Conveyancing & Property Law

We pride ourselves on giving our clients the best support, knowledge and guidance when it comes to conveyancing and property matters. Our team is here to help you navigate through the conveyancing process with guidance and advice along the way and to help co-ordinate the sometimes-difficult terrain to settlement and beyond. From the smallest of conveyancing questions to the biggest of transfers, our office will be there every step of the way.

Not ‘just’ conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring real estate from one party to another, whether it be residential, rural or commercial property, a house, vacant land, or strata unit. A conveyancing transaction is often one of the largest financial transactions a person will make, yet the legal process moves quickly leaving no room for error.

Conveyancing involves a sound understanding of contract and property law as well as the various processes involved in taking a matter from the initial contract review (or contract preparation) to settlement. The complexity of a conveyancing transaction is often under-estimated and while most proceed without issue, there are some that do not.

Signing a purchase or sale contract should be done with great care to ensure that you understand exactly what you are agreeing to, as terms in a contract of sale can be daunting and overwhelming.

Buying property in Victoria

It is imperative to seek professional advice on your proposed purchase well before you commit to signing the contract of sale. Some ‘cooling off periods’ are short or non-existent and finance clauses or lack thereof can cause many a costly mistake to the unwary. Before signing a contract to buy property, you need to ensure you will have the funds needed to complete your purchase, allowing for stamp duty, legal costs and other associated expenses.

Conducting due diligence helps to ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing. This generally involves going further than reviewing the documents attached to a contract. A building report and pest inspection can reveal hidden defects, pests, and problems that may cost you money down the track.

Once you are satisfied as to the condition and state of repair of the property, and the contract has been reviewed, you may decide to sign and enter into the contract for sale. Our experienced team can assist with every step of your purchase, advising you on the contract, negotiating on your behalf, conducting due diligence, and liaising with your bank to ensure settlement goes smoothly. 

Selling property in Victoria

In Victoria, a section 32 statement, or vendor’s statement, must be attached to your contract for sale. The statement discloses certain information about the property and is required by law. This includes particulars of any mortgage on the land, rates payable, covenants or easements on the title and any notices which may have been received by the vendor in relation to the property. 

The section 32 statement is a legal document – if it is not included in the contract before exchange, or the information supplied is false or misleading, the purchaser may have a right to rescind the contract. 

A contract for sale should be drafted with a complete understanding of the property being sold, and all relevant information should be supplied to the purchaser so that, once exchanged, the matter can proceed smoothly to settlement. The seller’s circumstances should be considered when drafting any special conditions for the contract to ensure their interests are protected.

Buying or selling rural property

Buying and selling rural property generally requires additional considerations. If the sale incorporates a farming enterprise, the business aspects of the transaction must also be considered including the appropriate treatment of Goods and Services Tax (GST), (as applicable).

In addition to the dwelling and fixtures, the contract may include livestock, crops, plant, and equipment. Land and/or stock should be checked for affectations by chemical residue, contamination, noxious weeds, infestations, livestock disease or feral animals. Buyers will need to investigate the existence of water-use licences and rural easements and rights of way.

Buyers should confirm the permitted use of the land and the types of agricultural activities allowed not only on the subject property, but on neighbouring land, which could impact the use and enjoyment of the property being purchased.

Commercial leasing

Commercial leases set out the legal terms and conditions through which businesses may occupy premises to run their operations. Many lease disputes can be avoided with careful drafting of a lease agreement to ensure the terms provide clarity. It is important to seek legal advice before entering a lease, as it has the potential of becoming a negative impact on your business’ cash flow at a later stage.

Tenants should review lease terms to ensure that they accurately reflect their negotiations, and there are no hidden surprises that could adversely impact their plans for operating the business. Clauses regarding trading hours, access to the property and fit-out should be carefully reviewed to ensure that the premises may be used as intended. Provisions regarding the lease’s duration, the rent payable and rent reviews, whether a tenant will have an option to renew, and the formal process that must be followed when exercising an option, must also be reviewed and understood.

When drafting a lease, it is desirable for protections to be included for landlords allowing them to recover money or re-enter the premises if the tenant fails to comply with its obligations under the lease.

A lawyer acting for a landlord must draft the lease to protect the landlord’s interests while also ensuring that the lease complies with any additional obligations such as for retail premises that fall under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic).

 Our conveyancing and property services include:

  • Selling
  • Vendor statement/section 32
  • Contract of sale including auction contracts
  • Purchasing
  • Probate transfers
  • Subdivisions and consolidation of titles
  • Complex transfers – including NICO titles
  • Family law transfers
  • Leases
  • Mortgages
  • Licence agreements
  • Stamp duty concessions and refunds
  • Lost title applications
  • SPEAR applications
  • Interstate agency for conveyancing matters

If you would like to have a chat with our friendly staff at Christine J Shanahan – Davine Shanahan Fitzpatrick call 03 5166 1858 (Traralgon) or 03 5127 2666 (Moe) or email [email protected].

We provide assistance Australia wide via video conference or other electronic communication.