Buying property? Why you shouldn’t attempt DIY conveyancing

Katrina Condie 8 June 2021
LJ Hooker auctioneer Andrew White at auction

Attempting DIY conveyancing in a hot property market can end in disaster. Photo: LJ Hooker.

Buying property is often a stressful and complicated process, but some people are determined to ‘go it alone’ in an effort to save money.

While most people engage a professional, some people still attempt DIY conveyancing and find themselves bogged down by the complexities of buying a property, especially in the current booming market where timing can be crucial.

Conveyancing manager at Baker Deane & Nutt (BDN) Lawyers’ Queanbeyan office, licensed conveyancer Corrina Tierney, says with so many people chasing properties as soon as they hit the market in the Canberra region, seeking legal assistance is imperative.

“We had two cases recently where self-acting buyers approached us for help when things went wrong,” she says.

“One was a solicitor from Queensland who didn’t know the NSW system, and the other was a buyer who had a law degree and had done a great job up until a week before settlement, then turned up and said, ‘Can someone please help me,’ because the system just caught him out.

“It’s not an easy process, especially for first-home buyers or anyone who hasn’t bought property for a while.

“From talking to banks and the vendors’ solicitors, to thoroughly examining contracts, it’s all about getting a win-win situation for everyone and settling with as little fuss and as smoothly as possible.”

Auctioneer holding gavel as bidders look on at auction

With so many people chasing properties as soon as they hit the market in Canberra, it is imperative buyers seek legal assistance. Photo: File.

Corrina says attempting to negotiate contracts, and dealing with banks and real estate agents in an effective and timely manner is essential.

She says as soon as buyers start thinking about purchasing a home, it’s time to start talking with a conveyancer.

“Often first-home buyers turn up and they’re not sure where to begin,” says Corrina.

“Buying a home – especially your first home – can be a confusing and complex process. While there’s the contracting side of it, there’s also a huge emotional element.

“It is more than just advising on the legal side of the contract. I am often a mentor – the helpful aunty – to help them through the maze.”

Corrina says going into an auction prepared is crucial, and the team at BDN Lawyers appoints a solicitor and conveyancer to every client to ensure the lines of communication are always open in the lead up to – and after – the sale.

“This works really well and ensures buyers have two people they can talk to at any time, who are both across their file,” she explains.

“In a bigger firm, there may not be that intimate knowledge and we really take pride in building those customer relationships.”

BDN Lawyers solicitor Thomas Cleary, a first-home buyer himself, understands just how hard it can be to get into the market, and advises his clients to be as prepared and informed as possible ahead of an auction.

In this difficult market, where high demand is driving record prices, he says it’s important for home buyers to seek advice from a conveyancer or solicitor to help them through the process.

“It’s an extremely challenging time for buyers,” says Thomas.

“It’s a complicated process and it’s very daunting, especially for first-home buyers.

Thomas Cleary and Corrina Tierney standing outside Baker Deane & Nutt Lawyers office

Thomas Cleary and Corrina Tierney are up to their eyeballs in contracts as the Canberra property market continues to thrive. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

“Getting advice from a solicitor or conveyancer is valuable. They can guide you through the whole process.”

Thomas says seeking professional help to explain a contract is valuable because there are often things people don’t understand about easements, covenants and strata rules, especially when considering a townhouse, apartment or unit purchase.

“If someone wants to put up a pergola, can they do that? Can they put an awning on a west-facing window? These are the little things we look for in a contract and ask people, ‘Will this make a difference to you?’” he adds.

“You really need to have all of this information explained by a professional before you go to an auction.”

BDN Lawyers has offices in Queanbeyan and Canberra, working across both NSW and ACT property and conveyancing legislation.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.


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