Newcastle Living

How a Lawyer can help take the stress out of Buying or Selling a Home

While anyone can facilitate the purchase or sale of a property (known as conveyancing), many individuals choose to instruct lawyers (or licensed conveyancers) to assist in the conveyancing process. This is because lawyers who specialise in this area are familiar with the terms of a standard Contract, can negotiate those terms to receive the best outcome for their client, will highlight any issues that may exist on the property and can facilitate the entire settlement process. In turn, this ensures a smooth transaction and peace of mind for the prospective purchaser.

How a Lawyer can help

Here are some common questions and concerns that a lawyer or licensed conveyancer can assist with to take the stress out of buying or selling a home.

I have just sold my house but need the deposit to make a purchase – can’t I just use it?

As a general rule, no. In New South Wales, the deposit paid by the purchaser is held in the stakeholder’s trust account (usually the real estate agent, however, if there is no agent, the vendor’s legal representative) until settlement occurs. This is because it is not the vendor’s money until settlement. It also protects the vendor in the event of a default or breach by the purchaser.

There are certain instances where a vendor may be able to access the deposit paid by the purchaser after Contracts become unconditional, and prior to settlement. This is by way of a ‘release of deposit’ special condition which is inserted into the Contract. There may also be certain conditions attached to such release, which would be stipulated within the special condition upon agreement by both parties.

I want to run a business from home and the agent said no worries – is it safe to assume it will be fine?

There are several factors to consider:

  1. If you are renting a property, it is important to check the conditions of the Residential Tenancy Agreement. Sometimes conditions can be attached relating to running a business from home.
  2. Local councils can require you to obtain approval to conduct business activity from home to ensure compliance with local regulations. There are certain zoning requirements which may impact the property that can vary and restrict certain business activities in residential areas. For the purpose of ensuring compliance, it is advisable to consult with your local council.
  3. Ensuring that your insurance covers business activities. Not all insurance policies account for this and you may need to obtain additional coverage to protect yourself and/or the business.
  4. If you are living in a strata property, it is advisable to check if the by-laws allow for the running of business from the property.
  5. Running a business from home can result in additional noise, traffic and parking which may lead to disputes between yourself and your neighbours. This could result in action being taken against you and/or the business.
  6. As with all commercial activity, tax implications can arise, and it is best to advise your tax professional (such as an accountant) so that you understand any tax implications you may be liable for.

The property I want to buy has an unapproved extension. Is that something I need to worry about?

When purchasing a property, it is important to be aware of any unapproved works that the vendor has attended to during their time of ownership. This is an important question that your legal representative should be asking as part of due diligence enquiries before exchange of Contracts. If the property is purchased with an unapproved extension, several issues may arise. Firstly, the extension may not comply with local government building codes and regulations which you will ultimately be responsible for. Secondly, the unapproved works may not be covered by insurance and could therefore result in significant financial susceptibility in the event of any damage or other issues. Thirdly, if you decide to sell the property and the extension remains unapproved, this may limit market value and potential purchasers. Lastly, local councils reserve the right to enforce building code regulations to force rectification by way of a work order, or worst case, they could require part or full demolition.

This is just a sample of common queries you might encounter when buying a new home. The team at Next Legal and Conveyancing are your local experts when it comes to all things property and conveyancing, and endeavour to make your next property purchasing experience as seamless and easy as possible.

Please note that the information in this article is intended as information only and not specific legal advice.

Alicia Floyer

Alicia Floyer
Director/Solicitor Next Legal and Conveyancing
Email alicia@nextlc.com.au

Next Legal & Conveyancing

Office Lot 12, 1A/270 Turton Road,
New Lambton NSW 2305