a contract for the sale of the property. And that’s where a conveyancer comes in—to prepare a draft contract for the sale of the property.
Most people first decide who their selling agent is going to be before they appoint a conveyancer but the agent will not be able to start advertising the property for sale until a contract has been prepared so this professional needs to be engaged early on during the sale process.
If you are buying a property, engage a conveyancer or a solicitor as soon as possible. This is so you can make sure your conveyancer has checked the contract for a property you want to buy before you sign it. It’s best to do this in the early stages so your conveyancer can review the contract and also negotiate any changes to the terms of the contract.
As a buyer, you should be aware of the contract terms and the condition of the property. Your conveyancer can also help you organise property inspections so you are comfortable with what property you’re buying and the offer you are putting forward.
If a property is being sold at a public auction, conduct due diligence checks before the day. The reason for this is that if you bid at an auction and are successful, the contract becomes legally binding at the fall of a hammer.
If you’re planning to bid at auction, engage your conveyancer as soon as you have found the home you wish to bid on so you are adequately prepared.
Who will notify the authorities that I have purchased a property?
At settlement, the purchaser’s conveyancer submits transfer of land, which records the change of ownership from the current owner to the purchaser, together with a Notice of Sale, with the Land Registry Services (commonly known as Department of Lands).
Based on the information in the Notice of Sale, the Department of Lands automatically notifies the relevant council and Water authority. If you’re purchasing a strata unit, your conveyancer will notify the strata manager of the change of ownership by supplying a document, which is called a section 22 certificate. This is then used to update the strata roll.
For any other utilities like electricity, gas, water, telephone, internet or pay TV, you will have to arrange connection of those utilities yourself in your own name. It’s best to organise connection of the utilities a couple of days prior to settlement so when you move into the property, you will have the basic utilities connected.
What is PEXA?
PEXA is an acronym which stands for Property Exchange Australia.
PEXA is an electronic platform which has been established by the Australian Government and major financial institutions. Its purpose is to conduct electronic transfers of title and electronic settlements in Australia, instead of performing these transactions manually where paper documents are submitted for registration and bank cheques are handed over.
Only registered users can use the PEXA platform. Therefore, a private person has to engage a registered PEXA user to represent them at settlement.
There are benefits to all parties involved when it comes to PEXA. For the vendors who are selling properties, they will receive sale proceeds as clear funds in their nominated bank account, usually within an hour of settlement taking place. Of course this is subject to internal clearing procedures rules that individual financial institutions have in place.
The main benefit for buyers is that their names are registered on the title of the property instantly (within about half an hour) rather than within a couple of days.
At Thorpe Conveyancing, we are registered PEXA users. This allows us to help our clients conduct property transactions with ease.