Buying or selling any type of property is often referred to as conveyancing; the owner is conveying the ownership of the property to the buyer through this process. It can be difficult and a bit time-consuming, but understanding more about the process can make it easier for you overall. Note a few things to consider about conveyancing services and what's involved overall.
1. Note the difference between a conveyancer, lawyer, and real estate agent
A conveyancer is someone who works on behalf of either the buyer or seller when it comes to handling various aspects of this overall process. They may ensure that inspection reports are in order, that money has been collected for fees or the down payment on the property, and the like.
A conveyancer is different than a lawyer in that the conveyancer does not typically have a law degree, so he or she cannot advise you on your legal rights or protect your legal interests. If you have questions about the legalities of a transaction, your potential liability if you were to purchase a certain property, and the like, you need to address these with your lawyer.
Your real estate agent is someone who works to broker a deal between two parties; for the buyer, they search for properties you may be interested in purchasing and may negotiate the purchasing price with the seller. For sellers, their job is to find potential buyers, show the property, and the like. As with a conveyancer, they are not usually qualified to answer questions about legal liabilities and how to protect your legal interests and also do not typically do the work of a conveyancer in collecting reports, monies, and so on.
2. Consider when all sales are final or offers are binding
In Australia, a seller typically has the right to withdraw their offer to sell right up until he or she actually signs any paperwork. They may do this to sell to someone else who gives them a higher offer. A buyer also may have a "cooling off" period even after they've signed the papers, in case they want to back out of the deal.
When it comes to offers to buy, it's also good to note that you may want to avoid putting anything in writing unless you're firmly committed. An offer in writing can sometimes be considered legally binding. If you're not sure of how any of these scenarios affect your conveyancing process, talk to a lawyer so you know you're legally protected when buying or selling.