For most homebuyers, searching for the dream home, finding the ‘one’, making an offer and negotiating the purchase is an emotionally exhausting process.

In all the anticipation and excitement, few homebuyers give much thought to the more formal aspects of the purchase, such as contracts and the legal transfer of the property.

If fact, it isn’t uncommon for homebuyers to get to the stage of having their offer accepted by the vendor and think ‘what next?’

It is at this stage that every homebuyer should have a conveyancer or solicitor ready to step-in. They will look after the legal aspects of the home buying process, such as the transfer of ownership and title from one person to another.

They carry-out the preparation, execution, verification and lodgement of the numerous legal documents associated with the purchase including the contract of sale and memorandum of transfer and they also research the property and its certificate of title, check for easements, the type of title and other information that may need addressing.

A conveyancer or solicitor will also be responsible for managing the transfer of money when final payments are being made and calculating outstanding rates and taxes that are payable to settle the property.

Although it isn’t a legal requirement to engage someone to assist in these areas, it is a good idea because they can be extremely valuable in providing guidance through the complex legal aspects of the home buying process and will be a strong advocate for your legal rights. 

They will also be able to give you clarity on some of the more confusing elements associated with purchasing property, such as interpreting the meaning of anything affecting the title like encumbrances and easements.

Ideally, a conveyancer or a solicitor should be engaged prior to signing any contracts as they may be able to pick-up any abnormalities in the process and act as a sounding board for you. So it is best to do your homework upfront and have one selected and ready for when you make an offer.

Before engaging a conveyancer, it is important to check that they are registered with the Australian Institute of Conveyancers and you should be aware of the full fees and charges that are payable. Make sure you also understand the cost of any additional services. 

Beyond these formalities, it is also important that you feel comfortable with whoever it is you employ,  and they should explain things in an easy to understand way, not in complicated legal jargon.

While it may not be the most enthralling task associated with buying a home, taking the time to research and engage someone who provides trusted advice is one of the most important steps as it will give you the peace of mind that your interests are protected throughout the process.