When you’ve found a property you would like to make an offer on, discuss it with your lawyer. If that’s not possible then you can put in an offer with the clause that the offer is subject to your lawyer’s approval. Your lawyer will then deal with the real estate agent and other party’s lawyer to handle the Sale and Purchase Agreement (i.e. the contract between buyer and seller).
Your lawyer will review the Purchase Agreement and let you know if there are any legal issues or areas of concern and go through the fine print with you to make sure you understand it.
If you are negotiating a sale (as opposed to buying at auction), you lawyer recommend and set up any conditions and clauses that need to be added to the Purchase Agreement (to make sure you’re properly protected). These conditions are set up to provide you with a legal escape clause from the sale, in case one of the conditions are not met. Recommended conditions include the property passing Title, LIM, and Building Inspection checks. We also recommend having your lawyer add a condition for the building to be cleared for any methamphetamine contamination, as this a growing problem in New Zealand’s real estate market.
Your lawyer will then negotiate and manage the settlement process via the other party’s lawyer. Once all of the added conditions and clauses have been met, the sale process will move from conditional to unconditional, which will make you legally liable for buying the property.
When the sale becomes conditional you lawyer will manage the transfer of funds, as well as the handing over of keys and the final move dates. The lawyer will also notify your local council of the sale and ensure the appropriate allocation of rates between the old and new owners.
If your conditions are not met, then the lawyer will inform the other party and have the contract dissolved, ensuring you are able to walk away commitment free.
In addition to making sure the paperwork is correct and that titles are transferred correctly, lawyers can also advise on your property ownership options and assist with creating the will and power of attorney documents your mortgage provider may require.
In summary it’s extremely important to have well experienced conveyancing lawyer on board throughout the entire sale process. Their expertise in the area could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more.