What Is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title to a property from the seller to the purchaser in a real estate transaction. It is a crucial aspect in the buying, selling or transferring of real estate and typically occurs after you’ve already signed a contract to purchase or sell a property. While it may not be as exciting as finding and viewing your dream home, conveyancing is just as important because the title to a property needs to change ownership to make the transfer official. That’s why it’s also important to have an experienced real estate legal professional handle the conveyancing process on your behalf. A lawyer’s legal experience and training in real estate law can help protect your interests and to ensure that the transfer of ownership is completed legally and properly.
The Process of Conveyancing
When selling real estate, conveyancing typically involves the following steps:
- Finding and retaining a property lawyer to handle the legal process on your behalf.
- Reviewing the terms of the contract of sale between the buyer and yourself (the seller) including price, the completion date and other material terms that may affect your closing.
- Review the title search to see what liens, mortgages or charges need to be removed or dealt with.
- Reviewing the documents prepared by the purchaser’s legal representative and witnessing your signature on these conveyancing documents including the Form A transfer, explaining the vendor statement of adjustments and the final sale proceeds that you as the seller will be receiving.
- Tending to the transferring of ownership of the property to the buyer and receiving the sale proceeds in trust, and releasing the net sale proceeds to you.
When buying real estate, the conveyancing process is slightly more complicated and involves the following:
- Instruct your property lawyer to handle the legal process on your behalf.
- Reviewing the contract of sale and conducting the necessary title searches to ensure the property is free from liens or making necessary arrangements to remove these liens.
- Preparing the transfer documents, which will be signed by the seller and transferred to you (the buyer).
- Receiving your purchase funds by bank draft and arranging the mortgage funding with your bank if you have a mortgage.
- Registering the Form A transfer at the land title office to officially transfer the ownership of the property to you (the buyer), and sending the sale proceeds to the seller’s lawyer.
The lawyer’s role in due diligence
Your real estate lawyer must perform due diligence to protect you in the transaction. Just as you would not want to purchase a car with a lien attached, a real estate lawyer will carry out searches such as title searches, property tax searches and even strata-related searches if applicable. As a purchaser, once you purchase a property, you are then responsible for all liens, strata arrears or property tax arrears that may attach to the property, so it is your lawyer’s job to conduct his due diligence to ensure that any such liabilities are handled properly, in most cases by the seller, so that you get a clean and clear title subject to your own mortgage if any. Other examples may include ensuring sufficient holdbacks so that is protected from strata liens or even from the CRA if the seller is a non-resident.
The objective of due diligence in conveyancing is to ensure that you get what you bargained for and that your interests as a bona fide purchaser for value are protected throughout.
Your Real Estate and Property Law Lawyer
The experienced team of real estate lawyers at Bernard Lau & Co. has over a decade of experience to guide you through your conveyancing process. We aim to assist clients to undergo the conveyancing process as smoothly, and efficiently as possible and to provide support through all the stages of your transaction while protecting your interests and minimizing legal risks and disputes. While some transactions may be contentious, we have the experience to provide legal support and advice to protect your interests throughout the process.