Special care required in conveyancing: what could possibly go wrong, and why you need professional legal advice

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 by Terry Morgan   |   Categories: Property & Conveyancing

Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where our property lawyers have needed to extricate people from transactions that they have entered into without first obtaining our legal advice, writes partner TERRY MORGAN

Baker Love has extensive experience in this field. We have evolved sophisticated due diligence procedures that can help avoid unnecessary costs, delays and serious problems when buying or selling property.

Some examples of what can go wrong are set out below:


ONE: Two properties that needed to be purchased jointly and were dependent on each other for a construction project.

Contracts were exchanged for two separate properties when the purchaser intended that the two properties jointly be utilised for the construction of a single residence. Both properties were needed for this project, as only one or the other property would not provide sufficient area to construct the residence.

Unfortunately the purchaser didn’t obtain legal advice before exchanging contracts and so was not aware that the Contracts had not been drafted to be interdependent upon each other. This meant that the client may have had to purchase one property without the other.

Resolving the problem: Fortunately, Baker Love was able to arrange for the amendment of the Contract so as to ensure that our client was able to purchase both properties, or none at all.


TWO: When purchasing vacant land in a Mine Subsidence District, it is important to investigate what restrictions are imposed by the Mine Subsidence Board on the construction of the dwelling.

Prior to obtaining our advice, a person purchased a parcel of vacant land, which was in a Mine Subsidence District. However, the person’s conveyancer did not recommend that enquiries be undertaken as to any restrictions that may be imposed by the Mine Subsidence Board. When the client came to plan the construction of his dwelling, he discovered that the footings for the dwelling required by the Mine Subsidence Board would cost in excess of $40,000.00.

Resolving the problem: Our firm was able to provide advice as to the remedies available to the property owner against his former conveyancer.


THREE: Contracts being exchanged for the purchase of a property where the property concerned did not have any direct access, from a public road.

Resolving the problem: In those circumstances, our firm was required to take legal action against the former solicitor who acted on the property purchase to obtain a refund of the monies expended by our client on the property.


FOUR: “Off the plan” purchase without ascertaining anticipated development completion date.

When purchasing property “off the plan” it is very important to establish when the development will be completed. Irrespective of the advices given by anyone else, it is critical to examine the terms of the Contract to clearly ascertain when the development will be finalised. We have seen Contracts where the Contract provides a period of three years for the developer to complete the development!


FIVE: Delays caused by refinancing

Our client was purchasing a property where the property being sold was one of several owned by the Vendor. The Vendor had to undertake a refinance of his existing finance facilities. This meant that the existing properties had to be revalued by the bank, which  resulted in a delay of a number of weeks before the sale could be finalised whilst that refinance was completed.


The purchase of a home is often the largest single outlay of monies that an individual will undertake during his or her lifetime. It is essential that proper advice be obtained from a good lawyer to ensure that the proposed transaction proceeds in a professional manner.

If you are planning to buy or sell property, please contact our experienced Conveyancing and Property Law team on (02) 4944 3322.