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Finding, and working with a lawyer

You need a lawyer when buying a property. But why? And how do you find a good one? We'll cover that below.

An important member of your home buying team should be a property lawyer, or conveyancer. They can provide invaluable advice to you during property purchase process. Simply said, there is no buying a home without their help.

Why do I need a lawyer?

Before you’ve even signed an offer, a lawyer can help you with the due diligence to decide if this is the house that you want to buy. They will consult with you on conditions of the sale and purchase agreement, perform title searches and, if you decide to proceed with an offer, can communicate with the vendors lawyers on your behalf.

During the settlement process, your lawyer will coordinate with the bank to ensure all the documents required for your home loan are received. They are also responsible for transferring the ownership of properties from the vendor to you, as the buyer.

Lawyers may also be able to assist with disputes between the seller and buyer, including adjusting of costs at the last minute.

What should I ask a lawyer when purchasing a home?

Below are some of the most common questions that a lawyer is asked when it comes to property purchases:

  • How much do you charge?
  • What do the clauses in the sales and purchase agreement mean and is there anything of concern on the agreement?
  • Can you explain the LIM report to me?
  • What should I know about the title of this property I’m buying?
  • What will happen on settlement day?

What are commonly charged services offered by a property lawyer?

  • AML on-boarding for Individuals, Company(s) and Trusts
  • Purchasing a Home with no mortgage
  • Purchase of Home with a mortgage
  • Pre-Auction Reviews
  • Disbursements – these are expenses the solicitor incurs from the transaction, such as stationery, certificate of title and easement search costs, property registration transfer costs etc
  • Kiwisaver and HomeStart Grant related transactions
  • Company or Trust related reviews and transactions
  • Purchase Off Plan/Complex reviews
  • Review of Build Contract

Fixed versus charge per hour, what works best?

During the process of finding, reviewing, and purchasing your home, you may need to see your lawyer several times before finally arriving at settlement day. Based on this, you may want to consider the costs involved when weighing up whether to pay a fixed price or opt for a lawyer who charges by the hour.

The fixed price option may initially seem expensive; however you’ll be surprised at how quickly the hourly cost will add up, even more so if this is your first time buying a property, you may have a lot of questions during this process. It would likely be much more cost efficient to obtain a fixed price quote from your lawyer for their services as opposed to working with a contract that is charged per hour. See the useful links below for more information relating to working with a lawyer or let us know if you require a recommendation for legal services, as we will be able to refer you to one.

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