What is a "cooling off" period, how does this affect me?

In NSW, there is a legislative right for a Purchaser to “cool off” or cancel some Contracts for the sale of residential properties within a certain time frame after the agreement has been made. It offers some protection to purchasers that may have rushed into a contract to purchase property or simply change their mind.

The cooling off period does not always apply.

For example, the cooling off period will not apply:-

  • if the property is purchased at auction
  • if the property is purchased on the same day as the purchaser bid in an auction for the property
  • if the purchaser waives their cooling off rights by providing a certificate signed by a conveyancer or legal practitioner
  • if the contract is made by the exercise of an option to purchase

How do I get my certificate of title?

In NSW the Torrens system of land title provides for the recording of all interests in land in a central register maintained by the NSW State Government.

In NSW this is done by the LPI-NSW, commonly referred to as the Land Titles Office. In some other jurisdictions, there is no central register, and Certificates of Title are still required to evidence ownership of property.

For NSW properties there is no need to obtain a Certificate of Title – the record of ownership on the Land Title Register generally sufficient to prove ownership. 

What happens at settlement time?

Settlement is the finalisation of the sale or purchase process. There are usually four parties involved – the buyer and sellers’ conveyancers and the banks for the vendor and purchaser.

On settlement, the purchaser’s bank will exchange cheques as per the instructions of the purchaser’s conveyancer and in return, receive the Certificate of Title and ‘discharge of mortgage’ (if applicable) from the seller’s bank.

If prior to settlement the property in question has been damaged, there is a sufficient amount of time to take care of discrepancies prior to settlement.

Once the settlement date arrives, the keys can be handed over to the purchaser and the deposit is released to the vendor. At this stage, the Purchaser’s bank registers the change of title and mortgage, and their conveyancer notifies authorities (such as the council) of the change.

What happens if either party cannot settle on the due date?

Either party can issue a ‘Notice to Complete’ which means the other party has a reasonable time, usually 14 days (including weekends and public holidays), to settle the matter. This right may not be applicable under all Contracts particularly Contracts that make settlement “time of the essence”.

Extreme care should be taken before signing any Contract and the dates for settlement should be strictly adhered to at all times.

If the vendor is in default and fails to settle, the purchaser has the right to terminate the contract and is eligible to receive their deposit back. Alternately, the purchaser may apply to the Court to have the vendor complete the agreement and hand over possession.

If the purchaser is in default, the vendor is entitled to charge the purchaser interest for the number of days settlement is delayed. The contract usually stipulates the applicable interest rate. When a ‘Notice to Complete’ is issued and purchaser fails to complete, the vendor may terminate the contract and keep the deposit, and can legally place the property back on the market to sell.

What is a Disbursement?

A disbursement is one of the expenses incurred during the process of searching and obtaining, title searches, plans, or certificates from government authorities or local councils etc.

What is Conveyancing?

Put simply, conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title of ownership of real estate or a business from one person to another.

Who notifies the authorities that I have purchased a property?

Following settlement, the purchaser’s conveyancer will notify the Council, Water authority and the Strata or Community Corporation (if applicable) of the change on ownership. Following registration of the Transfer document with relevant Notoce of Sale (eNOS) the statutory authorities will update their records. Other providers, however, will need to be notified by the buyer.

Why would I need a Conveyancer?

Buying or selling property is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. Due to the financial and legal aspects of transferring property, the consequences of making a mistake can be both costly and heartbreaking.

By having a Licensed Conveyancer take care of your property transfer, their qualifications and experience can help protect your assets.

A Licensed Conveyancer is tertiary qualified and has an in-depth understanding of the law concerning property transactions. They are required by law to carry professional indemnity insurance, and unlike many solicitors that offer conveyancing, can focus solely on your property transaction instead of other legal matters.

What is a Property Title?

In NSW the Torrens system of land title provides for the recording of all interests in land in a central register maintained by the NSW State Government.

In NSW this is done by the NSW Land Registry Services, commonly referred to as the Land Titles Office who administer the registration of property dealings.

What is PEXA?

PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) is Australia's online property exchange network. It assists members – such as lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions – to lodge documents with Land Registries and complete financial settlements electronically.

First State Conveyancing is an industry leader in electronic settlements, having completed more online settlements than any other legal firm in Australia in 2017.

Read More.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty is a tax set by the NSW State Government that is imposed on the purchase of assets including property. Essentially it covers the cost of changing the title of the property and ownership details.

If you are looking to buy property in NSW, find out how much stamp duty you’re up for here.

The liability for stamp duty usually arises at the earlier of the following dates:-

a. Three months after the date of entry into the Contract; or

b. Completion or settlement of the purchase.

In certain instances, you may be entitled to an exemption or a concession from stamp duty. This could include if you are a First Home Purchaser. There are also other exemptions available. If you would like to discuss stamp duty, government grants or exemptions, please contact First State Conveyancing to discuss

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