Some questions answered
What are your contact details?
Phone: 1800 529 522
Fax: 1300 529 522
120 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Suite 907, Level 9, 343 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Level 8, 99 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 3882, Darwin NT 0801
103 Pangee Street, Nyngan NSW 2825
Are you a property lawyer specialising in conveyancing or are you just a conveyancer?
lawlab is a national law firm that specialises in conveyancing. While conveyancing can be done by lawyers or conveyancers only lawyers can give you proper legal advice and help you when things don’t go according to plan. Lawyers also have comprehensive insurance. Who would you want to handle the sale of your biggest asset?
Why are you calling from an 07 number?
Our phone number is 1800 529 522, but unfortunately not all phone networks can recognise a 1800 number - so we use the standard 07 3062 4567 no matter which state we call from. It doesn’t matter if you call us on either 1800 529 522 number or 07 3062 4567 – either one will get through to us.
Why do I need to verify my identity?
Property fraud and money laundering is increasing at a dramatic rate. This is a real risk to property buyers and sellers and the integrity of the property industry as a whole.
Governments and insurers are getting stricter in their requirements for property professionals including lawyers to make sure clients have their identity verified to a high standard.
You can verify your identity in several ways but we recommend you do so using Rundl ID. The easier and cheaper Rundl ID service enables you to verify your identity at any time using your mobile phone and with someone you know. Please let us know if you need any help with this service, we are happy to talk you through it.
What is Rundl?
Rundl is a secure online platform that we use to help guide you through the conveyancing journey, share documents, keep track of the progress of your transaction and collaborate with other service professionals, e.g. your agent or broker. You'll receive an invite by email to your secure file in Rundl (called a ‘rundl’) as soon as we start your matter and it’s easy to create an account.
I haven’t received my invite to Rundl
The invite link will be sent by email from Rundl. If you can’t find your invite, check your junk or spam email folder as it may have ended up there if you have strong email filtering in your email account setting. Once you have found your invite, move it to your inbox and try to make sure rundl emails are not identified as junk or spam in the future. Please follow the link in the email so you can create your account, it will only take you about a minute.
I have been given my settlement statement – why am I paying the rates/water/body corporate levies etc?
Usually the seller is responsible for all outgoings (rates, water, levies etc.) for the period up to and including the settlement date. Buyers are usually responsible for outgoings from the day after settlement. As the outgoings are usually billed quarterly or annually then a pro rata adjustment is made to the outgoings amounts to reflect the seller’s and buyer’s period of ownership.
If the outgoings account has been paid by the seller then the adjustment will be in the seller’s favour, i.e. the buyer will reimburse the seller.
If the outgoings account is unpaid then the unpaid amount will be drawn from the seller’s settlement proceeds and the adjustment will also be in the seller’s favour. We will usually arrange that payment to be made to the relevant authority.
What can I ask other lawyers or conveyancers when comparing quotes?
If you need a listing contract prepared, do their fees include this? Do they charge expenses at cost or is there any mark-up? Do they have a list of fixed additional legal service items for the 10% of matters that require extra work or don’t go to plan? Do they take the legal risk for the contract?
Be careful of really cheap or the all-inclusive package offered by some conveyancers as you may find that they don’t provide the complete service or they don’t do the necessary searches (and therefore don’t pass on to you the search cost). Not doing and charging for searches may make their service look cheaper but it’s a different and more risky service that puts you at risk of losing a sale and serious fines.
lawlab are always happy to explain our fees and expenses so you know exactly what you are paying for.
Are you set up for electronic settlements?
Yes, we are the most experienced national user of the electronic settlements platform. Settling electronically reduces the risk of settlement delays and you’ll receive your sale proceeds days before a traditional settlement!
Where can I see your client reviews?
Don’t just take our word that we have a great service, check out our real and verified Facebook reviews at https://www.facebook.com/lawlab/reviews. We have one of the highest ratings in the industry and are proud to have helped so many satisfied clients in what can be a stressful and confusing time.
What other services do you offer?
In addition to all types of property conveyancing, we can also help you with your personal legal services such as wills, powers of attorney and other personal legal documents you may need.
What does "off the plan" mean
An "off the plan property" is a property that is sold before it has a registered title. This often occurs for subdivided land or an apartment in a building that hasn’t been built yet. Although you don’t need to settle until the title has registered, off the plan contracts can be complex and you should contact us so we can review the contract before you sign.
I am selling the property that I live in – when do I need to move out?
You usually need to move out at least the day before settlement so that you can provide vacant possession to the buyer on the day of settlement. If you’re selling your principal place of residence in Western Australia, you have until midday on the day following settlement.
The buyer is entitled to inspect the property before settlement (usually the morning of the day of settlement or the day before) so the property should be left in at least as good as condition as it was at the contract date. You should also keep the property insured until after settlement.
You also need to remove all the chattels not included in the sale (e.g. your items of furniture and personal possessions) before settlement. If you leave any goods in your sale property, then they may be considered abandoned and the buyer may be entitled to keep and dispose of them as they choose.
The buyer is entitled to collect the keys at settlement but in practice usually collects them from the real estate agent immediately after settlement. You should arrange to hand over your keys to the real estate agent before settlement or if there is no real estate agent, make alternative arrangements with the buyer directly.
When do I get my money?
If the sale price is more than your mortgage payout amount then you will have a surplus of funds.
If you’re settling electronically, then you will usually receive the sale proceeds on the same day.
If you’re settling by paper, you should authorise your bank to collect all funds at settlement and advise them of the bank account you want them to transfer these funds into after settlement. This is often quicker than having a cheque drawn to you at settlement as that cheque must be physically banked and it can take several business days for the funds to clear.
The real estate agent will usually take their commission or fees from the deposit they hold and then release any balance of the deposit to you after settlement.
In some instances, you may be able to have the deposit released to you before settlement – but speak to your lawlab legal advisor before you sign the contract to see if this is possible.
I am no longer using the real estate agent I was using when I first listed my property for sale. Can I still use you as my lawyer?
Of course! lawlab is an independent law firm, and we are happy to continue acting for you on your conveyancing transaction. Just let us know if you have changed real estate agents and we can update your contract and invite the new agent to your rundl.
Can you prepare a listing contract quickly?
Yes we can! Now that you’ve decided to sell, you’ll want to get your property to market as quickly as possible. Don’t lose a buyer because of delays. We can deliver the contract to you digitally by the next business day after the property searches are returned. Ask them how long this will take in your area.
How do I pay for your fees and expenses?
If you’d like us to prepare a secure listing contract for your sale, then expect to pay some fees or expenses upfront to cover the initial work. These can be easily paid by bank transfer or by credit card online. The balance of the sale conveyancing fees is usually collected at settlement.
I am buying a property – when can I move in?
As long as the property isn’t sold with a tenancy, you can usually collect the keys from the real estate agent and move in immediately after settlement. An exception to this is in Western Australia where owner occupier sellers can remain in the property until midday the next day after settlement.
Settlements can be delayed for a variety of reasons, so you should try to avoid booking removalists to move your personal items to your new home the day you settle your purchase. Always have a back-up plan, e.g. plan to stay in short term accommodation or ask us to request early possession of your new home so you can move in before settlement.
Can I move into my new home before settlement?
If for some reason, you need to move in earlier than settlement, you can either negotiate this before you sign a contract or request that the seller grants you early possession. The seller can use their discretion and they may impose conditions on early possession such as proof of insurance, rent, and the contract being unconditional.
How do I pay for your fees and expenses?
Conveyancing fees for a purchase are usually collected at settlement. If you’re buying an off the plan then we’ll usually ask you to pay 50% of your fees once the contract is exchanged and the balance at settlement.
If you have to terminate a contract early after we have done some legal work, for example because you can’t obtain finance approval or the building inspection reports are unfavourable, then we may need to charge you a small fee for this work as set out in our costs disclosure provided to you at the start of your matter.
What do I need to budget for?
It is a common misunderstanding that buyers forget to factor in certain costs and the funds they will need at settlement. In addition to the purchase price and legal fees, you also need to budget for the following costs:
- Transfer duty (stamp duty)
- Expenses (such a property searches)
- Settlement adjustments (for your pro-rata proportion of rates/water/levies etc)
- Bank fees (often deducted from your loan amount)
- Title registration fees (often deducted from your loan amount)
- Lenders mortgage insurance (usually applies if you’re borrowing over 80% LVR).
When do I pay stamp duty?
Transfer (stamp) duty is payable on the purchase price or value of the property. Usually you will pay stamp duty at settlement but if you have a longer than usual settlement period you may need to pay it earlier. Check with your lawlab legal advisor to make sure you pay on time so you are not penalised for late payment.
Are there any stamp duty concessions or grants?
A stamp duty concession is a discount on stamp duty and you may be entitled to a concession depending on your circumstances, the property type and its location. Eligible first home buyers may also be entitled to a first home grants.
Your lawlab legal advisor can help you find out if these apply to you.
Can I buy property in Australia even though I am not an Australian citizen?
The short answer is yes, you can. However, the kind of property you can buy may depend on your visa status and you may need to make an application to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for approval. We can help you with your FIRB application.
Most states also impose additional stamp duty for foreign persons who purchase property in Australia.