·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Common Conveyancing Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a House

— January 18, 2024

By avoiding these common conveyancing mistakes, sellers can increase the likelihood of a successful and stress-free property sale.

Selling a property can be stressful enough without having to worry about conveyancing issues derailing the sale. Conveyancing in Melbourne – the legal transfer of home ownership from seller to buyer – may seem straightforward, but it’s filled with tiny details that can trip up unwary home sellers.

As a property owner looking to sell, you’ll want to cross the conveyancing tightrope safely to avoid falling into common traps. Avoid losing money and buyers by steering clear of these all-too-easy conveyancing mistakes.

Failing to Gather Paperwork

Before conveyancing can kick off, your solicitor will need documentation like title deeds, planning permission records, building approvals, guarantees and more. Sort through your files early and collate conveyancing paperwork upfront so there are no hold ups down the line. Leaving it to the last minute means risking delays. 

Hiding Known Property Issues

Come clean from the very start on any property defects, disputes with neighbours, restrictions, and other issues. Trying to gloss over existing problems will only lead to a nasty shock for buyers later on, loss of trust, and possibly even the collapse of the sale.

Not Budgeting for All Costs

Factor in every penny – solicitors fees, stamp duty, taxes, agent fees – and calculate total conveyancing costs from the outset so you understand the complete financial picture. Underestimating means risking an unexpected shortfall so do your sums thoroughly.

Letting Legal Enquiries Slide

When the buyer’s solicitor raises extra conveyancing questions, be responsive. The longer their legal enquiries go unanswered, the greater the delay. To keep conveyancing in Sydney on track, reply to every enquiry swift and fully.

Forgetting to Vacate on Completion Day

Mark your calendar with the property completion date and finalise moving plans early so you can vacate on time. If conveyancing concludes but you’re still in situ, you’ll owe compensation to the new owner for each extra day – an unnecessary cost easily avoided.

Failing to Communicate with the Buyer

Conveyancing delays or issues can test buyer patience. Avoid sabotaging your own sale by leaving the buyer dangling without updates for weeks. Maintain regular contact so they know timelines are still on target and remain engaged.

Attempting DIY Conveyancing

Conducting your own conveyancing in Melbourne may seem cheaper but the legal intricacies mean it’s too complex for non-specialists. Risking expensive mistakes is not worth the small upfront savings. Always appoint a conveyancing solicitor with the necessary expertise.

Signing Paperwork Without Reading

Never blindly sign conveyancing contracts without thoroughly reviewing the content first. Failing to spot errors or omitted details now can lead to major legal headaches down the line if you’ve committed to unfavourable terms.

Ignoring Local Regulations and Zoning Laws

Every locality has its own set of regulations and zoning laws that dictate what can and cannot be done with a property. Sellers must be aware of these regulations to avoid legal complications. Ignoring zoning laws could result in fines or, in extreme cases, the reversal of the sale. It’s crucial to work with a conveyancer who understands local regulations and can guide sellers through compliance.

Getting Emotional During Price Talks

Negotiating the property price and other contract terms is simply business, not personal. Remain pragmatic and detached when dealing with the buyer – overreacting angrily when they drive a hard bargain can swiftly backfire and lose you the sale altogether.

Forgetting Incidental Sale Costs

When deciding your desired price, tally all the incidental costs of conveyancing in Sydney – repairs, agent fees, furniture storage etc – and factor them into your minimum price calculations. Adding them afterwards could leave you well out of pocket.

Procrastinating on Property Repairs

Scaffolding in front of home; image by Brett Jordan,
Scaffolding in front of home; image by Brett Jordan,

Delaying necessary repairs until the last minute can be a significant mistake when selling a house. It’s essential to address any known issues with the property promptly. Procrastination not only increases the likelihood of negotiations falling apart but can also lead to a decrease in the property’s perceived value. Investing time and resources in fixing problems upfront can positively impact the sale and prevent potential buyers from walking away due to concerns about the property’s condition.

Underestimating the Importance of Curb Appeal

First impressions matter, and the exterior of a property is the first thing potential buyers see. Neglecting curb appeal can diminish the perceived value of a home and make it harder to attract buyers. Simple measures like landscaping, fresh paint, and minor repairs can significantly enhance a property’s visual appeal. Taking the time to make the property visually inviting can create a positive impression, enticing potential buyers to explore further.

Overlooking Communication with the Buyer

Effective communication is key to a successful property sale. Sellers should be proactive in keeping the buyer informed about the progress of the conveyancing process. This includes promptly responding to inquiries, providing requested documents, and staying engaged throughout the transaction. Open communication builds trust and helps prevent misunderstandings that can lead to disputes later on. Being accessible and transparent fosters a positive relationship between the seller and the buyer, contributing to a smoother and more successful transaction.

Leaving Bills in Your Name

As the final step, transfer utilities, council tax etc into the buyer’s name. This avoids money leaking out of your account to pay for other people’s consumption for months without you realising your costly blunder.

Final Thoughts

Selling a house involves a multifaceted process that requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal guidelines. By avoiding these common conveyancing mistakes, sellers can increase the likelihood of a successful and stress-free property sale. Working with experienced professionals, staying transparent, and being proactive in addressing potential issues are key elements in navigating the complex landscape of real estate transactions.

Join the conversation!