Close conveyancer ties help ease agents' stress

Agents have much to gain from closer relationships with conveyancers and solicitors, a point emphasised this week by an initiative supported by the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) that aims to enhance ties between the professions.

The Residential Conveyancing Protocol, published by the Law Society of NSW and the REINSW, is designed to promote cooperation between solicitors and real estate agents and reduce risk for consumers who are buying and selling property in NSW.

President of the Law Society of NSW, Justin Dowd, said the Protocol clearly sets out each party’s responsibilities in the transaction process, to ensure confusion doesn’t occur.

“This joint initiative of the Law Society of NSW and the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales recognises the need for solicitors and real estate agents to work together professionally to provide a smooth transaction for the benefit of all parties involved,” Mr Dowd said.

“The Protocol provides a simple, practical guide outlining the best procedures to be followed during the stages of the process where solicitors and agents work closely together, such as at exchange and settlement,” he said.

REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin, said greater collaboration can only serve to help all parties involved in the property transaction.

“Setting out how the two professions will work together throughout the transaction, will also help to streamline the process and assist the client, the solicitor and the agent,” he said.

According to Scott Ellis, principal at Ray White Aberfoyle Park/Christies Beach in South Australia, a good conveyancer can be integral to ensuring settlement happens on time with a minimal amount of stress for the client and the agent.

“There’s no doubt that a property sale these days can be a lot more complex and take more time than might have been the case five years ago,” he said.

“The challenges associated with dealing with banks as a result of tightened lending requirements off the back of the GFC and an increase in government compliance means there are certainly a lot more hurdles for everyone to cross.

“My experience is that the proactive and engaged conveyancers who really keep an eye on the process the whole way through and who work with everyone – the client, the agent and the bank or mortgage broker – to ensure that everything happens the way it should, when it should, are worth their weight in gold.

“When those types of conveyancers are involved, it ends up being a much more pleasant experience for everyone and, most importantly, it means both the vendor and the buyer get the outcome they want.”

Mr Ellis’ comments come shortly after Penny Erskine, from SA-based Conveyancing Matters, said property contracts are becoming increasingly complex, and she often sees several types of errors that can be easily avoided.

This includes incorrect property/land descriptions, failing to list encumbrances, GST information not or incorrectly completed in the contract, and special conditions being too vague or having unrealistic timeframes.

“Working closely with your conveyancer prior to execution of the contract will give you peace of mind in knowing that these key requirements have been dealt with,” Ms Erskine said.

Special conditions were also becoming more common, present in around 90 per cent of contracts, she added. “However, while they might be increasingly common, special conditions are absolutely critical to the successful execution of the real estate contract. Not stating special conditions, or not providing enough detail, can significantly delay settlement and, at worst, completely jeopardise the sale,” Ms Erskine said.

Only this week, Strand Conveyancing South Australia linked with Conveyancing Matters to offer a more comprehensive range of services to Harcourts SA. Harcourts SA uses Strand Conveyancing as its preferred supplier of conveyancing services.

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