Conveyancing Information for Buyers

Conveyancing involves a number of processes, some quite complex.  They include:

Obtaining finance
The Contract
Payment of deposit
Title check
Planning and other checks
Post settlement

A number of questions commonly arise.  They include:

Question 1: How do I know when my finance has been approved?

Your financier may give verbal approval for a loan to buy a property, but this is not sufficient to act on.  You need formal written approval before you enter into a binding contract, unless the contract is subject to finance approval.  We suggest that you ensure that a finance clause is inserted into the contract to make the purchase subject to a final approval by your financier within a specified time.  From signing the original loan application documents, you might expect a written approval to take up to 14 days.  It is in your interests to keep pressure on your financier to provide you with a written approval within the time specified in the contract.

Question 2: At what point does the contract of sale become legally binding?

Estate agents are acting in the best interests of the vendor and often pressure the purchaser to sign a contract. It is important that you do not sign any documents provided to you by the vendor or their estate agent without having those documents checked.  If you sign the contract, you are making an offer which, if the vendor accepts and signs the contract, then becomes a legally binding agreement.  It is better to allow us to assist you in negotiating with the vendor’s lawyers before both parties sign particularly where there are conditions which are unfavourable to you.

Question 3:  When do I need to pay the deposit?

You will normally be asked to pay a deposit upon signing the contract and this deposit should be paid direct to the real estate agents or the vendor’s lawyers each of whom are then required under legislation to place the monies in trust.

Question 4:  What happens to the deposit monies once paid?

The deposit will be paid to the vendor on settlement of the transaction.  However, you may be asked to consent to an early release of deposit monies which you would do provided the vendor gives full and satisfactory information as to any mortgage or other matters in respect of the title to the property.

Question 5: Is it important to check the title boundaries?

Prior to signing any contract, the estate agent will have given you a vendors statement with a copy of the title particulars.  This provides information for us to do a more current title check; other legal formalities will be checked, and a plan of measurements for the land will be provided.  We strongly recommend that you measure the land to make sure that it equates to the measurements on the plan.  This will hopefully avoid any dispute over a discrepancy in the land size.

Question 6: Should I organise insurance for the property I have purchased?

Under legislation a buyer is entitled to take the benefit of any insurance that the seller has in respect of the property.  However, you are not in a position to assess the adequacy of the cover of such insurance or if such insurance exists at all.  Therefore, it is very important for you to arrange your own insurance from the date of signing the contract over the property for your own protection.  Also, your financier will require evidence of insurance and shall expect a certificate of currency of insurance noting the financier as mortgagee to be provided when mortgage documents are signed.

Question 7:  When will my financier provide the money to pay for the property?

Every financier has their own rules but generally no monies will be advanced until mortgage documents have been signed and a certificate of insurance has issued in relation to the property.  Financiers often require a further 3-5 days notice once mortgage documents have been returned before they will allow the booking of a settlement.  Any delays in signing your mortgage documents will result in a delayed settlement.

Question 8: How do I organise payment for the property?

Settlement is the name given to the meeting which takes place between the buyer’s and seller’s lawyers and their financiers to actually make the payment for your home.  At settlement, we shall organise the payment of monies and ensure that legal documents relating to the ownership and transfer of ownership to the house are received by your financier for lodging at the Land Registry Office.  It is not necessary for you to attend the settlement, as we do this on your behalf.

Question 9:  Do I have to do anything to help you arrange the settlement?

We make all the arrangements for you and advise you of any funds you need to contribute which have not been met by your financier.

Question 10:  Am I entitled to a pre-settlement property inspection?

Yes, you are entitled to inspect the property a few days before settlement and you should contact the estate agent who will make arrangements to show you through the property.  If there are any issues in relation to the state of repair to the property or any works that should have been completed which have not been completed you should contact us immediately.

Question 11: Is there anything we need to do after settlement has taken place?

Yes, it is important that you provide us with details of your new telephone number so that we can pass on any relevant information to you.  As the purchaser you are responsible for payment of municipal and water rates from the date of settlement.  We will provide you with a statement of adjustments to illustrate how these amounts are adjusted on your behalf at settlement.  We will notify the municipal council and the water authority of your acquisition as part of the conveyancing process, but you will need to arrange for the reconnection of services such as power, gas and telephone.

Question 12: How do I obtain access to the property?

Once settlement has been completed, we shall confirm this with you by telephone and you are then free to obtain the keys from the estate agent to allow you access to the property.

Question 13: Who has custody of the title to the property?

If you have borrowed money to complete the purchase your financier retains custody of the title.  If you have not borrowed funds, Nevett Ford will have received the title at settlement.

If you wish, we can keep the title in our strong room for safe-keeping.

Author: Cathy Drake

Published: 4 May 2018


The information in this article is general in nature and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. As always, we recommend you seek thorough legal advice to consider your own circumstances and determine whether the information contained in this article is applicable to you.  This article is current as at the date of publishing but will not be updated as circumstances change.